Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Human Resources and Social Development Canada

January 08, 2008 13:02 ET

The Government of Canada Takes Action to Protect the Civilian Status of Reservists

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLOMBIA--(Marketwire - Jan. 8, 2008) - The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, today announced that the Government of Canada is moving forward with a strategy that will provide protection to reservists when they return to civilian life. The strategy will include legislative changes that 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.

"The Government of Canada is ensuring that the men and women who serve our country, as part of the Canadian Reserve Force, are well supported when they go back to a regular working life. They deserve it," said Minister Blackburn.

Minister Blackburn made this announcement while addressing members of the 39 Canadian Brigade Group as part of his national dialogue to ensure 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 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 urge them to take similar protective measures for reservists under their jurisdiction.

"I am impressed with the level of support employers have for reservists. They, like all Canadians, support the Reserve Force and want to do what's right," noted Minister Blackburn. "It's clear that we all believe reservists deserve job protection," added the Minister.

Key elements of the strategy include the following:

- reservists employed in federally regulated sectors will be entitled 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; and

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

Minister Blackburn is also promoting labour cooperation agreements in the Americas. Later today, he will address members of the Sauder School of Business of the University of British Columbia, and will take the opportunity to discuss the Government of Canada's renewed engagement in the Americas seeking to increase prosperity and improve security throughout the hemisphere.

"Building strong and sustainable economy through increased trade is a key commitment that the Government Canada has made to its citizens," says Minister Blackburn. "By establishing new labour cooperation agreements with other countries, not only is Canada strengthening its place in the world-it is also the means by which we can bring on real, meaningful progress and human development in our hemisphere and beyond," adds the Minister.

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Contact Information

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