Breaking New Ground—Stories from Defence Construction Breaking_new_ground - Page 52

In March 1967, changes resulting from DND’s unification prompted Treasury Board to ask DND to review DCL’s existence. The resulting review concluded that objectives of the 1965 MOU were being met, and that—with some minor exceptions—DCL was carrying out its functions efficiently and effectively. Most important, the study team concluded that “based on its efficient and effective operation and estimated annual workload, Defence Construction (1951) Limited should retain its status as a Crown corporation reporting to the Minister of National Defence.” The flexibility of the Crown corporation was utilized to its full extent. There was a core of continuing employees and term employees to suit the workload, with everyone in the company subject to the 30-days-notice policy regarding termination. Yet, there were many employees who continued with the company year after year. There were transfers, secondments and special projects. Some people left for a few years, only to return later and continue to serve with renewed vigour. Joe Bland’s sense of fairness extended to the employees. DCL was often quite demanding of its staff, but social benefits were kept in line with those of the Public Service and in some respects ahead of them: for instance, DCL was one of the first government agencies to have a dental plan. Meanwhile, back at Head Office As the 1960s progressed, the volume of defence construction projects dropped, and so too did the need for many of DCL’s staff. This had begun in the late 1950s with a slimmed-down DCL sitting at about 170 On a lighter note, DCL did require of its employees a people, and it continued into the 1960s. To maintain the certain amount of paperwork to back up the trust it highest numbers of staff possible and to use the staff to placed in them. the best advantage, DCL began to look at other ways to use—and therefore keep—its personnel resources. Offering proof… Ottawa, 1960s—Terry Kelly Joe Bland explained the concept: I remember an incident from years ago, when some work was being done on a runway at Portage la Prairie. In addition to handling DND requirements, DCL embarked Ralph Burns, who was at that time in charge of supplies on a program of selling its services to others and loaning for the company, received a request for a new level rod. people to other government departments and the private The old one had apparently been run over by an aircraft. sector. Two of our important new clients were the To make the request, the Regional Office sent Ralph a Canadian Corporation for the World Exhibition at Montreal picture of the broken rod lying on the ground. A “P.S.” (Expo 67) with our old friends, Bob Shaw and Col. was included—“the rod man got away.” Ed Churchill, and [later, in the 1970s] the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), particularly Terry Kelly began his career with DCL in 1960, and in the Caribbean. By the way, those Caribbean projects was Vice-President of Operations and Chief Engineer at were by no means the holiday that some thought. It is of Head Office in Ottawa (when he retired in 1993). interest that, as a result of this ‘sales’ program, DCL’s cons