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Press Release

PSAC calls for transparency on service cuts as thousands more federal workers are told they could lose their jobs

Canada NewsWire

OTTAWA, June 27, 2012 /CNW/ - Canada's largest federal public sector union says that 3,889 of its members in 13 departments are being told today they could lose their jobs.

"This government is misleading Canadians when it says these cuts won't impact services we all rely on," said PSAC's national president Robyn Benson. "We need Stephen Harper and his Ministers to stop hiding behind spin and start talking to all Canadians about the services we are losing."

The union says it is frustrated at the lack of information being provided about what these job cuts are going to mean for services.

"The departments are telling us very little about what programs and services are being cut, and they aren't telling the public either," said Benson. "We worry that Canadians aren't going to know what services and programs are being eliminated until they are gone."

Since the federal budget was tabled on March 29, 2012, 16,873 PSAC members in 44 federal government departments and agencies have been told they could lose their jobs.

The government can and should respond to requests from the Parliamentary Budget Officer for information on the nature and scope of cuts to services and programs that Canadians rely on.

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada: HRSDC is hardest hit, with 1,964 PSAC members being told today they could lose their jobs, adding to the 1,022 PSAC members in that department who received notices in April. Of those receiving notices today about 1,450 work for Service Canada. Very little information has been provided to PSAC's component, the Canada Employment and Immigration Union, about what programs are being cut or how services to the public will be affected. Cuts to Service Canada are especially troubling as it is impossible that frontline services won't be affected with the jobs of so many of its 23,000 employees in question.

As per changes announced in the budget bill around the appeals process for the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and Employment Insurance, it is anticipated that all the PSAC members working in the Office of the Commissioner of Review Tribunals, Pension Appeals Board, the EI Board of Referees and the EI Office of the Umpire are among those receiving notices today. These changes are seriously compromising access to fair appeals for more vulnerable Canadians, including people with disabilities, seniors and the unemployed.

Canada Revenue Agency: 671 PSAC members who work at the CRA are being told today they could lose their jobs. The agency has told PSAC's component, the Union of Taxation Employees, that 399 of these positions will be eliminated. It appears that frontline public services are being hit hard, with the closure of all cash and enquiry counters providing in-person services. The public will now have to navigate the CRA's website or wait in a phone queue for service. 20 jobs are being eliminated at the National Forms Call Centre in Winnipeg which means fewer employees will be available to respond to questions. Enforcement work is being consolidated, meaning some workers are being relocated. The consolidation of management positions means some administration support staff positions are being eliminated. The agency has told the union that no Tax Service Offices or Tax Centres are closing at this time.

Department of Justice: 483 PSAC members are being told they could lose their jobs in the Department of Justice today, adding to 35 members who were served notices in April. It isn't known how many positions are being eliminated. PSAC's component, the Union of Solicitor General Employees, is concerned that many communications and information workers appear to be affected, which will mean less people available to answer queries from the public. Library services workers also seem to be among those affected, raising concerns about the department's library system. Records management workers who handle ATIP requests are also affected, which may affect the department's capacity to respond to requests.

Department of National Defence: 299 PSAC members at DND are being told they could lose their jobs, adding to the 1,124 who received notices in April.

Department of Transport: 147 PSAC members at Transport Canada are being told they could lose their jobs, adding to the 213 workers who received notices in April. Out of today's notices, 107 positions are being eliminated. Notices are going to all regional Health and Safety Advisors who were recently hired to help bring the department into compliance with federal Health and Safety legislation. Notices are also going to 12 technical inspectors responsible for marine safety and security, one automotive inspection technologist and a civil aviation airworthiness inspector who works with the top five commercial airlines operating in Canada. Other notices are going to communication specialists and administrative workers.

Department of Fisheries and Oceans: 97 PSAC members at DFO are being told today that they could lose their jobs, adding to the 598 who received notices in April. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will substantially reduce the number of Habitat Offices where there is a Habitat Program. Offices that stay open will no longer have Habitat employees; however, functions related to fisheries will remain at these offices.  The Habitat Program will move to a more centralized delivery by consolidating the program into 15 locations as opposed to its current 63.

Canada School of Public Service: 72 PSAC members are receiving notices today, out of which 35 positions will be eliminated. Most of the surplus notices are in the Corporate Management and Registration Services Branch and some are within the Strategic Directions, Program Development and Marketing Branch. Overall, the cuts are affecting the ability of the school to provide information to managers for strategic purposes and long-term planning.

Public Works and Government Services Canada: At PWGSC, 60 PSAC members are receiving notices today saying they could lose their jobs. The department says that 45 of those positions will be outright eliminated. These numbers are in addition to 87 PSAC members who received notices in April. Many of the reductions are the result of the creation of Shared Services Canada: PWGSC is refocusing its remaining IT staff on providing support inside the department instead of providing support to other departments. Budget cuts in other departments have also meant cancellation of MOUs with PWSGC, leading to cuts of jobs that existed to support programs that have been cut.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada: 57 PSAC members are being told they could lose their jobs, adding to the 459 members in this department who received notices in April. All of the positions affected today are located in the National Capital Region.

Notices are also being distributed at Environment Canada today, where 23 members who work in Montreal's Biosphere are being told they could lose their jobs; nine members were handed notices at Infrastructure Canada, six at Correctional Services Canada, and one member is affected at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

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