Now and in the coming months, members of the Canadian Forces will be returning from military service in Afghanistan in significant numbers. Many of them, Reservists, will be returning to civilian work. We all owe these soldiers a debt of gratitude for their service. Employers specifically owe them a number of legal obligations, under Employment/Labour Standards legislation in various jurisdictions.
Most reservists are people who have civilian jobs but serve in the military on a part-time basis in the Army Reserve, Naval Reserve, Air Reserve, Health Services Reserve, Special Operations Reserve or Reserve Legal Services. All military service in Canada, both Regular and Reserve, is voluntary. Members of the Reserve Force may volunteer to go on deployment in either Canada or abroad. They may only be called up for non-voluntary service in times of national emergency, as defined in the National Defence Act and in the emergency legislation of the Government of Canada. An emergency is defined by the National Defence Act as “an insurrection, riot, invasion, armed conflict or war, real or apprehended.”
The Federal Government, federally regulated employers, companies and organizations in Yukon Territory, and all ten provincial governments must give their reservist employees’ unpaid time off to attend military deployment on missions either in Canada or internationally and for military training. Other territories are currently considering legislation to introduce military leave under Employment/Labour Standards legislation.
For more, read my latest Slaw blog post.