An agricultural research centre in Winnipeg will be shut down as part of a massive wave of federal budget cuts that could affect 775 public-sector jobs across the Prairie provinces.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada says it has been advised that the Cereal Research Centre, an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research facility that studies cereal grains, will be closed.

"The Cereal Research Centre that's at the University of Manitoba, that's closing down completely," Robyn Benson, PSAC's regional executive vice-president in the Prairies, told CBC News on Wednesday.

"So that will be approximately 100 of our members that will either have to be relocated or will actually lose their job."

The Cereal Research Centre studies wheat and oat breeding, as well as improving the quality of cereal grains, including their ability to resist diseases and pest insects, according to its website.

Also being closed down in Winnipeg is a federal Citizenship and Immigration Department office that will be relocated to Calgary, Benson said.

PSAC officials said 5,561 of its members across Canada, in 23 government departments, received notices on Wednesday saying they could lose their jobs.

About 775 of the affected positions are in the Prairies, according to the public-sector union. Those include:

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food: 385 positions (689 across Canada).
  • Health Canada: 95 positions (715 across Canada).
  • Public Health Agency of Canada: 88 (483 across Canada).
  • Citizenship and Immigration: 65 (339 across Canada).
  • Veterans Affairs: 46 (261 across Canada).
  • Department of Economic Diversification: 30 (45 across Canada).

Benson said the federal budget cuts will affect everyone, not just those who may lose their jobs.

"Well, as Manitobans, we won't be doing research now for seed and grain," she said.

"As Manitobans you will be waiting longer for your employment insurance. As Manitobans, you'll be waiting longer for your Old Age Security."