PSAC regional representative Judith Monteith-Farrell says workers are devastated by cuts.
Another 48 jobs have been cut from the public service industry in Northwestern Ontario.
Most of the cuts, which were announced Thursday, are in Thunder Bay and Public Service Alliance of Canada regional representative Judith Monteith-Farrell said the workers are devastated.
“It’s always devastating to lose your job. Many of these people are in their 50s, some that are younger, that have family obligations here,” she said.
Most of the cuts are in Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, which includes Employment Insurance, and the Canada Revenue Agency. Some of the laid off employees have been given job options in places in southern Ontario like Mississauga but Monteith-Farrell said that isn’t an option for most because of family situations.
About 120 positions have already been cut.
The job losses also mean a cut to services for people in Northwestern Ontario.
The federal government has made thousands of cuts in the public service since releasing the federal budget earlier this year. Thunder Bay has seen its immigration and veteran affairs offices close as well as cuts to the local Coast Guard, Service Canada and Development Canada.
Monteith Farrell said while the closures will save the government money, people in the affected areas won’t have access to vital services anymore.
“I think their focus is predominately in the urban areas and I think they lack any kind of concern for Northwestern Ontario,” she said, adding the union will be legally pursuing some of the cutbacks and she’s hopeful they’ll be able to mitigate some of the cuts and save some community services.
MP John Rafferty (Thunder Bay-Rainy River, NDP) said these latest cuts are bad for Northern Ontario residents because it means frontline services are disappearing.
“This is not making any sense to me,” he said. “We have people who work really hard.”
“We have people in the public service who know their jobs, know their jobs really well and can help people, when they come through the door,” he said.
The cuts are part of the federal government’s plan to reduce spending by $5 billion per year. Over the next three years, about 19,000 public service jobs are expected to be cut.
There will be a rally at the Lakehead Labour Centre Saturday at noon in conjunction to protest the job cuts.
An official with Minister of Human Resources office said the changes mainly impact internal IT divisions and will not impact front-line services for Canadians. There were also no office closures as a result of these layoffs.
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