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News Article / June 10, 2019
Quality of Life — Quality of Service
In June 2019, programs were launched to ensure the continuing health of the RCAF and our ability to achieve mission success. These initiatives are vital in the face of an unprecedented level of global competition for the skills of pilots, technicians, highly trained aviation specialists, and support personnel. Across the RCAF, we are working on restoring and retaining levels of personnel experience and thereby ensure we are able to meet our current mandate and properly transfer skills and knowledge to the next generations of aviators.
On June 10, 2019, the commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Lieutenant-General Al Meinzinger, sent the following message to members of the Royal Canadian Air Force
The Chief of the Defence Staff recently launched “Operation Experience”, which directs the Canadian Armed Forces to implement immediate actions to stabilize and rapidly increase levels of pilot experience. These actions are nested within a broader RCAF campaign plan, “Operation Talent”, which focuses on the quality of life and quality of service of all our personnel and their families. It addresses, in particular, the intake, training, absorption and employment of our members.
Although these two directives have been published separately, be assured that they address two aspects of a single challenge and we will implement measures arising from both in a seamless, mutually complementary and holistic manner.
Together, these initiatives are vital in face of an unprecedented level of global competition for the skills of pilots, technicians, highly trained aviation specialists and support personnel. We are at risk of losing the depth of experience that our more senior personnel possess and, thus, the ability to mentor, train and transfer knowledge to our newer aviators and bring them to an operationally effective level.
Without action to stabilize our levels of experienced personnel, the RCAF’s operational output will be further impacted. Increasing our intake and our training capacity is not enough. We must nurture an environment where the RCAF’s quality of life and quality of service make it more attractive for our members to stay than to leave.
The challenge is complex, however, and will require equally complex solutions. We are already working on several solutions to alleviate our situation. We will implement some of them quickly but others, I want to be clear, may take up to five to seven years to put in place.
We’re already seeing progress on the establishment of a new Air Operations Support Technician occupation (Reserve Force) that will augment force protection capabilities and provide support to aircraft maintenance and search and rescue activities. This will allow highly qualified Aviation and Search and Rescue Technicians to focus on their primary functions. We will begin accepting applications to this occupation this summer. Planning is also under way to establish an Air Operations Officer occupation (Regular Force) that will focus on non-flying activities, thereby returning more aircrew to the flight lines. More immediate actions include adjusting the restricted release policy and increasing the length of first flying tours to a minimum of four years. Additional initiatives are outlined in our Fact Sheet.
You will be able to learn more about both operations at future town halls in your locations, and we will distribute a “tool box” through the chain of command for leaders at all levels to use. We will also set up an intranet page (available on DND intranet only) that will keep you up to date on the progress of all our initiatives. In the meantime, I encourage you to read the upcoming edition of PERSpectives, which contains a more detailed account of our planned way ahead (available on DND intranet only).
As we work to ensure the RCAF remains an effective provider of air and space power for the Canadian Armed Forces and the Government of Canada, I encourage you to become informed, do your part and always keep in mind the words of our motto: Such is the pathway to the stars – Sic Itur Ad Astra.
News Article / June 10, 2019
From the Royal Canadian Air Force
In June 2019, programs were launched to ensure the continuing health of the Royal Canadian Air Force and our ability to achieve mission success. These initiatives are vital in the face of an unprecedented level of global competition for the skills of pilots, technicians, highly trained aviation specialists, and support personnel. Across the RCAF, we are working on restoring and retaining levels of personnel experience and thereby ensure we are able to meet our current mandate and properly transfer skills and knowledge to the next generations of aviators. On one front, we will focus specifically on stabilizing and increasing levels of pilot experience. On a second front we will focus on the quality of life and quality of service of all our personnel and their families and address, in particular, the intake, training, absorption and employment of our members.
The RCAF will stabilize and grow our capacity across all capabilities to ensure continuation of effective delivery of air and space power now, and into the future. This will be achieved by implementing the initiatives outlined below. Some will be implemented quickly but others may take up to five to seven years to put in place.
Empower leaders down to the unit level to improve work-life balance.
Finalize implementation of the Air Operations Support Technician trade that will concentrate on providing functional maintenance, Force Protection, and Search and Rescue support so highly qualified personnel focus on their primary functions.
Complete the implementation of the Family Sponsor Program by the 2019 annual posting season.
Make first aircrew tour a minimum four years at tactical squadrons, beginning with pilot flying tours.
Review pilot occupation to reflect the current operating environment and job realities.
Implement four-year extensions to engagement periods for pilots enrolled under the Continuing Education Officer Training Plan as a matter of course, rather than one-year extensions, when pilots have not completed their degrees.
Contract additional instructors for basic aircrew and operational training unit production, while also exploring creating Public Service instructor positions.
Review current restricted release policy for air occupations, beginning with pilots, to determine the appropriate period of service.
Seek allied and industry partnerships to retain, attract, and grow pilot experience within the RCAF.
Provide greater flexibility for Reserve Force employment.
To be initiated June 2019-2020
Review and adjust the balance between training and professional development with other professional and personal demands on RCAF members.
Optimize the path to being operationally effective in air occupations to maximize productive time in the training system.
Implement the new Air Operations Officer occupation that will concentrate on non-flying activities to reduce the number of aircrew filling non-flying positions.
Streamline and prioritize re-enrolment of skilled air occupations (former RCAF or allied).
Enable greater access to Class C full-time service for Reserve Force members employed on domestic operations.
Explore additional options with allies to increase training and absorption capacity for RCAF pilots and other air occupations.
Expand and/or create additional rotary wing and multi-engine flying capacity to season new wing grads awaiting platform-specific training.
Conduct an organizational review and adjustment of pilot positions to rebalance and maximize employment.
Explore options for deferred degree programs for pilots.
Explore short-term compensation measures for experienced Regular and Reserve Force pilots.
Adapt the training system to better recognize existing skills and qualifications for RCAF-managed occupations to create more flexibility in achieving operational effectiveness.
Develop eligibility criteria for reimbursement of civilian flying for pilots in non-flying positions.
In coordination with Military Personnel Command, explore a modern compensation and benefit model based on skill sets vice only rank progression across RCAF occupations.
Propose compensation measures for skilled pilot applicants who re-enroll, including move benefits for former RCAF pilots who are located outside Canada, and allied pilots who are Wings-qualified and only require recertification training.