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Military recruiting strategies already paying off, says Bill Blair

Photo: Sylvie-Ann Paré CORIM “I am absolutely convinced that we can rebuild the strength of the Canadian Armed Forces,” he attested to “Devoir” following the event.

Sandrine Vieira

Posted at 4:00 p.m. Updated at 4:18 p.m.

  • Canada

After announcing several relaxations to promote recruitment in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), Federal Defense Minister Bill Blair assures that the new measures are already starting to bear fruit.

“We saw an increase of almost 1,000 people on reserves. This is significant. There is also an increase in the number of regular members in service,” said the minister, without specifying their number.

Minister Blair, who is also the former chief of the Toronto police service, was present in Montreal to participate in a panel of the Council on International Relations of Montreal (CORIM) alongside the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne.

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“I am absolutely convinced that we can rebuild the strength of the Canadian Armed Forces,” he testified to the Devoir following of the event. Recent progress is “just the beginning” of that recovery after years of shortages, he said.

At the start of the year, Mr. Blair described yet recruitment difficulties like a “death spiral”, lamenting that people who left the army were more numerous than those who joined. Approximately 15,000 CAF positions remain vacant today, or 16% of the force.

To remedy this, the update of Canada's defense policy, announced last month, therefore provided for more flexible measures to accelerate recruitment, such as the creation of a probationary period, a reduction in medical requirements and a reduction delays in obtaining security clearances.

“It is important that checks are carried out on people we recruit into positions that require high levels of security , but we are not obliged to do it on the first day, nor before someone even applies,” says the minister.

In 2022, the FAC had opened their doors to permanent residents in the hope of breathing new life into recruitment. But only a handful of the 21,000 applicants were accepted during this first year of eligibility.

The minister admits that current recruitment processes are insufficient for needs. “Let's get them in, let's give them basic training and give them a chance to hang in there,” he insists.

Investments for health care, housing and child care for military personnel were also announced in the latest defense policy update to aid member retention.

More details will follow.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116