Ontario Improving Day Job Protection for Military Reservists
WINDSOR – The Ontario government is working for workers by introducing new legislation that, if passed, would ensure military reservists who are training or deployed cannot be fired while giving their time in service of their country. The change will help ease the shortage of reservists the Canadian Armed Forces is facing and recognize the tremendous sacrifice these workers make.
“Ontario’s brave men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces put their lives on hold to protect our freedom. If reservists are training or deployed their jobs should be waiting for them when they return home,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “Reservists answer the call of duty, responding to natural disasters in Canada and conflicts abroad. It is unacceptable to ask Canadians to choose between their career and serving their country, and this stops now.”
As a result of the pandemic, the Canadian Armed Forces is experiencing shortages of reservists and troops, putting a heavier burden on current reservists and military operations. If passed, this change would expand job-protected leave for reservists who are deployed or need to participate in military training, which often requires time off their day job. It would also make the leave available after three months of continuous employment – down from the current requirement of six months.
These measures are part of Ontario’s ambitious plan to attract the best workers from across Canada – and around the world – by making the province the best place to live, work and raise a family. This legislation also includes foundational rights for digital platform workers, a requirement for employers to disclose their electronic monitoring of employees and several red tape reductions to encourage out-of-province workers to help fill the generational labour shortage.
Reservists are deployed on international operations and to operations within Canada. This may involve providing assistance in dealing with an emergency or its aftermath (including search and rescue operations, recovery from national disasters such as flood relief, military aid following ice storms, and aircraft crash recovery).
Employees on reservist leave are entitled to be reinstated to the same, or a comparable position upon their return. Their seniority and length of service credits would continue to accumulate during the leave, as they do now.
In the case of an operation outside Canada, the leave would include pre-deployment and post-deployment activities that are required by the Canadian Forces in connection with that operation.
As of March 2020, the Canadian Forces is comprised of approximately 27,000 Reserve Force members. Of these members, approximately 11,000 are living in Ontario.
"These important amendments to the Employment Standards Act in Ontario will further enable the soldiers, sailors and aviators of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve to deliver full-time capability through part-time service for Canadians, and enhance the valuable skills, knowledge and training that part-time military service contributes to employers in Ontario."
- Major-General R.R.E. MacKenzie, OMM, CD Chief of Reserves and Employer Support, Canadian Armed Forces
"I would like to congratulate Minister Monte McNaughton and the Ontario Government for championing this valuable initiative. It highlights the province’s commitment to our military reservists, and I am delighted to see it move forward.”"
- Charles S. “Duff” Sullivan, Major-General (Ret’d), RCAF President Boeing Canada Operations Ltd.
"It is good to see industry support of reservists representing Canada on deployment. We are proud to be Canada’s first military-connected campus providing additional flexibility and supports to current and past Armed Forces personnel studying at the college. As part of that designation, we offer increased social and academic supports, additional bursaries, academic credit for military training and the ability for members of the military to put their studies on pause if they are called to duty."
- Lieutenant-General (Ret’d) Peter Devlin President, Fanshawe College
"Reservists are highly-skilled and resilient individuals who spend their careers serving Canada while moving between military and civilian life. They’re also a flexible contingent workforce that’s regularly called upon to support Canada in crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. The ability of employers to actively support reservists while they undertake military training builds critical skills, not only for Canada, but for employers themselves. At WithYouWithMe, we’ve identified that the same skills reservists have developed in the military are invaluable for the civilian workforce. From having the aptitude for high-demand roles like data analytics and cyber security, to soft skills like strong collaboration and problem-solving abilities. Today's announcement is a step in the right direction to better addressing the needs of Canada's Armed Forces. This Act removes barriers to service and supports existing military reservists, while also encouraging new reservists to volunteer."
- Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret’d) Caleb Walker Vice President of Defence & Government, WithYouWithMe
"Canada’s military reservists are a crucial part of the Canadian Armed Forces. This Bill will provide much needed stability and support to those reservists who wish to deepen their experience within the military, without putting their civilian livelihoods at risk. All of us at True Patriot Love Foundation applaud Minister McNaughton and the Ontario Government for this step forward to increasing job protection for those who choose to serve our country."
- Nick Booth CEO, True Patriot Love Foundation, Canada’s Foundation for the Military Community
"With this legislation, Minister McNaughton and the Government of Ontario are recognizing the service and sacrifice of our CAF Reservists. By implementing these policies, it will not only benefit the CAF Reservists themselves, it will also enhance our collective security."
- Jeff Musson Executive Director, Coding for Veterans
"By broadening the reasons for taking job protected reservist leave this government is showing that they understand that our military reservists and their families deserve support and peace of mind for their financial well-being, as these brave men and women give their dedicated service to Canada as part of the Armed Forces."
- Rick Seymour CEO of the Together We Stand Foundation
Working for Workers Act, 2022
Reservist leave under the Employment Standards Act