Armed Forces

Olds College Joins Colleges Alberta Partnership Supporting Reservists

November 13, 2018 | Olds, AB, – 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 Olds College, or partnered colleges. Leave may be granted under this memorandum, securing their employment and accommodating their studies until they return.

"It is important for our institutions to support Reservists if they get called to duty or have opportunities to train,” states Stuart Cullum, Olds College President, on behalf of Colleges Alberta. “As a group, Alberta colleges have agreed to support 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.”

The Reservists’ diverse skillsets provide tremendous value to colleges, and beyond. “The leadership and skills that are developed through military training produces strong employees and students at Olds College, and their work benefits the citizens of Canada in many ways,” says Cullum. “Reservists are used, not just overseas in combat missions, but also in civil emergencies. Whether it was the ice storm that was in Quebec, or floods, the Reservists are the first to be called so we need to support them.”

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 website.