Parks Canada job cuts leaves P.E.I. workers shaken
Some Parks Canada workers are still in shock, one day after hearing their jobs will be eliminated.
Public Service Alliance of Canada represents the 90 workers on P.E.I. The union says about a third were affected. Sixteen positions were eliminated and 16 were changed from full-time to seasonal.
Parks Canada oversees and runs programs at Prince Edward Island National Park and national historic sites across the province.
Visits to national parks and historic sites across the country dropped seven per cent over the past five years.
The cuts come as Parks Canada tries to get those numbers to increase.
Parks Canada will now focus its spending on busy periods, which could shorten the season for some parks and sites, according to Adam Sweet, spokesman for Environment Minister Peter Kent.
"The seasonality of their workforce will also be adjusted to reflect changed work requirements in areas such as visitor services, resource conservation, and asset management." Sweet said.
The cuts are devastating to more than just parks workers, according to Eddie Kennedy, PSAC national vice-president.
Small businesses in the park areas make money from visitors.
"The bed and breakfast, the restaurants, the motels. If the season closes, that's a fragile industry; sometimes one to two weeks shortening of their season could cause them to go under," he said.
It's unclear what the cuts will mean for the upcoming season at P.E.I. National Park and historic sites on the Island.