Alberta becomes last province to allow reservist leave

Job-protected leave for active duty now available to Canadian Forces reservists in all provines and to those under federal jurisdiction

On June 30, 2009, the Employment Standards (Reservist Leave) Amendment Act comes into force in Alberta. The new legislation adds provisions to Alberta’s Employment Standards Code that allow members of the Canadian Forces reserves to take leave to assume active duty.

The leave provisions are similar to those for maternity and parental leaves in that it is unpaid and the job is protected. It applies to officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Forces who are not enrolled for full-time military service and have worked at least 26 consecutive weeks with the employer.

Similar to legislation in other jurisdictions, leave can be taken for any of the following:

•Deployment to a Canadian Forces operation outside Canada.

•Deployment to a Canadian Forces operation inside Canada to provide assistance in dealing with an emergency or its aftermath.

•Annual training, for up to 20 days in a calendar year.

•An operation or activity set out in the regulations.

Employers are entitled to receive at least four weeks’ notice of the start and end date of the leave, or as soon as is reasonable if the situation is urgent. Upon the employee’s return, the employer must reinstate her to the same position or a comparable one. If the employer has suspended business while the employee is on leave, it must reinstate the employee if business resumes within 52 weeks of the end of the leave.

Alberta’s amendments cap a period over the past two years in which every province and the federal government have instituted unpaid, job-protected leave for reservists called to active duty.

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