N.S. drug dogs getting pink slips in job cuts
Posted: Apr 12, 2012 9:28 PM AT
Last Updated: Apr 12, 2012 11:03 PM AT
Dozens of employees at the Canada Border Services Agency are among the latest federal workers in Halifax to receive notices that their jobs are on the line.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada said 26 employees at the Canada Border Services Agency got notices on Thursday. The agency is also losing two dogs used to sniff out drugs, explosives and other contraband material.
Bret, 6, and Griffin, 7, are the two Halifax-based Labrador retrievers whose handlers were notified their jobs will be eliminated.
Brett Evans, the president of the Nova Scotia branch of the Customs and Immigration Union, said the canine teams have boarded ships at ports in Halifax, Sydney and Port Hawkesbury and help screen thousands of containers entering the agency's facility in Burnside.
"We have lost an important tool in our daily battle to keep our streets safe. This is our national security we are talking about," Evans said in a statement.
He said the dogs will likely be permanently adopted by their handlers.
Jeannie Baldwin, the Atlantic Canada vice-president for the Public Service Alliance of Canada, said more bad news is on the way.
"This government is making decisions having never worked in an office or a federal government building," she said.
"They have no idea the programs and services that we deliver and the impact it's going to have on Canadians and it's going to be devastating."
Baldwin said news of the cuts at various federal government departments are pouring in, with hundreds of workers across Atlantic Canada already receiving notices that their jobs may be affected.
More cuts coming, says union
Once an employee receives a notice, a process kicks in that could see the person moved to another position within the department or to a different department within the government.
Not everyone who receives a notice will lose employment.
But Baldwin said the sheer size of the cuts is making the process of relocating employees difficult.
"People haven't received their notices for Canadian Heritage or Parks. Even with the Canadian Revenue Agency, we know there are cuts there," she said.
"There's still a lot of workforce adjustment letters that have not been issued yet."
Earlier this week, 34 workers at the Public Works and Government Services Canada — where federal cheques are currently printed — were told the facility will close in September.
"Some people are very angry," said Lori Walton of the Government Services Union.
"They don't understand why this decision was made on closing down this whole site, as opposed to maybe looking at each of the three print production sites across Canada and trying to find ways to make it more efficient."
The federal government is aiming to eliminate 19,200 federal public service positions across the country, saving $5.2 billion annually.
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