Nfld. & Labrador

More budget fallout as N.L. government announces closure of 10 rural offices

Fallout from Thursday's provincial budget continued Friday with an announcement that 10 government offices in rural Newfoundland and Labrador are being closed.
Newfoundland and Labrador Finance Minister Cathy Bennett answers questions about the budget on April 14. (CBC)

Fallout from Thursday's provincial budget continued Friday with an announcement that 10 government offices in rural Newfoundland and Labrador are being closed.

They include Advanced Education and Skills offices in Baie Verte, Bonavista, Mary's Harbour, Bell Island, Norris Point, Twillingate, Hopedale and Nain.

All offices will be closed within 30 days.

Child, Youth and Family Services offices in Gambo and Port Saunders will also close at the end of the day on May 31.

The number of employees affected by the closures was not disclosed in a news release issued late Friday afternoon.

According to the Advanced Education and Skills website, the department has 750 staff working in 26 communities around the province, with half of those located in the St. John's region.

It appears that job losses related to the office closures announced Friday are included in the 200 core government positions eliminated in Thursday's budget.

Budget documents released Thursday alluded to office closures, with details to be released after affected employees were notified.

Finance Minister Cathy Bennett said the choices were not easy.

"We committed to the people of the province to be open and transparent, and today we are continuing that commitment by releasing the locations of government offices that are closing as a result of the provincial budget," Bennett stated in a news release.

"We respect our staff and did not want to disclose the location until all impacted employees were notified. That notification has now taken place. We also want to ensure that we do not place undue stress and worry on the public service."

The Department of Advanced Education and Skills provides financial supports, career counselling, training allowances, wage subsidies and disaster relief. 

A spokesperson said Minister Gerry Byrne was travelling Friday and not available for comment.

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