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Military bases struggling with personnel shortages, internal review finds

dimsum

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You mean setting up an education benefit so that people have to quit the military (completely, no sneaking back to help out the Cadets etc now) so you can access tens of thousands of dollars of education funding isn't a really good idea for retaining your most learning motivated personnel?
I thought that got amended so you could be in the Supp Res and still get the benefit?
 

dapaterson

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There are also a variety of in service educational support programs in place.
 

lenaitch

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I did say "basically any other" implying that there would be exceptions, although I think they are few and far between.

That said, I'd be wary of the OPP comparison. Do they have a system of non-comms and officers as we do? Are you comparing the average OPP officer to the average MP NCM when it would make more sense to compare it to the average NCM MP + MPO salary?

Air traffic controller, way outside my ability to comment on. Maybe it is one of the exceptions.

But, in a more general sense, how many people with a high school education are making $60k+ a year only 4 years out of school? And will be retired at $43k years old with a defined benefit plan (DBP almost doesn't exist nowadays, and certainly not a gold plated one like the CAF)?

How many people with a Bachelor's of History are making $80k 3 years after graduating? (and that's not factoring PLD, LDA, pension, leave, etc.).

My income and wealth has been higher than almost everyone I went through university with, it's surreal. There are very few 31 year olds, in any field, bringing in $107k a year, and only 12 years away from retiring with a $60 or 70k pension for the rest of their life.

Even when we get into the more specialized stuff, like engineering, accounting, etc., the CAF is usually paying more. The amount of Majors I know making $120k a year whose only contribution seems to be turning rations into feces while they wait around to collect their pension is mindboggling, they're making the kind of money you only make as at the Partner level in most professional services.... it takes a good 10-15 years to make Partner, and then you've got to work until at least 55 or so before you can afford to retire... not 43.
The best comparators would an MP Cpl (base rank) at top 'time increment' pay vs. a 1st Class Cst (base rank, top time increment, 3 yrs). Averages are fairly meaningless because income factors don't balance out. I tried in vain to figure out the MP rate but 'best guessed' it at the mid-$70K. There are 'military factors' in the website but I didn't know how to interpret that. An OPP 1st Class Cst is $98,355, base rate .

Pension is 2%/yr x years of service available w/o penalty when age+service=80 (municipal services are different).

All police services have para-military rank structures; NCM - Cst, Sgt, S/Sgt, S/Mjr; Senior Officers - from Inspector on up. Progression is incrementally from the bottom up except in very, very rare circumstances. Legislatively, eligibility is a high school diploma (grade 12) but realistically some level of post secondary, previous work/life experience, etc. is needed to make an applicant competitive.
 

mariomike

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Pension is 2%/yr x years of service available w/o penalty when age+service=80 (municipal services are different ).
The three municipal emergency services are covered by OMERS.
Supplemental Plan (omers.com)
"The OMERS Supplemental Plan for Police, Firefighters and Paramedics (the "Supplemental Plan") offers optional benefits for members of the police sector, firefighters and paramedics."
 

mariomike

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My understanding is that young people these days are more likely to change jobs and even careers several times in their life time. It's those folks I want to cater to by saying "we're okay with that" and we'll help train you for that second career if you give us "x" number of good years of service.
Changing employers can, sometimes, be a good idea for a better quality of life. But, I wish I had a nickel for every old guy I heard say their time in the CAF, or US Armed Forces, was the best time of their lives. I heard my maternal grand-father say that. I mean look at our "Getting back in" thread. Sure, some miss the pay, benefits and security. But, I also got the sense that for many, it was the best time of their lives. :coffee:
 

stoker dave

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As a hands-on practicing professional engineer, my opinion is that CAF pays their engineers (counting all the benefits, vacation, pension, training, etc.) VERY well compared to civilian employers.

I would further add that as an engineer I have almost zero job security. One screw-up and I am out the door. One corporate re-organization to change focus, types work to be undertaken, projects awarded, etc. and I am out the door.
 

daftandbarmy

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I thought that got amended so you could be in the Supp Res and still get the benefit?
Nope. I just did my out-clearance and, unless I misunderstood the briefing, unless you're 'all the way out' you don't get it.
 

MJP

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Nope. I just did my out-clearance and, unless I misunderstood the briefing, unless you're 'all the way out' you don't get it.
That use to be the case but right from the VAC Website

You should apply for the Education and Training Benefit if:

  • you were honourably released from the Canadian Armed Forces (Regular or Reserve Force) on or after April 1, 2006, or are a member of the Supplementary Reserve and;
  • you meet the “length of service” requirement:
    • at least 12 years of authorized days of CAF Service (4382 days) to receive up to $84,311.24 (2021) or
    • at least 6 years of authorized days of CAF service (2191 days) to receive up to $42,155.62 (2021).
 

daftandbarmy

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There are also a variety of in service educational support programs in place.
Yes, there are. But AFAIK none of them shovel me out $80k (after 12 years service).

Potentially, just as we are seeing experienced NCMs and Officers coming into their 'leadership prime', they'll be gone, especially if they're keen on using the benefit to get a degree or something more complex than a buckshee certificate of some kind.
 

daftandbarmy

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That use to be the case but right from the VAC Website

You should apply for the Education and Training Benefit if:

  • you were honourably released from the Canadian Armed Forces (Regular or Reserve Force) on or after April 1, 2006, or are a member of the Supplementary Reserve and;
  • you meet the “length of service” requirement:
    • at least 12 years of authorized days of CAF Service (4382 days) to receive up to $84,311.24 (2021) or
    • at least 6 years of authorized days of CAF service (2191 days) to receive up to $42,155.62 (2021).
Ah, seen. Thnaks for the clarification.

Not an option in my case but there you go: the truth will out!
 

dapaterson

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Ah, seen. Thnaks for the clarification.

Not an option in my case but there you go: the truth will out!
Have you contacted the CAF pension office? You should - otherwise they'll wait a year to reach out. Your pension summary should say how many days of CAF service you have. In a 30 year part-time career of 50 days a year you'd be at 1500 - add in early summers of 100+ days on course / instructing, and a handful of years where you did additional part-time tasks and it's not impossible that you reached the low-end threshold.
 

daftandbarmy

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Have you contacted the CAF pension office? You should - otherwise they'll wait a year to reach out. Your pension summary should say how many days of CAF service you have. In a 30 year part-time career of 50 days a year you'd be at 1500 - add in early summers of 100+ days on course / instructing, and a handful of years where you did additional part-time tasks and it's not impossible that you reached the low-end threshold.
Yes I did, thank you for checking Herr Kernel, and they were very helpful!

That was the only good thing that came out of 'the incident': where my previous unit did not process my pay sheets for a full year, because of the 'special' way they mismanaged my Class A pay, so that the pension office contacted me assuming that I had retired. Seriously.

I'd recommend that anyone with questions about how they calculate your pensionable time etc give them a call.

They've included my previous Reg F service in the calculation, so it looks like I qualify for the full meal deal. Astonishingly enough.

That should be enough to get me qualified to 'Evil Genius' level, a la Pinky and the Brain, right? Well, in my case, maybe 'Evil Genius' Court Jester-Like Sidekick' :)
 

Furniture

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But do we really want the "best" or is that actually a throwaway tagline. Maybe "be the best you can be" is more the desired requirement. How does an employer define "the best" for potential employees? Despite a parent telling little Johnny or Joanie that they are the best not all of Canada's youth can be the best. So, the top 5% or 10% or 25%? And how do you measure that - education, ambition, IQ, CFAT scores, fastest runner, able to lift more weight . . .

The CAF is never going to get (and in the past, never got) "the best". They most assuredly have recruited and retained some with great potential who rose to that potential - so a few may have become the best that Canada could provide. But the majority have been the average. They started out as average and in most cases had an average military career (either short or long), provided good service and were proud of what they accomplished.

Having had "part time, minimum wage" employees (and been one - many, many, many years ago) I found nothing wrong with the effort put forth by most, certainly not worthy of suggesting anything they do is sub-standard.
So you ignored my point over a couple of word choices.

You are correct the CAF doesn't need the best, but we also need people willing to commit more than the average worker. We need people willing to do dangerous work, in harsh conditions, at short notice, often for prolonged periods of time. That type of commitment is going to be driven by either compensation, or patriotism. Canadians as a general rule don't do "God, Queen, and Country", so we are left with predominantly compensation. Compensation doesn't have to directly be pay, but people must feel like their commitment is rewarded with either money or time.

I believe you're intentionally being obtuse, and I'm not really sure why. If minimum wage, and part time was sufficient for the CAF that's what the CAF would be paid right now. It's not as if the government has any great love of soldiers/sailors/airmen, and therefore has decided to lavish them with more money than is necessary...
 

ballz

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Why join a profession with the intention to quit after a few years?

In your next profession, people your age will have a head start on you. Especially if the new employer is unionized. ( That would include the emergency services, and your position on the seniority list. )

Why not stay in the CAF for whole ride and max-out your pension ( 70% after 35 years )?

MM, I mean this in a friendly way, "okay boomer" :) This post is so something my Dad would say, but it's completely out of tune with millennials and probably even more so with Gen Zers.

How about because of "happiness." I can't take money to my grave, so I'd like to at least be happy on my way there.

I'm leaving $107k a year, gold-plated pension which I'd only be 12 years away from, 5 weeks annual vacation (which is more like 8 weeks with how we do leave), for $60k, no pension, 3 weeks annual vacation. That's without factoring in that I'd likely be Major in another year. And yes, I'll be starting behind my colleagues who I did my CPA program with who are all 25-28, because they have 3-5 years of public practice experience and I have none, so they'll likely be supervising me at first. If that doesn't demonstrate how much more valuable intangibles are than compensation packages, I don't know what will.


It's not as if the government has any great love of soldiers/sailors/airmen, and therefore has decided to lavish them with more money than is necessary...

No, definitely not a deliberate decision out of good will, just our sheer dumb luck of having our compensation tied to the public service, who are definitely being lavished with far far more money than is necessary / required / optimal / sustainable.

I think this thread has made me realize we need trade-based salaries though, as complex as that may get, it'd probably be worth it.
 
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dimsum

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I think this thread has made me realize we need trade-based salaries though, as complex as that may get, it'd probably be worth it.
Agreed. The Aussies may be on to something there.
 

Humphrey Bogart

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MM, I mean this in a friendly way, "okay boomer" :) This post is so something my Dad would say, but it's completely out of tune with millennials and probably even more so with Gen Zers.

How about because of "happiness." I can't take money to my grave, so I'd like to at least be happy on my way there.

I'm leaving $107k a year, gold-plated pension which I'd only be 12 years away from, 5 weeks annual vacation (which is more like 8 weeks with how we do leave), for $60k, no pension, 3 weeks annual vacation. That's without factoring in that I'd likely be Major in another year. And yes, I'll be starting behind my colleagues who I did my CPA program with who are all 25-28, because they have 3-5 years of public practice experience and I have none, so they'll likely be supervising me at first. If that doesn't demonstrate how much more valuable intangibles are than compensation packages, I don't know what will.




No, definitely not a deliberate decision out of good will, just our sheer dumb luck of having our compensation tied to the public service, who are definitely being lavished with far far more money than is necessary / required / optimal / sustainable.

I think this thread has made me realize we need trade-based salaries though, as complex as that may get, it'd probably be worth it.
Cash that pension out, tax shelter as much as possible and then smash the rest in to the stock market in both a LIRA and a cash account.

It should be a decent amount of coin and there is a lot of hidden value atm. With any luck, you wont need to work for much longer.
 

dapaterson

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There are values in taking a deferred annuity instead of the transfer value: access to retirement medical and dental plans (paying 50%) plus indexing to that annuity gives a solid fixed income base to your portfolio; put the remainder into the stock market. You want a blend of fixed income and market in your retirement plan; if you look at the CAF pension as being ~25K/year, indexed from the day you leave once you reach the specified age, plus med and dent coverage - it's not necessarily the best option to take the TV.

Don't forget - a large portion of the TV will be taxed in your hands at your top marginal rate in the year when you receive it.
 

Humphrey Bogart

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There are values in taking a deferred annuity instead of the transfer value: access to retirement medical and dental plans (paying 50%) plus indexing to that annuity gives a solid fixed income base to your portfolio; put the remainder into the stock market. You want a blend of fixed income and market in your retirement plan; if you look at the CAF pension as being ~25K/year, indexed from the day you leave once you reach the specified age, plus med and dent coverage - it's not necessarily the best option to take the TV.

Don't forget - a large portion of the TV will be taxed in your hands at your top marginal rate in the year when you receive it.
This is all true but at the end of the day it's all about your risk tolerance. Guaranteed money is nice but who can predict what life is going to be like when someone in their 30s is 60.
 

FJAG

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There are values in taking a deferred annuity instead of the transfer value: access to retirement medical and dental plans (paying 50%) plus indexing to that annuity gives a solid fixed income base to your portfolio; put the remainder into the stock market. You want a blend of fixed income and market in your retirement plan; if you look at the CAF pension as being ~25K/year, indexed from the day you leave once you reach the specified age, plus med and dent coverage - it's not necessarily the best option to take the TV.

Don't forget - a large portion of the TV will be taxed in your hands at your top marginal rate in the year when you receive it.
When I transferred out of the Reg F into the reserves after 13 years in 1981, I took a return on contributions, put it all into an RRSP and it did very nicely BUT with 20/20 hindsight and with the elements of the reserve superannuation plan which I got into in the last few years of service (and considering that I beat the odds and am still alive) I think I would have been better off in the long run with a deferred annuity. Unfortunately my 30 somethingish brain and a lack of any financial advice during my release/transfer processing kinda left me flipping a coin. The flip was greatly influenced by the fact that I was going to law school for three years, wasn't sure yet as to whether or not my wife would have a teaching position in Winnipeg, had two rug rats, had just bought a house (with an assumable 9% mortgage when the going rate was 18%) and really wasn't sure whether or not I would need the returned contributions to see us through. Luckily things clicked and we did okay. (Boy could I have used that education benefit in those days)

When I finally retired I had the option to buy back those years but the interest that I had to pay was absolutely ridiculous and was a quick nonstarter.

The lesson here is that a deferred annuity might just be a very good deal if you can get by without the return of contributions. Get good financial advice on what your downstream outcomes might be for each of your options.

🍻
 

SupersonicMax

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Valid point. And I made a mistake - the Capt(0) GSO is in the top 25% of household income (not individual).

So all Reg F Capts are in the top 25%. All Reg F LCols are in the top 10% of household income. All general and flag officers are in the top 5%.

All Cpls are in the top 50%. Non-spec WOs enter the top 25% with 2 years in rank.

Again, those are based on the 2018 pay rates, and do not include allowances or benefits.

Are civilian jobs with equivalent required skills and responsibilities also within the same relative pay? How much does a non-destructive test technician makes on the civilian side? How much does a mid-level manager makes in the civilian world? How much does someone managing 3-400 people and north of $50M in O&M make in the civilian sector? What about high level managements of large companies?

Our salaries need to be at the very least on-par with what someone would make civilian-side with equivalent credentials.
 
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