Ottawa warns of further job reductions

Close to 1,500 public servants receive notices

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OTTAWA -- Hundreds more federal government jobs appear to be on the chopping block.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/09/2012 (3672 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

OTTAWA — Hundreds more federal government jobs appear to be on the chopping block.

Nearly 1,500 people working at Human Resources and Social Development Canada received notices Thursday warning them their jobs could be in jeopardy, two unions representing civil servants said.

And just hours after the notices went out, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the creation of a committee that will look at making even deeper cuts.

Darren Calabrese / Postmedia News archives Nycole Turmel: 'Conservative attack against services Canadians rely on'

“The subcommittee will work to determine if there are any additional, common-sense improvements to be made in government,” Harper said in a statement. “This is an example of our government’s commitment to spending Canadian taxpayers’ money responsibly by looking for potentially unnecessary expenses.”

The subcommittee will be headed by Treasury Board president Tony Clement and is mandated to “consider proposals on whole-of-government opportunities for improved efficiency and effectiveness.”

About 900 of those impacted are members of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, while the remainder fall under the umbrella of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

PSAC said another 149 RCMP employees have also been told they could be losing their jobs.

“This is another sad day for our members and a troubling day for Canadians across the country,” said PSAC executive vice-president Chris Aylward.

“Hundreds more workers and their families are being handed an uncertain future, and Canadians across the country will inevitably be affected by service cuts.”

Most of those affected at Human Resources are stationed in the Ottawa region and include medical adjudicators, nurses who determine eligibility for CPP disability benefits and information technology specialists.

About two dozen IT specialists working with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada in Manitoba were among those warned they might be losing their jobs.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada said 14 of the IT workers it represents with HRSDC received notice Thursday, all but one of them in Winnipeg. There was also one in Brandon. The Public Service Alliance of Canada also had 13 of its members in Manitoba, also with IT services, given notices.

Notices warn employees they may lose their jobs, but there is no word on exactly how many will be laid off.

Of the 149 RCMP workers given notices, it’s not clear how many, if any, are in Manitoba. The potential RCMP cuts are spread across the country and affect forensic lab workers, police-officer recruiters and clerical staff.

Employees who support the administration of employment insurance, old age security, the guaranteed income supplement, the Canada Pension Plan and child-care benefits are also impacted.

Since the 2012 budget, which warned of the federal government’s forthcoming effort to reduce the size of the civil service, more than 18,000 PSAC members have received notices they could lose their jobs, the union said.

The Conservatives insisted Thursday the general public won’t notice the cuts and many of the affected employees will likely be reassigned.

“HRSDC is reducing duplication and unnecessary administration within the internal IT division,” Alyson Queen, the director of communications for Human Resources Minister Diane Finley, said in an email. “The number of letters sent to IT staff… is not an indication of positions being reduced.”

The changes announced Thursday to employees “do not affect front-line services to Canadians,” she added.

But there are already clear indications government cuts are hurting those who need services the most, said New Democrat MP Nycole Turmel, who used to lead the PSAC. A couple of years ago, employment-insurance payments to first-time recipients were delivered in about two weeks, but are now taking weeks longer to reach those who have lost their jobs, she said.

“This is the latest Conservative attack against services Canadians rely on,” said Turmel.

The latest round of cuts is the second this year for workers at Human Resources. More than 5,000 employees have received so-called “affected” notices from the department, PIPSC said.

 

— The Canadian Press

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