Military reservists who are injured during their deployment will soon get time before having to return to the workforce.
Labour Minister Monte McNaughton says a proposed change to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act will also protect the job they left to take part in military action.
“Anyone who is willing to drop everything to help their neighbours should be rewarded and not punished. It’s that simple,” says McNaughton.
Employees on reservist leave are now entitled to return to the same position if it exists or a comparable one if it does not upon their return.
McNaughton says reservists injured during their deployment will be afforded the same right.
“This new leave would cover treatment and rehabilitation for both physical and mental health injuries or trauma. Of the 40,000 Canadian soldiers who deployed to Afghanistan, nearly one in seven developed a mental health injury. Soldiers’ mental health is no less important than their physical health.”
Retired Canadian Armed Forces general Rick Hillier says this will be a morale booster.
“Those kinds of initiatives like we see here today, they’re not going to make that complete, but they sure are awesome steps towards exactly that thing. Young men and women will feel prouder if they have the support of their provincial government and, therefore, the support of the great province of Ontario. It’s going to make them feel prouder about serving, knowing that they are respected, knowing that they have credibility with the province of Ontario,” says Hillier.
McNaughton says the proposed change to the Employment Standards Act also builds on protected leave for training that was put in place last year.
The Canadian Forces has about 27,000 Reserve Force members. About 11,000 live in Ontario.