Federal job cuts could be higher than projected

The Public Service Alliance of Canada says to expect more than the 19,200 job losses forecast in last week's federal budget, as the Union of National Defence Employees says about 1,100 civilian positions are being eliminated.

National Defence hit first with 1,100 civilian job losses; Health Canada to lose at least 840

Members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada demonstrate outside their offices to support all Canadians who depend on public service in Ottawa on March 1, 2012. The union says there could be more cuts than just the 19,200 projected in the budget. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Canadians should expect more federal job cuts than the 19,200 the government forecast in last week's budget, the union that represents most federal public-sector employees said Wednesday.

Patty Ducharme, national executive vice-president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, says there are temporary employees whose jobs will be eliminated, and there are still cuts from previous budget freezes to take into account.

There are still 6,300 jobs to be cut from the strategic and operating reviews from 2007 to 2010, plus "thousands and thousands of term employees who will not see their terms renewed," Ducharme said.

Ducharme says the union is asking the government to tell Canadians which services will be affected by the cuts.

"The government has this information and we’re asking the government to provide this information to Canadians," she said.

Those cuts could affect services like food safety inspection, she said, pointing to smaller budgets at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Public Safety Canada and Transport Canada.

"All of those departments and agencies do work for Canadians that is regulatory in nature and with significant decreases in their agency and departmental budgets, there will be less inspections done on behalf of Canadians in their day-to-day lives," Ducharme said."

The union also says small and medium-sized businesses that depend on public servants as customers will also lose out.

About 19,200 civil servants are expected to lose their jobs in the aftermath of the federal budget, which seeks to save Ottawa $5.2 billion.

Some workers will be given the option of leaving on their own, while others could be reassigned to different posts.

National Defence to lose 1,100 civilian jobs

The axe has already started to fall, with the Union of National Defence Employees (UNDE) reporting around 1,100 civilian positions are being eliminated. The losses will be felt across the country, from military bases to reserve sites.

Union president John MacLennan said everything from research and development to food services is on the chopping block.

The Defence Department took a big hit in last week's federal budget, and was told it will need to slash over $1.1 billion in spending over the next three years.

But the government has also committed to keeping the size of Canada's regular and reserve fighting force intact.

So MacLennan said if the military isn't going to shrink and no bases are going to close, the cuts raise the question of who is going to do all the work still needed to support soldiers.

He added soldiers would fill that void.

The cuts at defence come a day after an auditor general's report accused the department of misleading Parliament on the true multi-billion-dollar cost of new fighter jets.

Half of cuts to army

Of the cuts hitting UNDE members, 175 are from bases across Ontario, with an additional 153 in the National Capital Region of Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Another 345 come from Quebec, outside of Gatineau. British Columbia will lose 41 jobs, Alberta another 191, and 10 in Manitoba, including two in Thunder Bay, Ont., which reports to Manitoba.

Nova Scotia will lose 62 people and New Brunswick 115. St. John's, N.L., will lose one job.

About a fifth of the cuts, or 234 out of 1,093, hit Defence Research and Development Canada, an agency of National Defence. The army is losing 585 jobs and the Royal Canadian Navy 12.

The Royal Canadian Air Force is untouched in this round, although some jobs with the navy and air force have already been eliminated through attrition.

Special forces are losing seven support personnel, public affairs is losing 38 people and human resources 217.

Health Canada to lose 840 or more positions

At least 840 positions will be eliminated at Health Canada, sources have told CBC News following a department meeting Wednesday.

Employees may get more details about the cuts as soon as next week.

There are few details on which areas will be affected at Health Canada.

As well, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada said Tuesday that 400 of its members had received notices that they could be cut.

The letters went to some staff at National Defence and the Public Service Commission of Canada, as well as to the economic development agencies for the Atlantic, the West, Quebec and southern Ontario.

With files from the Canadian Press