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Questions about joining the Reserves

da1root

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I was told leaving the reserves is easy if it doesn't work out - e.g. 30 days notice.  Is that true?
You are required to give a minimum 30 days notice of your intention to release; the release procedures can (and often) take longer than 30 days to complete.

Don't reservists need to fill out a bunch of Voluntary Release paperwork?
Yes - there is a great deal of paperwork to fill out along with returning kit (uniforms).

In the meantime, are reservists required to continue attending parades and monthly weekends?
Technically until your Release Date has come yes, however depending on your reason for leaving exceptions can be made. That's between the member and the chain of command to discuss.

If I do join and I am waiting around for my BMQ and BMOQ - do I have to attend unit parades and on weekends?
Depends on the unit, but normally there's some sort of pre-BMQ / pre-BMOQ that you can do to help prepare you for course.  Also some units have weekend BMQ during the fall/spring.

What can I do before the BMQ
See above :) 

Do I get a uniform?
Normally you'll get combats shortly after your enrollment date; until you receive a uniform most times it's advisable to wear semi-casual clothing (unless otherwise directed)

How strict are the weekly parades and weekend service requirements once I'm in as a reserve?  If I want to skip here and there (family obligations or religious reasons), are decision makers usually flexible?  Does it depend on the unit?
The policy is that to remain on effective strength you have to attend at least 1 parade day per 30 day period. Actual requirements to attend will depend on occupation and unit - expectations of attendance should be discussed with the unit you want to join.

ontheedge said:
Hi there,

1.  I'm thinking of joining the reserves, direct entry for officer.  I was told leaving the reserves is easy if it doesn't work out - e.g. 30 days notice.  Is that true?  Don't reservists need to fill out a bunch of Voluntary Release paperwork?  In the meantime, are reservists required to continue attending parades and monthly weekends?

2.  If I do join and I am waiting around for my BMQ and BMOQ - do I have to attend unit parades and on weekends?  What can I do before the BMQ?  Do I get a uniform?

3.  How strict are the weekly parades and weekend service requirements once I'm in as a reserve?  If I want to skip here and there (family obligations or religious reasons), are decision makers usually flexible?  Does it depend on the unit?

Thanks for any help.
 

brihard

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ontheedge said:
3.  How strict are the weekly parades and weekend service requirements once I'm in as a reserve?  If I want to skip here and there (family obligations or religious reasons), are decision makers usually flexible?  Does it depend on the unit?

This will vary by unit. My regiment has an attendance policy that you will attend three out of every four training nights (Thursdays) and that you will attend every exercise. Exceptions can be made, but they are to be requested in writing two weeks ahead of time, and it's still at the discretion of your company commander. Soldiers who are unable to meet this commitment will first have that documented for their annual assessment, and then their leadership begin using the administrative process to formally counsel the member on their poor attendance. Eventually this can lead to a member being administratively released.

The reserves are still a job. When you have a job, you show up. If you cannot attend regularly, we don't need you. Obviously we get that things happen in life, and there is still flexibility for that- generally the more of a reputation you build as a solid performer with reliable attendance, the more slack will be cut when needed.
 

ontheedge

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Thanks for all the help guys. Pretty helpful.  Sounds like despite the bureaucracy, much will have to do with negotiations within Chain of Command etc.

Follow up q's:

1.  The specialty professional trade I'm considering doesn't have any openings and probably won't for a few years.  But I wanna start the process now.  So do I enrol and apply for another job (say, infantry officer) and get the gears rolling, so if something opens up in my specialty, I'm ready and fully trained?

2.  For the BMQ and BMOQ - is there a way to get details of the curriculum, what is covered on day to day basis, for weekend and summer offerings?  I have certain religious accommodations that will prevent me from doing certain activities on Saturdays and I'd like to know what's covered to plan around it.

3.  How many on this forum are married and have more than 2 kids?  It seems and I've heard that army life - if you're single - the world is your oyster - and if you're married - well, good luck to you.

4.  What has been particularly heart-wrenching is hearing the stories of e.g. single moms who haven't been very well accommodated in the Forces, moved around with young kids etc (doesn't apply to reserves I suppose but still...)  Also, reading awful veteran stories... I feel like throwing up when I hear of the sacrifices and the "repayment" when the soldiers return.  It's kind of my inspiration to join the Forces and do something about it ... but realistically, I'll be one of 87,000 cogs in the monster wheel...
 

mariomike

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ontheedge said:
I have certain religious accommodations that will prevent me from doing certain activities on Saturdays and I'd like to know what's covered to plan around it.

Do you mean Shomer Shabbat?

If so, you may find this discussion of interest,

Being Jewish in the CAF 
https://army.ca/forums/threads/123737.0.html

 

ontheedge

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mariomike said:
Do you mean Shomer Shabbat?

If so, you may find this discussion of interest,

Being Jewish in the CAF 
https://army.ca/forums/threads/123737.0.html

Thanks!  yes I read that thread in full, it didn't get into BMQ or BMOQ details... in particular the curriculum component.  'spose those are details left to the unit head etc...
 

da1root

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ontheedge said:
1.  The specialty professional trade I'm considering doesn't have any openings and probably won't for a few years.  But I wanna start the process now.  So do I enrol and apply for another job (say, infantry officer) and get the gears rolling, so if something opens up in my specialty, I'm ready and fully trained?

It's really best to join the occupation you want to do.  There is an administrative process to change trades (Voluntary Occupational Transfer); but VOT's are not guaranteed, they require a great amount of paperwork, chain of command approval, plus a slew of other requirements.  Yes people VOT (I am one of them), but it is not an easy process (my VOT took just over a year and had full Chain of Command support).

ontheedge said:
2.  For the BMQ and BMOQ - is there a way to get details of the curriculum, what is covered on day to day basis, for weekend and summer offerings?  I have certain religious accommodations that will prevent me from doing certain activities on Saturdays and I'd like to know what's covered to plan around it.

Day to day curriculum doesn't exist ahead of time for most courses.  Being that I've instructed military courses, most instructors get approx two weeks to "prep" for the course (unless they're full time instructors); during that two weeks you review the lesson plans and build your schedule.  Most times there is a great amount of latitude for the instructors (normally head instructor) to set up the course schedule.  There are certain things that need to be done by the end of the course and by certain bench marks of the course; but for the most part a day to day schedule of events doesn't exist pre-course.
With that said as an instructor in many situations I had students of various religious backgrounds; and whenever possible their religious needs were accommodated (the biggest one that sticks in my memory is allowing students to leave my class at certain times of the day for prayer time).  If you have food requirements, that becomes harder (aside from no pork, that's easy) to accommodate.  There were a handful of times that just because of what we were doing we couldn't accommodate the religious requirements but the students were aware of the inability to accommodate well in advance.

ontheedge said:
3.  How many on this forum are married and have more than 2 kids?  It seems and I've heard that army life - if you're single - the world is your oyster - and if you're married - well, good luck to you.
I'm sure there are many on this forum that meet that requirement; I do not (I'm single) but I've served along side many individuals who have spouses and children.  For full time members your career is what you make of it; if you show up Monday to Friday and do your job, but you do it really well good for you.  If you're able to spend time volunteering (this is where parents come in because spending time with your kids beavers, scouts, girl guides, coaching the basketball/baseball team, or anything like that counts as volunteering) even better.  One of the Sergeants I currently work with has two kids and he volunteers almost as much as I do as a single person, and it's because he volunteers with what his kids are doing.
As a Reservist, you'll be part time (unless you get a Class B contract); last time I worked at a Reserve Unit I'd say at least 90% of the unit has spouses and kids.

ontheedge said:
4.  What has been particularly heart-wrenching is hearing the stories of e.g. single moms who haven't been very well accommodated in the Forces, moved around with young kids etc (doesn't apply to reserves I suppose but still...)  Also, reading awful veteran stories... I feel like throwing up when I hear of the sacrifices and the "repayment" when the soldiers return.  It's kind of my inspiration to join the Forces and do something about it ... but realistically, I'll be one of 87,000 cogs in the monster wheel...
In regards to the veteran stories, keep in mind that is not the CAF treating them that way - that is Veteran's Affairs which is a different agency entirely. 
With the other situations, not to downplay what has happened to those individuals; but the CAF is a large organization.  You take any organization the size of the CAF and there are going to be individuals who aren't happy. 
If you have a spouse and kids and you join an occupation that is gone to sea (or deployed) most of your career, and then complain that you're never with your family - is that the fault of the person who joined that occupation or the organization?  I know on the recruiter course, recruiters are taught to be honest that Regular Force members can potentially be moved every 3 to 5 years (sometimes quicker than 3 years due to promotions, courses, etc); and that when you're moved you may not get your #1 preference of where you want to move.  To me it's disheartening to see media stories of people complaining about moving all over the place when the organization is open about that fact. 

As a person joining the Reserves, you will only move if you choose to move.  I've been in for 20 years now, all as a Reservist - I've been full-time since 2003 and I've been to Halifax, Ottawa, Kingston, Meaford, Borden & Victoria during my time in; and all of those locations (except Meaford, I was tasked there as an instructor for a short time period) I picked to go.

* Disclaimer: The above comments are based purely on my experience in the CAF, and should not be taken as official responses of the CAF.  I make this disclaimer as many on here know I work within Recruiting so I want to be clear about my comments.
 

ontheedge

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What are the food options like in the cafeterias generally?  I could live off fresh fruits and vegetables, boiled eggs, nuts and seeds.  And coffee.

But for those with dietary restrictions, can we bring our own food?  Like protein powders, a small fridge to store our own perishable kosher meat, etc.

I could get by not eating during the day, or just relying on special portable energy bars. But I’d need to have access to my own food stock at night.
 

ontheedge

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Not sure if it’s too late to follow up question on this thread. I thought a reservist  can choose his or her deployment status and what type of work he or she takes on. Can’t a reservist simply refuse to participate in drills or exercises that require travel, stick to a local unit, and work the chain of command to focus on more civilian type work?
 

RedcapCrusader

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ontheedge said:
What are the food options like in the cafeterias generally?  I could live off fresh fruits and vegetables, boiled eggs, nuts and seeds.  And coffee.

But for those with dietary restrictions, can we bring our own food?  Like protein powders, a small fridge to store our own perishable kosher meat, etc.

I could get by not eating during the day, or just relying on special portable energy bars. But I’d need to have access to my own food stock at night.

There's a wide variety of foods. There's the hot meal line with your meats, starches, vegetables, and your vegetarian offerings, salad and fruit bar, desserts. Dining Halls offer all three daily meals and are generally open 0600-1830 but close between each meal.

Generally you cannot keep food in the barracks, anything you do have must be sealed (supplements, granola bars). You may have a small bar fridge depending on where you are and you can have a microwave. You're not permitted any other appliances in the barracks.

While you are at the CFLRS in St Jean you are not permitted to keep any food; supplements, protein bars etc. will be confiscated.
 

runormal

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ontheedge said:
Not sure if it’s too late to follow up question on this thread. I thought a reservist  can choose his or her deployment status and what type of work he or she takes on. Can’t a reservist simply refuse to participate in drills or exercises that require travel, stick to a local unit, and work the chain of command to focus on more civilian type work?

If you don't want to deploy, you really don't need to worry about it, they'll be people fighting for the few deployment spots that the unit/brigade spot gets. You might want to question why you joined though.

As a CLS A (part time), you can refuse and not show up to whatever training you want. However, don't be think that their won't be career limitations. Why would we give you your driver's course if you never go on excercise for example.

With seven years in, I can definitely say that it'll get old real quick just hanging out at the armoury doing prep work or maintenance. In fact, those are the things that I try to miss. I really don't want to clean out the comms kit cages that we do every year, because people can't put their shit back where they got it.

The coolest experiences have been outside of the armoury and even as a CLS A reservist, I've gotten to see some places in Canada, that I never would have.

You'll also need to leave your local area for your trades training.
 

brihard

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ontheedge said:
Not sure if it’s too late to follow up question on this thread. I thought a reservist  can choose his or her deployment status and what type of work he or she takes on. Can’t a reservist simply refuse to participate in drills or exercises that require travel, stick to a local unit, and work the chain of command to focus on more civilian type work?

If you refuse to come out and play on weekends away from home, don’t be surprised if before long you’re shown the door. There is a process that allows for that where a soldier fails or refuses to meet their unit’s expected attendance requirements.

For your first summer at a minimum, expect to travel for basic training. You have spoken elsewhere about infantry officer, for example- you would need to spend at least three months, I believe, in Gagetown, N.B. in order to get qualified. Subsequently, any career progression will depend on courses that are generally not local unless you happen to live near one of our major training bases.

If you join, be willing to give that full time summer, be willing to travel for training, be willing to go out of town a weekend a month. If you aren’t, that’s OK, but please reconsider joining and leave the spot open for someone who can.
 

kratz

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ontheedge said:
What are the food options like in the cafeterias generally?  I could live off fresh fruits and vegetables, boiled eggs, nuts and seeds.  And coffee.

But for those with dietary restrictions, can we bring our own food?  Like protein powders, a small fridge to store our own perishable kosher meat, etc.

I could get by not eating during the day, or just relying on special portable energy bars. But I’d need to have access to my own food stock at night.

Asking questions is good, but searching and reading yourself helps as well.
An reliable search term on Google, for most questions is: "site:navy.ca ???  "

After copy and pasting:  "site:navy.ca food diet", the top result answers most of your diet questions.

"What the food like?", reply # 10

[quote author=Pusser]

Kosher/Halal & vegetarian meals are available at most, if not all, messes.  These dietary lifestyles are also available in IMP format.

Vegan, however, isn't an option.

Careful here.  Just because foods that are acceptable to the Jewish/Muslim diet are available does not mean that they are Kosher or Halal.  Preparation is a key element to Kosher and  Halal foods and CF cooks are not trained in Kosher or Halal preparation.  Nor do we have the facilities to be able to offer Kosher or Halal meals (require separate preparation areas and in many cases separate dishes, utensils, etc.)  We do not have a sufficiently high enough population of either Jews or Muslims in the CF to make this feasible.  Can we prepare pork free meals?  Yes.  Are they Kosher or Halal?  No.

This reminds me of a course run on one base where box lunches were required.  One of the students on the course was Muslim and so the order for box lunches specified "no pork products" for his lunch, yet everyday there was a ham sandwich.  When the kitchen was queried on this, the guy in charge of box lunches said that he knew the lunch was supposed to be pork-free, which is why he made sure it was made with ham and not pork.  Sometimes the best laid plans can be completely sidelined by idiots.  He honestly didn't seem to realize that ham was a pork product.

As of this moment, the only separate dietary requirements that are protected by regulation are those for medical reasons as prescribed by a medical doctor.  Having said that, we try to be reasonably accomodating to the point that we don't simply point to the salad bar if there is a request for more vegetarian options.

Food on board ship and in field kitchens is prepared to at least the same standard as on bases and in many cases is even higher.  This is largely because CF cooks are trained to an exceptionally high standard, but the civilian cooks on bases are trained on the job (if they don't have a qualification before being hired) and so their training and experience can vary from base to base.  The limiting factor in ships and field kitchens is the availability of supplies.  Sometimes, things are just not available and so options and choices are limited.  When you run out of fresh fruit and vegetables, you just have to make do with pasta salad until you get re-supplied.  I remember one trip where we ran out of bread.  Thus our night baker had to bake forty loaves of fresh bread every night for about two weeks.  The ship's company took it in stride though and I never heard one complaint about the lack of wholewheat, 12-grain, low-sodium, non-fat Kosher bread.  Instead we all took one for the team and suffered daily with hot fresh bread!  Man it was rough. ;D
[/quote]
 

ontheedge

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if  the army can figure out  a way to accommodate 28 gender identifications I’m confident it can figure out how to accommodate religions 1200-3500 years old...
 

mariomike

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ontheedge said:
if  the army can figure out  a way to accommodate 28 gender identifications I’m confident it can figure out how to accommodate religions 1200-3500 years old...

For reference to the discussion,

Religion in the Canadian Forces & in Canadian Society 
https://army.ca/forums/threads/25815.0
25 pages.

Release for Religious Reasons 
https://army.ca/forums/threads/112124.0
 

RocketScientist

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Hello,

I've recently submitted my online application and received a confirmation email. Waiting to hear from from the recruiter(s) to procees further (I've left a phone message).

The application wasn't quite as comprehensive as I had anticipated. Didn't give me a chance to truly "sell" my qualifications. If that sounds weird, please know that the last application I wrote was for my Master's program, and it took days to complete. I guess the Canadian Forces prefer to do most of the evaluation later on in the process.

One of the things I could not include in my application was the fact that I have delved into the world of adventure sports. I've done, recreationally only (not certified), things like skydiving, scuba diving, ice-climbing, back-country camping, portaging, bungee jumping, glacier trekking, cliff-climbing, etc. (can't remember everything at the moment). In this regard, I have the following questions:

1. Do these things even matter to the Canadian Forces?
2. If so, when and how do I add them on my file?
3. Obviously, I would like to pursue para or dive courses if and when I make it into the Forces, and meet all the difficult requirements. Do they care if a candidate has already done some of these things?

Here's some background info, if relevant:

Trades selected: Engineer Officer, Pilot (long shot, I know)
Applying for Primary Reserves as DEO

Thanks

PS: Per the rules, I did my due diligence and searched the forums for info, and didn't find anything. Please don't whack me over the head for it.
 

brihard

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ACE_Engineer said:
Hello,

I've recently submitted my online application and received a confirmation email. Waiting to hear from from the recruiter(s) to procees further (I've left a phone message).

The application wasn't quite as comprehensive as I had anticipated. Didn't give me a chance to truly "sell" my qualifications. If that sounds weird, please know that the last application I wrote was for my Master's program, and it took days to complete. I guess the Canadian Forces prefer to do most of the evaluation later on in the process.

One of the things I could not include in my application was the fact that I have delved into the world of adventure sports. I've done, recreationally only (not certified), things like skydiving, scuba diving, ice-climbing, back-country camping, portaging, bungee jumping, glacier trekking, cliff-climbing, etc. (can't remember everything at the moment). In this regard, I have the following questions:

1. Do these things even matter to the Canadian Forces?
2. If so, when and how do I add them on my file?
3. Obviously, I would like to pursue para or dive courses if and when I make it into the Forces, and meet all the difficult requirements. Do they care if a candidate has already done some of these things?

Here's some background info, if relevant:

Trades selected: Engineer Officer, Pilot (long shot, I know)
Applying for Primary Reserves as DEO

Thanks

PS: Per the rules, I did my due diligence and searched the forums for info, and didn't find anything. Please don't whack me over the head for it.

Parachuting is absolutely achievable depending on how terrible a pilot you end up being.
 

PuckChaser

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Brihard said:
Parachuting is absolutely achievable depending on how terrible a pilot you end up being.
Or how old your aircraft is.
 

RocketScientist

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I was watching a documentary on YouTube in which they interviewed a few paratroopers, and they said the most difficult part of becoming a paratrooper is the mental aspect.

I assume that means getting over the fear of jumping out of a plane with 50lbs of gear. Would it be reasonable then to say that, when applying for the basic para course, somebody who has already jumped out of a place (civilian skydiving) would have an advantage over those who haven't yet done something like that?

Or is that wishful thinking on this newbies part?
 

PuckChaser

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Lol 50 lbs... that's just a bareass jump.

Unless you have your civilian skydiving license, it means very little. Most units pick bpara spots based on PT test scores and your PDRs.
 
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