Employers and educators honoured for supporting reservists
Senior Associate Deputy Minister Jody Thomas was sincere and earnest as she addressed the crowd at the recent Canadian Forces Liaison Council 2017 Awards Dinner.
“I found a family, and I learned to lead,” said Ms. Thomas of her time as a Naval reservist.
The awards are held every two years to recognize those employers and educators who go “above and beyond” in supporting Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) reservists. This year, the day-long event included a luncheon, afternoon provincial awards ceremony, and then the national awards ceremony dinner at the Canadian War Museum.
The winner of the Most Supportive Employer in Canada was Via Rail, which not only offers CAF members a discount, but also has an employment program to help members transition from uniformed life.
“We continue to recognize the value of employing someone currently serving or having served in the CAF,” said Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and Chief Executive Officer of VIA Rail.
During the evening program, Major-General Paul Bury, Chief of Reserves and Cadets, spoke of sacrifice and how the weight of deployment can be heavy, in a different way, for those who serve part-time.
“Knowing that programs and policies like these allow our members to effectively press ‘pause’ on their lives, and still have school or a civilian career waiting for them back home; the value of that support cannot be measured,” MGen Bury said.
Competition for these awards was fierce. Going beyond merely accommodating requests for time off to train or deploy, many employers and educators offered top-up pay, benefit extension, flexible scheduling, and corporate facilities for training, as well as volunteering to help at mess events.
Fireweed RV, a company with just four employees, won in the special award category for small organizations. Fireweed RV employee Lieutenant John Robertson (cadet instructor at 2685 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps, The Yukon Regiment), has not only gotten time off for training, but his employer offers its place of business to the local cadet unit to use. Although accommodating time off can leave his business short staffed by 25 per cent, company owner David Robertson is proud to support his employee and the CAF.
Then-Acting Vice Chief of the Defence Staff Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd explained how important that pride and cooperation can be to the overall picture. “The Canadian Armed Forces makes a difference. The Reserves, as a part of the CAF, make a difference in lives all over the world. You, as a part of that team, make a difference. Thank you.”
- Date modified: