Public Sector Strike Articles (3): First just before the strike, then 2 articles on areas affected



Courtesy Barrie 360 and Canadian Press, Published: Apr 18th, 2023

By Cindy Tran in Ottawa

The clock is ticking for the government and Canada’s largest federal public-service union to reach an agreement by a deadline of 9 p.m. EDT Tuesday evening. 

If they don’t, some 155,000 workers are prepared to walk off the job on Wednesday, including 35,000 Canada Revenue Agency workers.

Mediated contract negotiations between the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the government began in early April and continued through the weekend in what the union describes as the government’s last chance to reach a deal. 

Though the contract for CRA employees is being negotiated separately, the Public Service Alliance of Canada said that these employees would strike, too, if no deal was reached with their employer by the same deadline.

Treasury Board President Mona Fortier told reporters Tuesday afternoon that she is very optimistic that a deal will be struck by tonight’s deadline. 

“We have a competitive and fair wage on the table and also that is reasonable to Canadians. Therefore, we’re going to continue to work hard until we get to a deal,” said Fortier.

Chris Aylward, the union’s national president, said at a news conference on Monday morning that workers are prepared to strike for “however long it takes.” 

Wage increases have been top of mind at the bargaining table. 

The Treasury Board released a statement on Monday afternoon saying that it offered the union a nine per cent raise over three years on Sunday, on the recommendation of the third-party Public Interest Commission.

But the union has pushed for annual raises of 4.5 per cent over the next three years, arguing the increases are necessary to keep pace with inflation and the cost of living. It has also kept issues such as greater limits on contract work, more anti-racism training and provisions for remote work on the table.

“There is still time to reach agreement before strike action begins. We know that the sooner an agreement is reached, the sooner wage increases and benefits reach employees,” the Treasury Board, which is responsible for the administration of the federal government, said in a statement on Monday afternoon. 

Negotiations over the new contract first began in June 2021, with the union declaring an impasse in May 2022 and both parties filing labour complaints since then.

The union called a strike vote in January, and it announced that members had voted in favour of a strike mandate early last week, days after CRA employees signalled their own intention to take job action if necessary.



Courtesy of Barrie 360 and Canadian PressPublished: Apr 19th, 2023


Some 39,000 Canada Revenue Agency employees went on strike as of Wednesday as part of wider labour action by the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

The CRA says the strike will mean certain services will be delayed or unavailable. 

It says the processing of some income tax and benefit returns, particularly those filed by paper, could be disrupted. 

The CRA’s business inquires line is closed, and the agency says it is prioritizing calls related to benefits payments. It warns of longer wait times for callers.

The agency says that Canadians should use its online services where people can file taxes and apply for child benefits, make payments and other services. It says taxes filed digitally will largely be processed automatically without delay.

While the CRA says its services may be delayed, Canadians are still expected to submit their taxes on time as it says there are no plans to extend filing deadlines.

The deadline for filing taxes from 2022 is Monday, May 1.


Courtesy of Barrie 360 and Canadian PressPublished: Apr 19th, 2023

By Cindy Tran in Ottawa

More than 155,000 public servants are now on strike after the country’s biggest federal public-sector union and the government failed to reach a deal by a Tuesday evening deadline.

Federal departments and agencies have released a list of services that may be disrupted during the strike. 

Here’s an updated list of what services may be affected: 

Agriculture and Agri-foods Canada: The department says there may be disruptions to call-taking at the Agriculture and Agri-foods Canada contact centre. Some services that may be disrupted or delayed include AgriInvest, AgriStability, the Poultry and Egg On-Farm Investment Program, the Wine Sector Support Program, the youth employment and skills program and programs under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

Canada Revenue Agency: Workers from the agency are on strike alongside PSAC members. The agency says benefit payments would be prioritized and the Canada Child Benefit would continue. The CRA is encouraging people to file their taxes online due to delays in processing some income tax and benefit returns, particularly those filed by paper. There may be longer wait times at contact centres. The agency says it has no plans to extend the tax deadline. 

Canadian Heritage: The department says that all funding programs will be maintained but there could be delays when it comes to application receipts, funding decisions and issuance of payments. 

Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard: Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s conservation and protection program, health and safety-related fishery closures along with the Canadian Coast Guard’s search and rescue, environmental response and icebreaking services will still be running but may be operating at reduced administrative capacity. Some services that may be partially or fully disrupted include Canadian Coast Guard lighthouses, wrecked vessels, and licensing and funding programs by Fisheries and Oceans.

Canadian Transportation Agency: The agency says it will ensure that the national transportation system will continue to run. There may be some delays to things like dispute resolution and information provision.

Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada: Essential services such as the Indian Residential Schools crisis centre, support for hunting, harvesting and community-led food programs, accessing retail subsidy, treaty and negotiations will be maintained, though there may be delays.

Employment and Social Development Canada: Essential services such as the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, employment insurance and social insurance numbers will be maintained. In-person services at Service Canada centres will be limited to clients who need help with those services. The department warns to expect potential delays. Passport services are not deemed essential, so applications and renewals are on hold and limited to those in humanitarian or emergency situations. There would also be partial processing delays to the Temporary Foreign Worker program, the Canada Education Savings Bond, the Canada Disability Savings Grant and the Canada Disability Savings Bond.

Global Affairs Canada: The department says it will maintain essential services such as travel advisories, the EduCanada program and international scholarships program. Services at missions abroad, document authentication services, import and export permits, the CanExport program and international assistance programming may be partially or fully affected.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada: Expect serious delays across all immigration streams and for most services, including processing applications, in-person appointments and citizenship ceremonies, passport services and contacting the department. People with immigration-related appointments will be contacted to reschedule or cancelled. Services offered by outside organizations would still be available, and online applications, accounts and emergency services will be maintained.

Indigenous Services Canada: Services such as support for Indigenous businesses, First Nations child and family services, emergency management and funding programs will be maintained. 

The department says services that may be impacted include receiving, renewing or replacing a status card, non-insured health benefits, supporting Inuit children and treaty annuities, estates and trust. They also warn that medical transportation for First Nations may be delayed. 

Library and Archives Canada: Service points in Ottawa, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Halifax along with services for the Government of Canada, galleries, libraries, archives and museums will be maintained. There could be delays to ordering archival and published material, requesting copies, making access-to-information requests, making licensing or copyright requests and for services to publishers.

Public Services and Procurement Canada: Services such as direct deposit, pension payments, linguistic services and public notices will be maintained. Services that may be partially or fully disrupted include phone-assisted direct deposit and security screening.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Regular police services would continue across the country, but services such as administrative support, media relations, web updates and access to RCMP buildings may be disrupted.

Transport Canada: Essential services would be maintained but services such as public outreach, regulatory work, aircraft services, issuance of licenses, certificates and registrations, transportation security clearances and other motor vehicle safety hotlines could be partially or fully disrupted.

Veterans Affairs Canada: Periodic payments to veterans would continue uninterrupted. That includes disability benefits, income replacement benefits and additional compensation for pain and suffering. The department anticipates a reduced ability to process new payments. New benefit requests or those that are already in the queue will be prioritized on a needs basis.

Patricia Dent

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *