Foreign Service Arrangements benefit Canadian Reservists abroad

Article / September 27, 2019 / Project number: 190104

Note: to view additional photos, click the photo under Image Gallery.

By Steven Fouchard, Army Public Affairs

Ottawa, Ontario — Canadian Armed Forces Reservists working or studying in four of Canada’s Allied nations have the option to continue their military service by temporarily joining Reserve units in their host nations.

On Saturday, September 28, 2019, Canadian Army Reserve units across the country are once again hosting open house/job fair events. If you have ever considered joining, this is your chance to learn more about the many opportunities awaiting you from Reservists themselves, including the overseas opportunities described below.

These opportunities come in the form of Reserve Forces Foreign Service Arrangements (RFFSA). RFFSA is a series of agreements with four of our Allies: the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

Canadian Reservists who will be living temporarily in one of those countries for schooling, work, or who are accompanying a spouse who is working abroad, can maintain their soldiering skills by serving with Reserve units in their host countries. Members’ pay is covered by their parent units in Canada.

Corporal Jessica Stacey, who serves as a musician with Les Fusiliers de Sherbrooke, based in Sherbrooke, Quebec, recently returned from England, where she worked as a teacher while also training with The Band of the Yorkshire Regiment, based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, between the cities of Leeds and Manchester.

Her host unit became “an instant family,” she recalled.

“I had to adjust my brain to the accent and the different musical and military vocabulary but that was more fun than anything. Living in England was surprisingly different than what I expected it to be, especially living in Yorkshire County. There are some vocabulary and cultural differences that I wasn't expecting but I appreciate those differences as they make England what it is.”

For Cpl Stacey, the teaching job came first. She said it was an experience she did not want to miss out on and was pleased to learn that, through the RFFSA program, she would be able to keep up her military training at the same time.

And her hosts certainly did keep her busy.

“We rehearsed every Wednesday night,” she recalled. “We spent a week supporting troops in Lithuania; played a tattoo in Lorelei, Germany; and supported the Nijmegen March in The Netherlands. We also supported the Brigade at events such as Christmas carol services, church services and funerals. As the recruiting slogan for Reserve musicians says, ‘It pays to play.’”

Corporal Evan Schryver is a member of The Canadian Grenadier Guards, a Montreal-based Reserve unit, with aspirations of becoming a military lawyer. RFFSA has allowed him to continue military training with 7th Battalion The Rifles while studying law at Oxford University.

“I realized that if I wanted to succeed in this aspiration, I would need to keep up my qualifications and remain a polished soldier,” he said. “And I figured taking part in RFFSA would also be an excellent way to improve my time management skills.”

Like Cpl Stacey, Cpl Schryver faced a slight adjustment but has found the British Army Reserve to be most welcoming.

“I find that the structures are very similar. Some drills are quite different, and some of the weapons systems are different. It really has been a fantastic experience. I felt welcome from the beginning and my chain of command at The Canadian Grenadier guards has also been very supportive.”

“It has been a great way to maintain and improve my soldiering skills whilst learning about new cultures,” he added. “I'd absolutely recommend it to anyone who is considering it.”

Cpl Stacey concurred.

“I recommend this experience to all Reservists,” she said. “I pushed myself out of my comfort zone by being far away from my family and living in another country. In the end, I have only had positive experiences. In terms of my military career, I think it has re-lit my commitment and passion for the Reserves.”

To comment on this article, visit the Canadian Army's Facebook Notes

Date modified: