Published On: Tuesday, 01 August 2017

The Role of Reservists: Working in our Communities

The Role of Reservists: Working in our Communities

- Julie Lawlor is the Executive Director at the WestShore Chamber of Commerce. You can reach her at jlawlor@westshore.bc.ca.

WEST SHORE - On July 13th and 14th, I had the pleasure of being a guest of the Canadian Forces Liaison Council (CFLC) at the Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt to learn about the role of Primary Reserve units (reservists) both in the military and in our communities.

Taking place both at CFB Esquimalt and aboard the HMCS Yellowknife, this “Executrek” brought together a group of 30 business and community leaders from western Canada including the Northwest Territories. During our visit, we learned that reservists typically serve on a part-time basis while also holding civilian jobs.

The role of the CFLC is therefore “to enhance the availability of reservists for their military duties by obtaining the support and co-operation of organization leaders in Canada.”

By bringing us all together, the hope was that we would leave with a much better understanding and appreciation of the leadership, team work and many other transferable skills that reservists bring to the civilian workplace.

I know I can speak for the group when I say that we were impressed by what we learned and what we saw. Did you know that a reservist undergoes the same intensity of training and professional development as a regular member of the Canadian Armed Forces? Did you know that a reservist can captain a ship?

How about that army field medics carry over 100 lbs of gear when they’re on patrol? Or that reservists cannot be sent into conflict situations without volunteering to be deployed? I didn’t know any of these things before participating in these two days.

If you’d like to know more about what we experienced on the Executrek, I invite you to view the four-minute video you’ll find posted on July 17th on Jeff Manney’s Facebook page.

Throughout the exercises, briefings and time on board the Yellowknife the interdependent relationship was very clearly indicated – the Canadian military needs the support of reservists, and the reservists need the support of the business community to make this possible.

Given the West Shore’s close proximity to CFB Esquimalt I’m sure we have reservists employed in our community. If you employ a reservist in the West Shore I’d be very interested in hearing from you so that I can continue to grow my understanding and knowledge, and by extension support, for our very vibrant West Shore community.

Want to know more about employing a reservist? I’m happy to point you in the right direction, or you can go to www.cflc.forces.gc.ca for more information.