Our soldiers are there for us – be there for them (Guest Commentary)

Veterans of Canadian Forces ‘hidden source of talent’ and employers can do a lot more
By Shaun Francis
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/06/2013

Two years ago in Afghanistan, I stood among a circle of soldiers at Kandahar Airfield and listened to Gen. Walter Natynczyk, then chief of the defence staff of the Canadian Forces, speak to his troops. Early in his career, he said — before anyone had ever heard of al-Qaida — he never would have expected to see Canadian troops in Afghanistan.

Canada would be needed again, the general promised the men and women — and probably soon. When that day comes, the Canadian Forces are certain to step up. That’s what they do — they’re there when we need them.

Unfortunately, we’re not always there for them when they need us. In the next year, about 5,000 people will leave the Canadian military. When they do, they are certain to face an inhospitable employment situation — one that fails to recognize the management or life experience soldiers have developed in the armed forces.