Parks Canada hit hard as Ottawa doles out nearly 4,000 job notices

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

St. Lawrence National Park (Parks Canada)

Canadians will face shorter seasons at national parks and historic sites according to public service union leaders who say Parks Canada has been particularly hard hit by federal spending cuts.

Monday is proving to be another big day of staffing cuts as departments continue to roll out the details of how Ottawa will eliminate 19,200 positions in an effort to save $5.2-billion a year.

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The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) - the largest union of federal public servants - told reporters that 3,872 of its members across 10 departments received notices Monday that they could lose their jobs.

Public servants who receive these “affected” notices won’t necessarily lose their jobs. However some departments did inform workers that they have been declared “surplus,” which means their jobs are definitely being eliminated. Surplus employees can still take advantage of various programs that could help them find another federal government job.

While the job numbers still leave many questions unanswered, the totals and their locations do give a sense of what programs and services are being cut.

-At Parks Canada, 1,689 PSAC members received affected notices and staff were told that 638 positions will be eliminated.

According to the union, the affected Parks Canada workers include scientists, engineers, technicians, mechanics, carpenters and program managers. Further, seasonal workers are being told their seasons and hours of work will be shortened.

Union leaders warn this will hurt small businesses who cater to tourists visiting national parks, sites and canal systems.

-At Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, 908 PSAC members received notices. The union says the cuts will affect several programs, including the aboriginal affairs directorate, the employment program for persons with disabilities, the workplace partnership directorate and the temporary foreign worker directorate within the skills and employment branch.

Union leaders said the cuts to workforce programs contradict the government’s recent claims that it is working to address Canada’s labour skills shortages.

-At Transport Canada, union leaders say airport and marine security will be sacrificed as 180 PSAC members received notices. An expected eight positions will be eliminated at marine security operations centres. The union said 11 air security inspectors received notices Monday whose work essentially involves “double checking” airport security.

-The department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development sent notices to 490 PSAC members, but the union said little additional information was provided.

- At Statistics Canada, 273 PSAC members received notices that their positions will be eliminated.

- At Library and Archives Canada, 235 PSAC members received notices and 105 positions are expected to be eliminated.

-At Correctional Services Canada, 17 inmate rights and redress workers received notices. John Edmunds, the Union of Solicitor General Employees, warned that prisons become more dangerous when prisoners do not feel their concerns are being heard.

Federal departments do not issue news releases after informing staff about cuts. As a result, the first details of spending cuts routinely emerge from public sector unions. Some departments have at times provided additional detail after unions have made this information public, while others have declined to provide this information.

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