Employers of Military Reservists Deserve Taxpayer Support: C.D. Howe

TORONTO, Jan. 7 /CNW/ - Employers of military reservists who choose to deploy for active duty face financial costs that should be shared by Canadian taxpayers, according to a newly released study by the C.D. Howe Institute. In "Supporting Employees who Deploy: The Case for Financial Assistance to Employers of Military Reservists," author Colin Busby urges financial assistance for employers who incur costs - such as overtime costs for remaining employees and the search for temporary replacement workers - to protect the jobs of returning reservists. "Given the key roles Canadian reservists play in meeting Canada's increasing domestic and international security demands, policymakers need to rethink who pays for employer costs when employees deploy," said Mr. Busby, a Policy Analyst at the C.D. Howe Institute.

Reservists have become a vital component of Canada's military operations at home and abroad, including in Afghanistan, where reservists make up about 20 percent of Canadian forces. The author notes these reservists, like their counterparts in the regular forces, provide a service for all Canadians. However, owing to recent federal and provincial job protection legislation, employers of reservists tend to bear a disproportionate share of the costs when their employees are deployed overseas or domestically.

Busby suggests creating a simple, employer-based financial compensation package that would compensate firms for the costs of disruption according to a sliding scale based on employees' regular civilian earnings. Such a program would target the provision of higher levels of benefits to firms likely to suffer disproportionately from the loss of an employee, therefore shifting the costs of some military operations from a few employers to all taxpayers, but at a low price. A Canadian system of financial assistance for employers would more equitably distribute the costs of national defence actions that benefit all Canadians, and be fair to the general public, he concludes.

For the study go to http://www.cdhowe.org/pdf/backgrounder_123.pdf

SOURCE C.D. Howe Institute

For further information: For further information: Colin Busby, Policy Analyst, C.D. Howe Institute, (416) 865-1904, Email:cdhowe@cdhowe.org

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