On June 7th 2013, eighteen business and academic organizations across Canada were recognized at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa for their outstanding support to members of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves.
Minister of National Defense Peter Mackay stated that “Thanks to the work of Canada’s employers and educational institutions, and the support of advocates across the country, it is becoming easier for Reservists to help serve our nation and protect our values.”
Miller Ayre, National Vice-Chair of the Canadian Forces Liaison Council echoed this message by saying “Without that support, Reservists could not train to the level required to meet the operational needs of the Canadian Armed Forces both at home and abroad.” The two aforementioned statements highlight the extent to which the reserves rely on Canadian businesses, and this relationship is significant in ensuring growth in the reserves.
The recipients of the 2013 Employer Support Awards were honored a few short months following the announcement of budget cuts for the Canadian military. It was feared that these financial drawbacks would have a negative impact on the Canadian Reserves since the military had to absorb a 16 to 25 percent budget reduction from last year. Mr. Mackay did comment earlier this year that the army reserves would see a growth in spite of these cuts. It should be understood that the recent recognition of the eighteen business and academic organizations are a demonstration of a national desire to promote the interests of the Reserves and ensure their growth. Retired veteran journalist Don Newman served as master of ceremonies for the event presented by the Canadian Forces Liaison Council.
The Canadian Forces Liaison Council is made up of a group of civilian business leaders and educators who volunteer their time and efforts in order to encourage the support and cooperation of Canadian organization leaders in order to enhance the availability of Reservists for military duty. It also seeks to highlight the benefits of Reserve Force training and experience in relation to the civilian workplace.
Canada relies heavily on its reservists not only in regard to its international undertakings but also domestically as, for example, for disaster relief and security. Recent events where their participation was necessary include their role as security support during the Muskoka G8 and Toronto G20 summits in 2010, in the joint humanitarian relief mission in Newfoundland after Hurricane Igor, and in providing support to security operations during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.
Given the recent concerns over budgetary cuts, the positive nature of the Tenth Biennial Employer Support Awards will hopefully allay some concerns over a perceived decrease in support for the Reserves.
Although the eighteen business and academic organizations may be found in various regions of Canada, it is interesting to note that nine of them are based in the Pacific and Central provinces of Canada. Budgetary cuts were deemed to have a greater negative impact on units based in Western Canada than on those based in Ontario and in Quebec. By highlighting the efforts of interest groups located in British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, there is a clear demonstration that support for the Reserves in these regions is not in decline. Whether or not the Tenth Biennial Employer Support Awards will have the desired effect of ensuring the expansion of the Canadian Reserves remains to be seen. One can only hope that the non-military organizations of Canada which were honored will continue to aid the Reserves and in so doing, ensure they remain a vital element of the Canadian Armed Forces.
The following organizations received awards from the Canadian Forces Liaison Council for their ongoing support of the men and women of Canada’s Reserve Forces:
- General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, Quebec
- VanOostrum Farm Equipment, Nova Scotia
- Confederation College, Ontario
- Port of Sept-Îles, Quebec
- Home Depot of Canada Inc, British Columbia
- Correctional Services of Canada Grand Cache Institution, Alberta
- Western Framing, Saskatchewan
- Xplornet Communications, New Brunswick
- College of Law, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan
- Ledcor, British Columbia
- General Dynamics Canada, Alberta
- Ffun Enterprises, Saskatchewan
- General Electric, Ontario
- Independent Security Services Atlantic Inc, Nova Scotia
- Confederation Bridge, Prince Edward Island
- Johnson Inc, Newfoundland and Labrador
- Charlottetown Airport Authority, Prince Edward Island
- The Dominion, Alberta
- Nykolaishen Farm Equipment, Saskatchewan