Parks Canada hit by latest federal job cuts

Another 3,872 public servants were told they may lose their jobs today as the government released the next round of notices to 10 departments and agencies.

Almost 3,900 notices go out warning federal workers in 10 departments could lose their jobs

The latest round of federal job notices includes Parks Canada, which operates historic sites and national parks such as Banff. (Submitted by Dean Kagawa)

Another 3,872 public servants were told Monday they may lose their jobs as the government released the latest round of notices to 10 departments and agencies.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada says Parks Canada is the hardest hit, with 1,689 affected notices going to the agency that runs national historic sites and national parks, including Jasper and Banff.

That could mean shorter seasons and fewer jobs in small communities, union spokespeople said.

Not all those who get affected notices will lose their jobs — the notices mean they are part of a unit that will see cuts, and are at risk of being laid off. In Parks Canada, for example, 638 jobs have been declared surplus. But it could be months before staff find out whose jobs are safe.

The affected workers include people at national historic sites and national parks, the union said in a press release. Parks Canada's website shows 42 national parks, 167 department-administered national historic sites and four national marine conservation areas in the country.

Staff across the country are getting affected notices.

  • British Columbia: 106 staff.
  • Prairies: 299 staff.
  • The North: 65 staff.
  • Ontario: 396 staff.
  • National Capital Region (Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.): 115 staff.
  • Quebec: 300 staff.
  • The Atlantic: 408 staff.

A spokesman for Parks Canada's staff union said there will be 13 jobs cut in Banff and 21 staff will work a shortened season, going from full-time to part-time. In Jasper, 30 workers will have shorter seasonal terms and 16 will be eliminated entirely. 

'Cuts will be felt in small communities'

PSAC's national president says the cuts have been quick and merciless, putting people out of work and cutting services that Canadians rely on.

"The impact of these cuts will be felt in small communities across the country," John Gordon said.

"Make no mistake about it, this will hurt the economy."

In Whitehorse, Parks Canada doors were locked Monday with a sign on the window advising they will be "closed all day due to exceptional circumstances."

In another small community, Cape Breton's Fortress of Louisbourg national historic site, which PSAC called the crown jewel of historic sites, could see up to 120 cuts.

National parks and historic sites see more than 20 million visitors every year, according to numbers provided by a Parks Canada spokeswoman.

A spokesman for Environment Minister Peter Kent says Parks Canada is eliminating in-school programs and focusing spending on busy periods. 

"This will result in changes to the operating season of some parks and sites," Adam Sweet wrote in an email to CBC News.

"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."

The agency is also consolidating technical and professional services, merging their service centres and national office into one new consolidated structure and limiting surveys to save money, Sweet said.

Statistics Canada, Corrections also hit

Just over 900 workers at Human Resources and Development Canada, which handles a range of employment and labour programs, could lose their jobs. More than two-thirds of those who got notices are in the National Capital Region. And more than 270 workers at Statistics Canada were told they may lose their jobs, Gordon announced. 

"These cuts mean less capacity to complete the survey that other departments, businesses and communities rely on to inform policy making."

Library and Archives Canada has sent notices to 235 PSAC members, intending to cut 105 positions, Gordon said.

Other departments affected:

  • Correctional Services Canada is changing the inmate grievance process, sending notices to 17 rights and redress workers in regional offices.
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade sent notices to 43 PSAC members in administrative, communications and analysis positions.
  • Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development issued notices to 490 PSAC members but shared little information on what services will be affected, nor the number and location of the positions that will be eliminated, the union said.
  • The Department of Justice handed notices to 35 PSAC members, 30 of whom work in the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio and were declared surplus.
  • Transport Canada sent notices to 180 PSAC members in marine security, boating safety, airport security oversight, and maintenance workers for Transport Canada's fleet of planes. 

A spokeswoman for the Correctional Service of Canada says, contrary to what the union said, the government isn't eliminating the offender grievance program, which allows inmates to lodge complaints.

"CSC is streamlining the offender grievance process to produce greater consistency of grievance reviews and to achieve cost savings," Melissa Hart said in an email to CBC News.

"CSC will ensure that any changes made to the offender grievance process will respect the rule of law."

Hart said the change will save $1.571 million.

So far, 11,957 PSAC members in 40 federal government departments and agencies have received affected notices. PSAC is one of Canada's biggest unions.