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Aug 01, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Welcome to my online office. I have set up this website to give you a chance
to interact with me directly and to learn a little bit more about my work to
Stand Up for St. Catharines in Ottawa. I hope you will take the time to read
my blog, check out the community calendar and look at the services available
through my Community Office. Most of all, I hope you will take the time to
communicate your ideas and concerns by commenting on my blog, voting for the
online polls or sending me an e-mail. This website is here for you, so
please share your thoughts and ideas.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Rick Dykstra

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage


Government of Canada Improves Veterans’ Access to Federal Public Service Jobs
Mar 04, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Measures give priority hiring and new employment opportunities in the federal public service to Canadian Armed Forces personnel and Veterans

The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today joined Canadian Armed Forces personnel and Veterans at Denison Armoury, in Toronto, to announce new government measures that will help move Veterans to the front of the line when it comes to hiring qualified Canadians for federal public service jobs.

The consolidated Veterans Hiring Act builds on previous government commitments as well as new ones outlined in Economic Action Plan 2014 to help Veterans find meaningful employment after their time in uniform is complete. In recognition of their service to Canada, Canadian Armed Forces personnel and honourably released Veterans will be given more access to federal public service job opportunities. As outlined in Economic Action Plan 2014, the Government of Canada is proposing changes to the Public Service Employment Act to enhance employment opportunities in the federal public service for Veterans.

Beginning a new, meaningful career is an important part of a successful transition from military to civilian life when Canada’s men and women in uniform conclude their service. Qualified Veterans who have at least three years of military service will be given preference in advertised, external hiring processes for five years after the date of release. Additionally, Veterans and CAF personnel with at least three years of military service will be allowed to participate in advertised, internal hiring processes for a period expiring five years after their release date.

These new measures build on the Government of Canada’s recent announcement that Veterans of the CAF who have medically released due to a service-related injury or illness will get the top level of priority consideration for job openings in the public service. This means eligible Veterans whose military service is cut short by a career-ending injury or illness suffered in the line of duty will be given statutory, priority access in the federal public service. Additionally, the duration of priority access for all medically released CAF personnel would be extended from two years to five years.

All proposed changes are expected to come into force in 2014-15.

Since 2012, the Government of Canada has also been working successfully with corporate Canada and other organizations to help Veterans find employment in the private sector.

Quick Facts

  • Veterans have skills, training and experience that make them exceptionally strong candidates for federal public service jobs.
  • These new measures will give Veterans and releasing CAF personnel the ability to apply for internally posted positions, and give qualified Veterans preference over other candidates in external hiring processes. Candidates must be qualified to perform the jobs they are pursuing.
  • On average, each year, approximately 7,600 Canadian Armed Forces Regular and Reserve Force personnel leave the military, including approximately 1,000 who medically release.
  • The average age of CAF Regular and Reserve Force personnel at release is 37.
  • Through the Vocational Rehabilitation Program, injured Veterans can get financial assistance of up to $75,800 to help them re-train for new career opportunities.
  • Veterans taking part in VAC’s vocational or rehabilitation programs may receive the Earnings Loss Benefit, which ensures a Veteran will continue to receive a fair income while they focus on their health or or re-training.


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Designers shortlisted for Canal Fallen Workers Memorial
Feb 28, 2014 at 01:50 PM

St. Catharines, ON - The Design Selection Panel of the Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial Task Force is pleased to announce that it has chosen a short list of four designers for the memorial.

A total of 31 submissions were received by the panel, which were evaluated according to how well they met the design submission.

One of the following four design firms will be chosen to design the Fallen Workers Memorial:

Eldon Garnet is a public sculptor, a photo based artist and writer based in Toronto. He has taught at the Ontario College of Design and the University of Toronto. His 25-year career has included public acclaim for works such as The Chinese Railroad Workers Memorial in downtown Toronto, which incorporates two bronze figures, a railroad trestle and a landscape of large stones.

The Dereck Revington Studio includes artists and architects experienced in the design of cultural buildings, public art, landscapes and memorials. Their public art project The Luminous Veil graces the sides of the Prince Edward Viaduct in Toronto, and is made of steel, wood and limestone. It will be expanded in time for the opening of the Pan Am Games to include a light installation, The Luminous Gateway, to transform the bridge at night.

Muse Atelier is comprised of Jacqueline Metz and Nancy Chew from Vancouver. Their work in the public realm is made of diverse materials, from light-emitting diodes and video to granite, steel and glass. Their Calgary Police Officers and Firefighters Tribute Plaza transformed an area of downtown Calgary and created a perfect setting for ceremonies, personal tributes and community encounters.

Reinhard Reitzenstein of Grimsby and Wilk Associates Landscape Architect Ltd. of Toronto have worked together on several highly successful projects that merged landscape, art and the
natural environment. With 40 years of experience as an artist and a career respected across

Canada, Reitzenstein’s work with Wilk on the Kernaston Gardens Park and Distant Bridge projects in Toronto are celebrated by the local communities they have transformed with plant
materials, stone, bronze and their combined artistic and landscape skill sets.

The Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial Task Force was formed to find an appropriate way to commemorate the 130 workers who lost their lives during the construction of the Welland Canal.

More information on the task force can be found here:

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Government of Canada Introduces Legislation to Protect Children from Predators and Exploitation
Feb 27, 2014 at 02:46 PM

Ministers MacKay and Blaney Table Legislation Geared at Crimes Against Children

In support of the Government of Canada’s commitment to standing up for victims of crime, Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, introduced comprehensive legislation to better protect children from a range of sexual offences and exploitation at home and abroad.

These nine new measures, introduced in the House of Commons today, reflect the government’s commitment in the 2013 Speech from the Throne to re-establish Canada as a country where those who break the law are punished for their actions, where prison time matches the severity of crimes committed, and where the most vulnerable victims – children – are better protected.

The legislation includes nine key measures:

  • Requiring those receiving separate sentences at the same time for contact child sexual offences against multiple children to serve their sentences consecutively– one after another;
  • Requiring those sentenced at the same time for child pornography offences and contact child sexual offences to serve their sentences consecutively;
  • Increasing maximum and minimum prison sentences for certain child sexual offences;
  • Increasing penalties for violation of conditions of supervision orders;
  • Ensuring that a crime committed while on house arrest, parole, statutory release or unescorted temporary absence is an aggravating factor at sentencing;
  • Ensuring that spousal testimony is available in child pornography cases;
  • Requiring registered sex offenders to provide more information regarding travel abroad;
  • Enabling information-sharing on certain registered sex offenders between officials responsible for the National Sex Offender Registry and at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA); and
  • Establishing a publicly accessible database of high-risk child sex offenders who have been the subject of a public notification in a provincial/territorial jurisdiction to assist in ensuring the safety of our communities.


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