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Ontario proposing legislation protecting civilian jobs of injured military reservists

TORONTO — Military reservists would see their civilian jobs protected even if they need time off to recover from mental or physical injuries under upcoming Ontario legislation.

Labour Minister Monte McNaughton says legislation he plans to introduce would allow reservists in Ontario to respond and deploy to domestic emergencies — such as search and rescue operations, recovery from national disasters and military aid — even if they just started a new job.

The government says reservists would be eligible for job-protected leave when deployed abroad or upgrading their military skills after two months, as opposed to the current three.

McNaughton says Canadian Armed Forces members deserve to know that their job will be protected not only when they’re away, but also if they need time to recover from injuries.

McNaughton says one in seven Canadian soldiers deployed to Afghanistan developed a mental injury due to trauma from the mission and mental trauma is no less severe than physical injuries often associated with soldiers.

The province says the proposed changes build on job protections introduced last year that ensured military reservists could not be fired while deployed or in training.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 17, 2023.

The Canadian Press