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Business, not as usual

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Business, not as usual.  Employer support of reservists in time of pandemic.

Submitted by: Canadian Forces Liaison Council/Alberta Chapter

In this challenging time of pandemic, it’s probably safe to say that business will not carry on as usual. Employers have much to be concerned about – employees’ health and welfare, revenue, and simply put – survival.

In many cases employers have reservist-employees who balance double duty with both the Reserve Force and their workplace. Reservists are prepared willing and able to answer the call to support pandemic response or other emergencies, either nationally or locally.

Preparations for pandemic support across Canada are underway, and this includes many reservists, army, navy, air force alike, who have been asked to mobilize. It is with thanks to many employers who support their reservist-employee as they volunteer for Operation LASER 20-01 – the Canadian Armed Forces’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic within Canada.

The Government of Canada has authorized reservists, who volunteer, to be placed on full-time Class C service to support the Operation. The Canadian Armed Forces is currently mobilizing 24,000 service members, both regular and reserve, to support provincial and municipal governments and agencies in their efforts to suppress the disease, to support vulnerable populations, and to provide logistical and general support to communities. In Alberta, there will be hundreds of reservists who will choose to deploy and serve to support our communities.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canadians has been unprecedented, as is the scale of the Canadian Armed Forces mobilization under the Operation LASER response. Reservists’ dedication to duty in volunteering for Operation LASER is essential to support both provincial and municipal authorities during this crisis. Canada cannot meet its defence needs at home and abroad without the dedicated, motivated and highly skilled people who work tirelessly to defend Canada and promote Canadian values and interests. Op LASER is the immediate need, but reservists have been and will continue to be needed to support other domestic crisis, such as floods and fires, which are occurring on a more frequent basis.

In Alberta, Employment Standards Code, outlines a reservist-employee who has completed at least 26 consecutive weeks of employment with an employer is entitled to reservist leave without pay to take part in deployment to a Canadian Forces operation inside Canada. It also outlines that all leave provided to Reservists is leave without pay – as the Canadian Armed Forces will provide the Reservist with income for the duration of their contract. It’s good business sense to keep good employees and the employment code notes that employers cannot terminate, or lay off, an employee who has started reservist leave.  Although these are the legislated minimums, organizations are encouraged to develop and implement military leave policies that support a reservist-employee even further.

There is great pride for reservists as they deploy domestically and equally for the employers who support them. Undoubtedly, business will not be as usual and if you have a reservist-employee there is support available for your organization. Employer support during this time of crisis is greatly appreciated by the Canadian Armed Forces and the Government of Canada. Indeed, when you employ a reservist, you in turn, are serving your country.

How can I find out more information for my business?
Federal Compensation for Employers of Reservists Program (CERP) – Employers can apply and eligible applicants will receive a lump sum payment, in the form of a grant, following the deployment period of the reservist employee.

  • Military Leave Policy information – if your organization does not already have a formal military leave policy, this may be a good opportunity to implement one that provides additional detail beyond what is in the job protection legislation.
  • Canadian Forces Liaison Council – Employers Supporting Reservists

Info for military leave policies and federal support (CERP): https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/benefits-military/supporting-reservists-employers.html

  • With Glowing Hearts – Reservist Support Program – a turnkey employer support program for reservists. The program provides information and tools for employers of reservists and is an asset for a business to attract and retain experienced and valued reservist/employees.

Info and/or to Register: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WithGlowingHearts

originally published April 9, 2020.

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President Todayville Inc., Honorary Colonel 41 Signal Regiment, Board Member Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award Foundation, Director Canadian Forces Liaison Council (Alberta) musician, photographer, former VP/GM CTV Edmonton.

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Alberta

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney battles COVID-19 hospital crisis, internal party revolt

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EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, facing a mushrooming COVID-19 hospital crisis that now threatens to topple him as leader, accepted the resignation of his health minister Tuesday.

Kenney said it was Tyler Shandro’s idea to leave the health portfolio.

“Minister Shandro offered his resignation. He and I both came to the conclusion that it would be best to get a fresh pair of eyes and a fresh start at the health ministry,” Kenney said.

He noted it has been a difficult stint for Shandro, including him and his family being harassed by anti-vaccination protesters over the summer.

“It has been a gruelling two-plus years for Tyler,” he said.

Kenney replaced Shandro with Labour Minister Jason Copping in a cabinet shuffle and gave Shandro Copping’s job.

The official swap in roles was made in a brief ceremony closed to the public but broadcast on the government’s website.

Meanwhile, Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver asked the federal government for air transportation help if necessary to move patients to care facilities outside Alberta and for more intensive care nurses and respiratory therapists.

Federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair responded on social media: “Federal officials have been engaging their counterparts in Alberta for the past week to offer help. I have made it clear that when a request is received, it will be approved. We will work together to provide for the people across Alberta.”

Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley said the timing shows the government made a political decision on when it would ask for help from Ottawa.

“(They) delayed asking for critically important help that was required within our health-care system until after the federal election,” Notley said Tuesday. 

“They put the politics of the Conservative Party at large ahead of the needs of Albertans and those front-line health-care workers who are working desperately in our hospitals to keep people alive.”

Last week, Alberta asked other provinces for help when it declared a state of public health emergency. At that time, Kenney reintroduced gathering restrictions and announced a form of vaccine passport.

Kenney said preparations with Ottawa are precautionary in case the COVID-19 health situation worsens.

Alberta has close to 21,000 active COVID-19 cases. On Tuesday, there were a record 996 COVID-19 patients in hospital and 222 of them were in intensive care, well over the normal ICU capacity.

The province also reporter 29 additional deaths, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 2,574. 

Many surgeries have been cancelled and Kenney estimated last week that hospitals could be overwhelmed by the end of the month without direct action. Doctors are being briefed on criteria to use, if necessary, for which patients get scarce life-saving resources and which do not.

The premier is facing not only public, but internal backlash from the United Conservative rank and file as well as from caucus members over his handling of the pandemic.

Joel Mullan, the party’s vice-president of policy, said Kenney needs to step down or face a fast-tracked review of his leadership.

“(A resignation) is necessary because both party members and the public have lost faith in Jason Kenney’s leadership,” said Mullan.

He said Kenney has failed by constantly making extreme, inflexible policy decisions on COVID-19, only to retreat when the shifting, mutable crisis has forced his hand.

In the latest retreat, Kenney introduced proof of vaccination requirements after proclaiming for weeks he would never do so.

“We paint ourselves into a corner where there’s no other option but to turn yourself into a liar to get out of it,” said Mullan. “This is a highly fluid situation with a virus we don’t have a firm understanding of yet.

“There’s no management of public expectations. Instead, it’s just telling people, ‘Nope, this is how it’s going to be’ until it isn’t. It’s no wonder that people don’t trust him anymore.”

Kenney is not facing a party leadership review until late next year unless at least 22 United Conservative constituencies vote to hold one earlier.

Mullan said more than 30 constituency associations have said they intend to call for a review but most have yet to formally ratify their decisions.

“I don’t know exactly when it will be done, but it seems to be moving quite quickly.”

Mullan said if a leadership review were to be called, it would take place within two to three months. Kenny would need a simple majority of votes by the membership to keep his job.

“If he gets less than 50 (per cent), he’s fired.”

Asked about Mullan’s comments and discontent in his caucus, Kenney said he is focused not on internal politics but on the health crisis.

“I believe I have the confidence of the members of my party, of our caucus, of our party board. There will be a leadership review in due course,” he said late Tuesday.

Last week, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, admitted the fuse on the explosive fourth wave was lit in July when Kenney lifted almost all health restrictions, faster than any other province. He said it was safe to do so because 70 per cent of eligible Albertans had received at least one dose of vaccine.

Kenney declared COVID-19 was effectively defeated and that a future rise in cases could be accommodated in the health system. He said he didn’t envision needing a fallback.

After that, vaccination numbers effectively stalled and fell behind other provinces. That prompted Kenney to recently offer $100 to anyone getting a first or second shot.

Notley said Kenney’s government failed to act during July and August as case numbers spiralled and the premier went on vacation.

“There are 60 members of the UCP caucus who sat on their hands from between 30 and 40 days in the latter part of this summer and did nothing, even when they had the information that the so-called Open For Summer Plan was going to fail and Alberta’s health-care system was going to be fundamentally and terminally threatened,” she said.

“And that is the group of people who are now pulling out the knives.”

Last week, he said he didn’t act earlier because he didn’t believe Albertans would have followed renewed health restrictions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2021.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Mom, toddler found dead were killed in suspect's Hinton, Alta., apartment: RCMP

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HINTON, Alta. — RCMP say a woman and her 16-month-old toddler found dead in Hinton, Alta., were killed in the apartment of the suspect charged in their deaths.

Police say the bodies of the 24-year-old woman and her child were discovered last Thursday but they are unable to say where they were found because the case is before the courts.

RCMP in a release say they died on Wednesday — the day before they were reported missing.

Police say autopsies completed on the weekend determined the deaths are homicides.

Robert Keith Major, 53, of Hinton, has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of indignity to human remains. 

RCMP say the mother and child lived in the same apartment complex as Major, whose next court appearance is Oct. 20 in Hinton provincial court.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2021 

The Canadian Press

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