From the Director: Quality of Life, Quality of Service for the RCAF Reserve

Magazine Article / July 8, 2020 / Project number: RCAF-Excelsior-Summer-2020-1

I want to begin by expressing my deepest appreciation for the great efforts that each one of you is making to help mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spread. With the unprecedented challenges posed to the RCAF by this global pandemic and the associated Op LASER activities, it is easy to overlook the fact that there are other still-important initiatives going on.

As you are aware, the RCAF has been facing some unique personnel challenges over the past several years. These challenges are due in a large part to the declining level of trained and experienced personnel in certain occupations, which ultimately can pose risk across critical RCAF capabilities. To address these challenges, programs were launched in June 2019 to ensure the continuing health of the RCAF and our ability to achieve mission success.

Under the CDS-directed Op EXPERIENCE, the CAF is working specifically on stabilizing and increasing levels of pilot experience. An example of this effort is the renewed effort to attract and re-enroll former experienced members. Under the RCAF’s Op TALENT, we are focusing on the quality of life and quality of service (QLQS) of all our personnel and their families. This plan is broader in nature, allowing the RCAF to address issues across a wider range of stressed occupations and capabilities. You will find examples of QLQS initiatives that pertain specifically to our reservists on the following page.

As the RCAF moves forward on these initiatives, it is important to remember that your leadership is listening and the principle goal underlying all of these initiatives is improving the quality of life and quality of service for all RCAF members. By retaining highly skilled and experienced members at the end of their Regular Force career, the RCAF Reserve provides a conduit to maintain critical expertise in the organization and to impart learned experiences to new members. For the individual, moving to a part-time career in the Reserve provides a smooth transition from the hectic, full-time employment in the Regular Force to retirement. The RCAF Reserve remains a critical component in the delivery of air power in support of national goals.

Colonel Shawn Marley,
Director RCAF Reserve

The RCAF is moving forward on several initiatives to improve the quality of life and quality of service (QLQS) of all our personnel and their families. There are several that pertain specifically to our reservists:

  • Maximizing RCAF Reserve part-time employment. By employing part-time personnel and providing them with just enough training to perform less technical but still important tasks, we can free up our more highly trained members to concentrate on their core duties.
  • Growing the Air Operations Support Technician (AOS Techs) occupation. There are three areas in which these reservists are providing support:
    1. Aircraft Maintenance Support: Instead of employing highly trained aircraft maintenance technicians to park, start, and refuel aircraft, our AOS Techs can complete this work, allowing the air maintainers to get on with fixing aircraft;
    2. Search and Rescue (SAR) Support: AOS Techs will set up and tear down drop zones; transport equipment and personnel by vehicle or boat; will help with diving exercises, pack cargo chutes and assist with other general labour duties. Again, the idea is to free up less technical tasks from highly trained SAR Techs to allow them to get on with their core business of saving lives and training for their multiple proficiencies; and
    3. Force Protection (WASF) duties: A core competency of all AOS Techs will be Force Protection, which forms the basis of their occupation training. These members will be fully trained for Wing Auxiliary Security Force (WASF) duties and will be able to free up trained technicians from a portion of their WASF callouts.
  • Updating our workforce management processes to increase agility and responsiveness for the individual and the organization. To accomplish this we are working on a series of initiatives including: reducing processing time for Component Transfers (CT) to the RCAF Reserve by shortening time required for employment notifications; using exceptions to employ annuitants rather than leave a full-time position vacant; enabling Class C reserve service for members on SAR and NORAD standby postures, as well as those deploying to CFS ALERT.
  • Growing the RCAF Reserve to reach 2,550. We are evolving the RCAF Reserve to provide capability augmentation in addition to the individual augmentation that we already provide. The creation of the Air Operations Support Technician is the start of this journey as that occupation provides aircraft maintenance support, SAR support and Force Protection duties across the RCAF. Look for additional capability augmentation as we look to leverage existing skills and experience in the civilian sector to augment growth in rapidly expanding areas such as Space, Cyber and modelling and simulation. This enhanced Reserve component provides stability, experience and increased capacity through both individual and capability augmentation constructs.
  • Encouraging a healthy and sustainable work/life balance. To help achieve this goal, RCAF leaders ─particularly those at the tactical level─ are urged to consider how they plan and conduct routine operations, and how they can be accomplished while protecting a healthy work-life balance for their people. A more balanced routine tempo will lessen the impact of higher operational tempo as the need arises. One example, which we have all experienced to some degree over the past months, is alternate work arrangements, which can include offering more flexible working hours as well as the option to work remotely whenever practicable.

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