On May 9th, Canada will be remembering the efforts and sacrifices of those who served in Afghanistan through the country’s first National Day of Honour. Led by the National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, the Ceremony will take place in Ottawa and begins with a military parade from the Canadian War Museum to Parliament Hill, followed by two minutes of silence, a fly-by salute and a viewing of the Afghanistan Memorial Vigil in the Hall of Honour on Parliament Hill.
Leading up to the National Ceremony is the six-day Soldier On Afghanistan Relay (SOAR). The final leg of the relay ends on May 9th at Parliament Hill, in time for the main event. SOAR is a relay to recognize those who fought in Afghanistan, remember those who fell, and salute all who contributed to the ten-year mission. During this relay, select ill and injured members from the Soldier On program will carry the last Canadian flag flown in Kabul, Afghanistan from Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario to the National Day of Honour parade in Ottawa.
VIA Rail takes pride in its ongoing collaboration with the Canadian Military. By offering travel credit, we are able to support events such as SOAR, organizations like Vimy Foundation and True Patriot Love, and contribute prizes to the Canadian Armed Forces Photography Contest. VIA Rail also started a special program offering a discounted fare for military personnel, veterans and their families. Since its launch in 2010, over 88,000 have taken advantage of the program.
We salute all those participating in the relay, as well as the National Ceremony. To learn more about the day’s events, you can visit the Government of Canada’s National Day of Honour webpage.
This week marks Operation Lifesaver’s Public-Rail Safety Week. This year’s theme, “See Tracks? Think Train!” says it all. We must all be vigilant around train tracks, and respect the rules of the railway.
Every year, VIA Rail participates in this important event, in which volunteers engage in various activities to teach the public about railway safety. This year, the Minister of Transport, Lisa Raitt, marked the launch of Public-Rail Safety Week with a few key messages.
Transport Canada and Operation Lifesaver have great websites with important information and tips to raise awareness about safety around railways. As a quick reminder, here are a few tips about crossing a railway, taken from Ministry of Transportation, Ontario’s website:
Railway crossing safety tips
- As you come to a crossing, slow down, listen and look both ways before crossing the tracks.
- If a train is coming, stop at least five metres from the nearest rail or gate. Do not cross the track until you are sure the train or trains have passed.
- Never race a train to the crossing. Do not cross the track until you are sure the train or trains have passed. If there are signals, wait until they stop flashing and, if the crossing has a barrier, wait until it rises before you cross. Never drive around, under or through a railway gate while it is down or is being lowered or raised. Never stop on the tracks.
The webpage, with more information about railway crossings can visited at http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/topics/X-crossing.shtml
To participate in Operation Lifesaver activities, please visit OL’s website for more information: www.operationlifesaver.ca, and for a visual and informative view on level crossing incident trends over the past few years, have a look at this important infographic, prepared by Operation Lifesaver.
For your and everyone’s safety, please remember to respect crossing signals at all times. Do not attempt to cross a railroad track when the warning devices are activated, regardless of the inconvenience it may cause.
When it comes to learning, practical experience is as essential as theoretical knowledge. For some students, Dawson College’s Annual Bilingual Business Administration CASE Competition is one way to put their knowledge to the test. VIA Rail analysts, Ryan Lee and Nicholas Mackenzie, were part of the jury that met on April 6th, where finalists from 17 Cegeps, divided into 24 groups of three, took part in this exciting marketing and business competition.
VIA Rail employees not only sat on the jury, they also provided the marketing case study for the event. If you think they took it easy on the group of amateurs, think again. Students were asked to develop a short-term strategic plan and creative marketing plan to help VIA Rail meet the growing competition and demographic changes, while stimulating a train culture among young Canadians.
In less than three hours, the teams had to learn as much as possible about VIA Rail, analyze, assess and solve the business case, and prepare a marketing plan in the form of a 20 minute PowerPoint presentation. This was followed by a five-minute question period during which the jury quizzed the teams’ research, their plans and their understanding of the topic.
At this year’s competition, teams from Lionel-Groulx College and Cégep André-Laurendeau tied for first place. Jury members were impressed by the presentations, to say the least! VIA Rail’s Ryan Lee and Nicholas Mackenzie were blown away by the high quality work of participants. Not only did students benefit from the competition, the jury members felt rejuvenated as well, “What the students gave us in return, by means of their youthful energy, their bold idealism and their unquenchable thirst for excellence, was priceless”, beamed Ryan Lee.
Dawson College also took the opportunity to present VIA Rail with the Organization of the Year award, which honours the corporation for its “exceptional leadership, exemplary customer service and employee relations”.
VIA Rail was proud to participate in this initiative, where young professionals connect and learn through real case studies. Congratulations to the winner and to all participants, we are sure we’ll be seeing more from these talented young students in the years to come.