Kathy MichaelsCanada’s defence minister Harjit Singh Sajjan meets with local reservists alongside Lieutenant Colonel Mike McGinty and Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr.

Defence minister announces new program for reservists

Harjit Sajjan announced the launch of a summer employment program for reservists Tuesday in Kelowna

Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan, announced the launch of the full time summer employment program for reservists Tuesday, in Kelowna. The program, explained Sajjan, will allow new and recently enrolled reservists the opportunity to work full time from May 1 to Aug. 31 each summer.

“This will be done for the first four years of their service,” said Sajjan.

Canada is “investing in its citizen soldiers” assigning new roles, enhancing existing roles, and ensuring they are properly trained and equipped, he said, adding what it means is that communities will have more support.

“Units like the Dragoons can directly impact communities in times of need. We talk about filling sandbags (during times of flooding), but it’s not just filling sandbags,” he told the crowd of reservists. “You are saving people’s homes through flooding. … and we witnessed that last summer.”

The decision to fund full time employment could significantly bolster enrollment at the B.C. Dragoons, said Lt.-Col. Mike McGinty, the Dragoons’ commanding officer. Previously employment could be offered as a week here, or two to three weeks there.

“That wasn’t enough to commit,” said McGinty. “Now we are offering a clear start to end period where we can recruit them.”

McGinty said he has 100 reservists now and has room to enlist another 60. The community benefit is that once there are more people working for the Dragoons, when there’s a time of need there will be more available resources to deploy in times of need—such as fires and floods.

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