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Lieutenant-Colonel (Honorary) Yves Desjardins-Siciliano
Montréal , Quebec

Mr. Yves Desjardins-Siciliano is a first generation Canadian,  joined Via Rail Canada in 2010, and was theChief Executive Officer from May 2014 to May2019. He is a proud supporter of Veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members. One of his first initiatives as Chief Executive Officer to help Canadian troops, Veterans and their families was to institute a 25% rebate on all travel across VIA Rail Canada’s network. Since 2010, over 250,000 trips have been made by members of the military and Veteran community.

Mr. Desjardins-Siciliano’s biggest commitment, however, is advancing employment opportunities for Veterans and reservists. This initiative has impacted the quality of life of Veterans, providing them with greater employment opportunities resulting in a better transition to civilian life. With a starting point of only six military personnel and Veterans as part of VIA Rail’s workforce in 2014, he set out to recruit 7% of all new employees from Veteran and reservist communities. He educated his own civilian staff on the importance and benefits of recruiting Veterans and directed that better employee benefits and leave packages be provided to reservists. As a result of his hard work, leadership and dedication, the number of employees from the military and Veteran community has grown tenfold, reaching 70 employees in less than three years.

Mr. Desjardins-Siciliano has also instituted a partnership program to help Veteran organizations that require transport services. To date, VIA has partnered with over 40 organizations, such as Wounded Warriors Canada, Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur and the Canadian Institute of Military and Veterans Health Research, that have benefited from VIA transport to help Veterans to attend a multitude of services whether for health, professional training, support or commemorative services.

He also partnered with the Invictus Games Toronto 2017, providing transportation for the Canadian athletes, games staff and their families. During the same time period, he personally presided the Montréal 375th Anniversary Military Ball, which raised more than $200,000 for the Montréal Region Military Family Resource Centre.

Since 2014 Mr. Desjardins-Siciliano has also partnered with the Royal Canadian Legion by including his committed staff in distributing 30,000 poppies on board trains during Veterans’ Week, helping raise much needed funds for the Royal Canadian Legion’s Poppy Campaign

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