Pending job cuts at the Ministry of Natural Resources will be offset by future hirings, according to an MNR spokespserson.
In an e-mail to CBC News, senior media relations officer Jolanta Kowalski said nine jobs will be cut in Thunder Bay, however reorganization in the coming months will see the filling of new as well as vacant positions — and will result in a net increase of 15 MNR staff in Thunder Bay by next year.
According to the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, the ministry announced Tuesday it will cut 102 jobs in 24 district offices across Ontario, including administrative support staff, digital mapping staff, regulatory compliance staff, foresters and biologists. But the union said it also announced plans to hire for 250 jobs in regional and district offices.
OPSEU's list of MNR cuts in northern Ontario
Northeast: Chapleau (3), Cochrane (2), Hearst (2), Kirkland Lake (4), North Bay (6), Sault Ste. Marie (2 in Sault Ste. Marie + 1 in Blind River), Sudbury (4 in Sudbury + 1 in Espanola) Timmins (2) and Wawa (3). For a total of 30 lay offs. Further, a total of 13 field staff in Espanola, Gogama and Manitouwadge area offices are to be relocated.
Northwest: Dryden: (7), Fort Frances (2), Kenora (3), Red Lake (2), Sioux Lookout (2) and Thunder Bay (7). For a total of 23 lay offs. Field staff from Terrace Bay work centre are to be relocated.
Kowalski’s statement may have a positive spin, however Dryden’s mayor said the loss of seven jobs at the local ministry office will hurt his community.
Craig Nuttall said he doesn't blame the province for trying to cut costs, but he said the change will be tough on the community and on individual families.
"Loss of any jobs will affect us because, number one, these are permanent jobs that they're cutting and you always hate to see families rooted up and go somewhere and lose their jobs," he said.
The MNR has said its transformation plan — announced in the 2012 budget — will see more planning and decision-making done from regional offices.
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union said the cuts across Ontario include nine foresters and four biologists. However the government plans to hire for 250 jobs, including a combination of new and vacant positions in regional and district offices. Many of the vacancies are the result of more than 130 OPSEU members taking a government buyout package that's available only in ministries that are downsizing, the union stated.