Portage College joins Colleges Alberta partnership supporting reservists
November 12, 2018

Lac La Biche - A group of 12 Alberta post-secondary institutions have signed a memorandum of understanding supporting Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Reservists who are college employees or students.

The services of Canadian Reservists may be required by the Department of National Defence while having work or study commitments at Portage College, or partnered colleges. Leave may be granted under this memorandum, securing their employment and accommodating their studies until they return.

"It is really important if Reservists get called to duty, or have opportunities to train, our institutions support them," says Joel Ward, RDC President & CEO, on behalf of Colleges Alberta. "There were some formal policies in place but we decided as a group of Alberta colleges to make a strong statement through a MOU, supporting Reservists in our institutions, whether they are students or employees."

Of the approximately 90,000 dedicated men and women serving in the Canadian Armed Forces, 26,000 are Reservists. About 30 per cent of those Reservists are students. As needed, several accommodations will be available for these learners. Tests and assignments can be rescheduled, and a program may be deferred during a lengthy deployment.

As Commander of 41 Canadian Brigade Group (41 CBG), Colonel Eppo van Weelderen, recognizes the importance and value of this formal agreement. "This collaboration among the Alberta colleges is paramount to continue the development of educated, hard-working and strong leaders for Canada," he says. "This will help provide the necessary supports to our soldiers as they fulfill their duties serving our nation, in our communities and abroad."

Forty-one CBG is one of three Army Reserve formations within 3rd Canadian Division. Made up of nine units and a brigade headquarters in Calgary, 41 CBG has seen the number of reserve soldiers increase by nearly 10 per cent the past two years, to approximately 1,600 reserve soldiers garrisoned in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Red Deer and Yellowknife. Ninety per cent of the soldiers serve part-time.

Carolyn Patton, Alberta Chair of Canadian Forces Liaison Council, views the agreement as mutually advantageous. "This memorandum strengthens the relationship and provides benefits to both parties," she says. "While serving our country, the Reservists will be able to focus on their duties, and share their skills, knowledge and experiences when they return to their college settings, and communities."

"Portage College is proud to support the Canadian Armed Forces through this agreement," says Interim President and CEO, Nancy Broadbent. "We look forward to serving them, as they have done for us."

To join the Canadian Reserve, contact the nearest armoury in your community. For more information and a list of units in your region, visit the Canadian Army Reserve online.

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About Canadian Forces Liaison Council: Canadian Forces Liaison Council is a group of more than two hundred Canada-wide senior business executives and educational leaders, a full-time Secretariat and a national network of Reserve officers. The civilians volunteer their time and efforts to promote the primary Reserve Force by highlighting the benefits of Reserve Force training and experience to the civilian workplace. They also support individual Reservists as well as Reserve units in matters related to employer support. The Council's mandate is to enhance the availability of Reservists for their military duties by obtaining the support and co-operation of organization leaders in Canada. The Council encourages civilian employers and educational institutions to grant Reservists time off on a voluntary basis, without penalty, to allow them to participate in their military activities, duties and training.    

For additional information contact:  
Jaime Davies
Corporate Communications Manager
Portage College

Carolyn Patton
Alberta Chair
Canadian Forces Liaison Council

We acknowledge that Portage College’s service region is on the traditional lands of First Nation Peoples, the owners of Treaty 6, 8 and 10, which are also homelands to the Métis people. We honour the history and culture of all people who first lived and gathered in these lands.
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