When would you have those three weeks? Can someone who is not a student even take 3 weeks off of work?
If you schedule it during Christmas break, would people be willing to give up their holidays for the Army? Essentially if you schedule it during a holiday, people will be unwilling to give up their holidays for the Army. If you schedule it anytime else then people need to take vacation, which means employment protection, real employment protection.
I have no idea how many students are part of the Reserves, but it probably means it would need to be in the summer.
The biggest draw for this would be high school, college and university students where you could trade full-time summer employment for a contract of service that takes them, for example, for three years service post qualifying DP1. Couple that with paying tuition for colleges and universities for course in college that would favour trades like heavy equipment mechanic, heavy transport driver, health services, food services etc coupled with summer training/employment and compulsory service like we do for doctors, RMC students etc.
To keep people past their first term of enlistment offer resigning bonuses.
Yep, you need better employment legislation which would for example mandate three weeks summer unpaid leave over and above the standard employment legislation or union contracts for paid leave.
Do the summer exercises in a specific month (say August) so that families still have time for vacations in July.
If you limit mandatory time to three weeks in the summer and ten monthly 2.5 day weekends per year that totals 48 days per year - not too onerous and leaves the majority of the weekends and the summer free for other things including voluntary DP 2 and above training, if desired. The point being that you want everyone trained quickly and thoroughly to a DP 1 standard in some form of depot training institution and then turn them over to the unit which focusses exclusively on refresher and collective training.
Make regular force contracts term ones as well with no voluntary release (the NDA does not mandate voluntary releases - it says once enrolled you are in until your enlistment period ends or are released - voluntary releases are a creature of CAF regulations and policies which can be changed.) - For those who want out of the Reg F early let them do it by transferring their contract (maybe bumped up a little) to the reserves. There's a lot of flexibility in how we craft terms of service.
Its really not that difficult once you wrap your mind around it. The trouble is the moment you start throwing ideas like this around folks start coming up with reasons why it can't be done - most of which are "the government won't do that". Put together a coherent plan and maybe they will.
Costs. There's flexibility here too. The starting point is part-time reservists are less expensive than full-timers and therefore, if trained to DP 1 standards, are immediately useful to the forces as volunteer augmentees or as compulsory placement on active service in an emergency. Through fixed term contracts attrition is drastically cut meaning less costs are wasted on instructors and replacements. There are already an adequate number of RSS in the system. Even more would be added if you form hybrid Reg/Res units. Even better if a command or staff position by RSS staff in a fully manned reserve unit is considered an equivalent experience level for Reg F staff career advancement rather than a back water.
If this type of regime is less attractive to recruits (and why should it be with full summer employment and education benefits) then that would be offset by a more qualified and capable reserve force. 12,000 DP1 and higher trained folks with collective training skills are better than 16,000 half trained folks.
Equipment? Not a big issue up front. We already have a sufficient supply of individual and some crew served kit to equip the force. In the first instance and for a number of years while the force is transformed, the heavy equipment needed by the reserve force is mainly for training and exercises in the summer which is when the regular force generally doesn't need theirs except what's down for maintenance. Same for instructors. Block off three summer months, June, July and August for annual leave, APS and support to the reserves. Its a scheduling/management issue. That gives the Reg F nine months to themselves to meet their own training requirements. The end result will be reserve force personnel with DP 1 training the equivalent of the regular force and on the regular force's equipment thus greatly cutting down on predeployment training for reservists volunteering for deployments.
The current status of our reserve force is a problem looking for solutions. There are hundreds of solutions available if one opens their mind to them. The project requires a very high ranking champion. Any Minister of Defence worth his salt should welcome such a challenge instead of running away from it. I had high hopes for the present guy but as D&B keeps reminding us constantly, there's a whole group of Molitia leadership that looks to their own interest before the common good. I actually sent the current guy a copy of my book "Unsustainable at Any Price: The Canadian Armed Forces in Crisis" and didn't even get "Thanks for the book, now piss off" from a staff flunky.