Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Human Resources and Social Development Canada

January 09, 2008 17:00 ET

Canada Moves Forward on Protecting Jobs for Reservists

KINGSTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 9, 2008) - The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, is visiting Kingston today following yesterday's announcement in Vancouver that the Government of Canada is moving forward with a strategy which will provide protection to Reservists when they return to civilian life. The strategy will include legislative changes which will protect the civilian jobs of reservists who work for employers in federally-regulated sectors and the public service. It will also provide support to student reservists.

Minister Blackburn addressed members of the HMCS Cataraqui in Kingston as part of his national dialogue to ensure that reservists are successfully reintegrated into the Canadian work force. Canadian Reserve Force personnel play a vital role in protecting Canada's interests at home and abroad. Reservists have been called upon frequently to contribute to international peace, stability and human security throughout the world.

"The Government of Canada is looking after the men and women who volunteer to serve the national interest as members of the Canadian Reserve Force," said Minister Blackburn. "We are committed to doing everything possible to ensure that reservists are well supported when they return to civilian working life. They deserve it."

The strategy, which will include the introduction of legislation in the House of Commons when Parliament returns in January, will provide legal protection to some 2,000 reservists in the federally-regulated private sector and the federal public services, and 12,000 student reservists.

While a number of provinces have already introduced measures to protect the status of reservists, the federal government will work with other provinces to encourage them to take similar protective measures for reservists under their jurisdiction.

"It's clear all Canadians believe reservists deserve job protection," noted the Minister.

"And I am impressed with the level of support employers have for reservists. They, like all Canadians, support the Reserve Forces and want to do what's right."

Key elements of the strategy mean:

- Reservists employed in federally-regulated sectors will be able to take leave without pay.

- Changes to the federal government's employment policies will ensure the same right to leave for reservists who are public servants.

- For the purpose of the Canada Student Loans Program, reservists attending a post-secondary institution full-time will retain their active student status.

- Reservists who have student loans will not accrue interest on their loans and will not be required to make payments while on leave.

The Kingston visit is part of a five-city tour that brings Minister Blackburn to Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto to highlight the Government of Canada's commitment from the Speech from the Throne to modernize reservist reinstatement policies.

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Contact Information

  • Office of Minister Blackburn
    Michael Winterburn
    Human Resources and Social Development Canada
    Media Relations Office