Parks Canada reneged on Human Rights deal, says ex-worker

A former employee at Kouchibouguac National Park says he was laid off, despite an agreement reached with the help of the Human Rights Commission.

Robert Robichaud says negotiated settlement guaranteed him work every summer, but he was laid off

A former employee at Kouchibouguac National Park says Parks Canada is not living up to an agreement reached through the Human Rights Commission and he is about to "lose everything."

Robert Robichaud, 57, says he was laid off, despite a negotiated settlement that guaranteed him work every summer.

In 2004, Robichaud filed a complaint to the Human Rights Commission over the way he had been treated by Parks Canada management.

He claims that under the terms of the agreement, Parks Canada was supposed to hire him every summer for a minimum of 14 weeks — enough for him to qualify for employment insurance.

"I was glad because I got a family and I got bills like everybody and I kept working and I was real happy," he said.

Robichaud says he worked every summer as a maintenance employee until last fall.

But this summer, Parks Canada refused to hire him and his employment insurance runs out this month, he said.

"I don't know how we're going to make it. I got a $400 payment on my house, electricity in the winter is $300, that's $700. My wife works, she gets about $650 every two weeks. What's left for us to eat? I'm going to lose everything," said Robichaud.

"Right now, I'm going to lose my car, my house, lose everything. I got a 16-year-old kid that's going to stop going to school to try to get some work at the shop so he can work to help us feed ourselves."

Parks Canada officials did not respond to a request for an interview.

Robichaud said he sent his file to the Parks Canada headquarters, but has not received any acknowledgement.

He said he tried to get a lawyer, but can't afford one.

Now he's trying to get a member of Parliament to take up his case.