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Divining the right role, capabilities, structure, and Regimental System for Canada's Army Reserves

FJAG

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Every province and the Feds have a version of an Employment Standards Act. For Ontario, as an example, Part XI is the "Vacation with Pay" provision.

It sets out the rights of an employee and the obligations of an employer with respect to providing paid vacations.

These are minimum standards and union contracts and employment contracts can increase the benefits/obligations.

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CBH99

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It was the # 1 reason I quit completely recently as it was the only way to access VAC Education benefits. #2 reason was the CAF itself but I likely could have been persuaded to become a PRes mbr if it was a real option.
When I was in college, I would get every assignment done THE DAY IT WAS ASSIGNED. A one page paper assigned in September, that wasn’t due until early November?

I got it done that night. Printed it. Put it in my binder. And was ready to submit it when the time came. No stress.

Big assignments that were several pages long? I’d do up my outline, then each night I would do one paragraph. Took me all of maybe 10 minutes each night, more or less. 3 or 4 main paragraphs, plus an intro and a conclusion. Boom, done.



I feel like if the ‘powers at be’ just reviewed, approved/denied, and forwarded the same day they received it — people would be a lot more satisfied overall.

whether it’s enrolment, retirement, accessing VAC assets, recognizing civilian equivalents to courses, etc - if people just reviewed & got it done the day they received the submission, everything would be a lot smoother for everybody.

We live in an age where a Google search earlier today produced approx 3 million results in 0.56 seconds. Surely we can streamline things so members get in faster, are happier once in, and keep a foot in the door when they leave...
 

CBH99

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I understand. To this outside observer its seems the Armys obsession with the regimental system and protection of its individual regiments customs and traditions defeats any willingness or effort to effect change and bring the CA Res back into a credible fighting force.
I’m not so sure about that. But equally, I’m not so sure you aren’t totally bang on either.

The Army/CAF needs to decide clearly, and with no probability of change for the next decade or two, what it wants and needs from its Reserve. Then restructure accordingly.

This could be quite easy, be done efficiently, and wouldn’t cost a ton of money.

- If the Army decides it wants the Reserves to provide sub units for deployments, in addition to individual augmentation. Say so. It isn’t hard for folks to DAG green if the unit leadership does an annual ‘let’s make sure everybody is up to date with everything.’

*For example - if the Army wants its reserve component to provide extremely capable mortar teams, give them that clear direction. Provide the type of weapons they want the Reserve Force to become experts at - both real weapons, and simulators where possible.


  • Shorten enrolment time. Period. (There as an experiment a while back where reserve units were handling their own recruiting. Guaranteed offer within 30 days. What’s the status on that?)
  • Shorten enrolment time. Period. (There as an experiment a while back where reserve units were handling their own recruiting. Guaranteed offer within 30 days. What’s the status on that?)

- I personally think the BMQ/SQ way of doing thing is inefficient. We literally teach them the most basic things - things most of them know. Yes it’s important we start everybody off at the same level, but surely we could make a better use of their time. (Unit run BMQ during school year, and summer courses can be actual useful military training?)

^ No idea what the solution is here. Maybe I’m out to lunch. I’d love to hear suggestions.

  • organize unit level courses on training nights and weekends that take advantage of partnerships with local companies or government organizations. Regardless of unit specialty, allow members to gain valuable skills. (I work with a former US Army guy, who was only in for a few years. His resume is a mile long with random courses his unit put on, in partnership with local fire departments, police agencies, EMS, etc.)
  • Eliminate trades in the Reserves that can’t be trained on a Reserve timeline. (Weapons techs? Vehicle techs? Cooks?)

perhaps Reg F personnel getting out can keep their foot in the door with the reserves, and provide that knowledge? (Or Reg F sends a tech or two where needed, when needed?)

^^ WTF does a 3hr training night look like for a cook, anyway? 🤷🏼‍♂️


- Invest in training tools & basic equipment at the units, so member’s skills can be kept fresh. This, plus they can DAG green. (Simulators for small arms, AD systems, artillery, etc)


Streamline enrolment. Don’t issue them a pickup truck worth of kit right off the bat (holy heck, does a new enrolment ever walk out of ASU with a ton of random kit that is barely ever used.)

Recognize civilian equivalents without jumping through a ton of hoops. (Civilian police officer or firefighter? Probably has a ton of useful qualifications that get used regularly

Most important - KEEP IT SIMPLE. The more simple an organization, the smoother it can run, and produce the desired results.


streamline enrolment, train them up to standard faster, provide equipment to support the role the unit is given, and streamline paperwork. It sounds so simple I’m afraid it will sound like a dumb post, but just those things alone would give the CAF way more bang for the Reserve buck.

(I don’t know how the Navy Reserve works, so I stuck with Army)
 

FJAG

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...I feel like if the ‘powers at be’ just reviewed, approved/denied, and forwarded the same day they received it — people would be a lot more satisfied overall. ...
You're bang on with this. When I was practicing law, every lawyer I knew had a handful of "stinky" files in the back of their filing cabinet. Ones that had a small wrinkle in them that you would get to just as soon as you had time. The problem is that you never have time. Every day something new comes in and every day the new problem takes priority and and sucks all the air out of the room. It's not until you start getting call after call asking for an update or for action on the stinky file that it actually starts receiving some attention. The trouble is the moment that you pull it out of the filing cabinet and start working on it, another file gets put aside and becomes stinky. Its a never ending dilema.
There is software out there that prompts or brings forward stinky files but that too can be ignored. The solution is designing systems that not only put older files at the front of the queue but that also allow decision making and completion actions to be made more rapidly. The more a transaction has multiple actions and individual involved in completing it, the more likely that somewhere along the way it becomes a stinky file. Today we have entirely too many administrative processes that have multiple levels of supervisory oversight that slow down or halt completion. We need to set up systems that can be rapidly completed through either automation or at a single worker's desk and only be elevated to another worker/supervisor in extraordinary circumstances.

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MilEME09

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^ No idea what the solution is here. Maybe I’m out to lunch. I’d love to hear suggestions.

  • organize unit level courses on training nights and weekends that take advantage of partnerships with local companies or government organizations. Regardless of unit specialty, allow members to gain valuable skills. (I work with a former US Army guy, who was only in for a few years. His resume is a mile long with random courses his unit put on, in partnership with local fire departments, police agencies, EMS, etc.)
  • Eliminate trades in the Reserves that can’t be trained on a Reserve timeline. (Weapons techs? Vehicle techs? Cooks?)

perhaps Reg F personnel getting out can keep their foot in the door with the reserves, and provide that knowledge? (Or Reg F sends a tech or two where needed, when needed?)

^^ WTF does a 3hr training night look like for a cook, anyway? 🤷🏼‍♂️
Cooks can do things like menu planning and recipe development on a Wednesday night. There is a plan in place right now to get reserve Cooks working for the various courses running part time to ween ourselves off contractors, and its slowly working.

As for trades to eliminate, I think its a matter of the army needs to be more flexible for non students. The reserve training cycle is optimized for Hugh school and university students, but nothing for those who don't complete a 4 year degree and thus have 4 or 5 summers off. The Army should run a course or two during the training year, January is a very slow month for many businesses and would be easier to let an employ go for a course then in June.

Weapons tech for example, it can take 4 years to train if the stars align, but can take longer. I am not even at OFP yet after almost 12 years, why? Training has changed 3 times over the past 7 years, courses have been added, removed, merged, and changed creating gaps and forcing retaking of some courses. Not for the better unfortunately, the biggest gap in RCEME right now is the lack of OJT which has been left as a unit responsibility now, which isn't happening
 

FJAG

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..., the biggest gap in RCEME right now is the lack of OJT which has been left as a unit responsibility now, which isn't happening
Never been a fan of OJT. Admittedly it runs differently as between trades.

Back in the 70's a gunner's TQ4 trg was OJT and rather than plan out an individual's upcoming experiences, we (the troop officers and snr NCMs) would usually sat down after every exercise with a stack of OJT checklists and try to figure out which EOs and POs Gnr Bloggins achieved on this particular exercise. Too much serendipity involved.

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MilEME09

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Never been a fan of OJT. Admittedly it runs differently as between trades.

Back in the 70's a gunner's TQ4 trg was OJT and rather than plan out an individual's upcoming experiences, we (the troop officers and snr NCMs) would usually sat down after every exercise with a stack of OJT checklists and try to figure out which EOs and POs Gnr Bloggins achieved on this particular exercise. Too much serendipity involved.

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For weapons techs (reg force and the old Res system) you would have to get a certain number of exposures to each weapon system, than be tested on it. A OJT package is a long time for tech trades, which is how it should be. Having PRes units do OJT is fine but right now it's not being tracked, monitored, or anything by the army so no one's calling up CO's asking why techs aren't turning wrenches. Something like that needs to happen, either RCEME Corp, CADTC, or NDHQ needs someone tracking this and hammering units to be getting techs hands on time.

A warrant at the weapons school said to me about a year ago thst right now Reg F techs do not trust the technical competence of ResF techs, and it's not our fault but a system and a CoC setting us up for failure.
 

Kirkhill

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Never been a fan of OJT. Admittedly it runs differently as between trades.

Back in the 70's a gunner's TQ4 trg was OJT and rather than plan out an individual's upcoming experiences, we (the troop officers and snr NCMs) would usually sat down after every exercise with a stack of OJT checklists and try to figure out which EOs and POs Gnr Bloggins achieved on this particular exercise. Too much serendipity involved.

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Major difference. Always been a big fan of OJT. That is the environment in which I have spent my career. Bringing new kit on line and teaching newbies (often with English as Second Language) how to operate it - and then watching the teams figure out how to get more out of the gear than I intended or expected.
 

Colin Parkinson

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For weapons techs (reg force and the old Res system) you would have to get a certain number of exposures to each weapon system, than be tested on it. A OJT package is a long time for tech trades, which is how it should be. Having PRes units do OJT is fine but right now it's not being tracked, monitored, or anything by the army so no one's calling up CO's asking why techs aren't turning wrenches. Something like that needs to happen, either RCEME Corp, CADTC, or NDHQ needs someone tracking this and hammering units to be getting techs hands on time.

A warrant at the weapons school said to me about a year ago thst right now Reg F techs do not trust the technical competence of ResF techs, and it's not our fault but a system and a CoC setting us up for failure.
We hardly saw a weapons tech leave their workshop in my day, I got the benefit to help out on stripping down a 105 C1 that had a back into battery failure (thank you 202 workshop for leaving metal shavings in the recoil system) and learned a lot about them. There was no ongoing education on weapons and weapon systems and due to that our cleaning methods for small arms was destructive and handling of weapon parts also poor (using magazines to open bear bottles) After helping with the howitzer tear down, I made sure as the Class B guy to exercise the recoil systems on our guns every month. As for small arms, I learned far more about firearms and ammunition outside of the military than in it. Get rid of this idea that information needs to be hoarded, get out there and teach advanced weapons care, so there will be far less problems coming to the shops.
 

mariomike

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Cooks can do things like menu planning and recipe development on a Wednesday night. There is a plan in place right now to get reserve Cooks working for the various courses running part time to ween ourselves off contractors, and its slowly working.
In my PRes company there were two trades. Transport Operator ( MSE Op ) and Cook.

I got to know one Cook in particular pretty well. He was regarded as the best. And, he knew it. When I asked his "secret", he told me.
The only favour he wanted in return was to be excused from "all military crap". His words. Not mine. As far as I could ever tell, they always granted him his "favour". :)

These are minimum standards and union contracts and employment contracts can increase the benefits/obligations.

Depends on the employer.

They paid us 80 hours Leave With Pay ( LWP ) every summer for two week during militia concentration.

You received your 80 hours regular pay.

Add to that, another 80 hours, paid at time and a half, to whoever covered your shifts while away.

So, that cost the City 200 hours of pay to cover an 80 hour ( two-week ) military leave.

Your pension, sick bank, vacation time, benefits etc. all continued as if you never were away.
 

CBH99

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Major difference. Always been a big fan of OJT. That is the environment in which I have spent my career. Bringing new kit on line and teaching newbies (often with English as Second Language) how to operate it - and then watching the teams figure out how to get more out of the gear than I intended or expected.
I've always found OJT to be a REALLY good way to accelerate competence, IF it is structured correctly.

After the initial basic training is finished, doing the job under 1 or 2 instructors who provide guidance, mentorship, and experience has always produced great results in the various jobs I've had. (Inside and outside the military.)

**That being said, none of them had to do with maintaining or fixing weapons - some of which are more than a mere 5.56mm rifle. So you are definitely the expert on OJT appropriateness for Weapons Techs, MilEME.



A structured OJT with certain tasks, hours, experience to be acknowledged and signed off by a mentor/instructor - I've found has worked well for us here at SOLGEN. Once the list is complete, the member is then put under another mentor/instructor for either the same thing (learn different ways of doing things) - or the new instructor/mentor comes with a new list. Depends on the position.

I learned far more practical things doing OJT my first week on the job, than I ever did in training.
 

markppcli

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I would honestly suggest that the best way to increase man power in the reserves is to actively encourage releasing members to transfer to the reserves. As it stands now there is no incentive what so ever, in fact it is de-incentivized, some form of allowance, bonus, or what ever to encourage members to go the reserves, and the CF to retain that skilled member would be a massive boon. Especailly those getting out to make use of the 6 and 12 year Education benefit.

I actually like the idea of a reservist being on an initial year long contract upon enrollment, should be enough time to get them through DP1 and be a "productive" member of their unit when they get there.
 
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