03 May 2023
Canada’s Public Service Strike Ends
PSAC (The Public Service Alliance of Canada) and the Federal Government have tentatively agreed to end the strike that affected more than 155,000 public servants, including those at IRCC.
Ending the Strike
PSAC instructed its members to return to work, ending the strike that began on April 19. The agreement reached with the Federal Government includes higher wages to counter inflation, improved language on working from home, and other favorable provisions for its members.
Impact on Services
IRCC warned of delays in application processing, in-person appointments or events, contacting IRCC through email, phone, or social media, consular citizenship, passport services within Canada, access to information act requests, and grants and contributions services. IRCC stated that they may still experience some service impacts over the next few days and weeks as services return to full capacity. They also committed to updating their page during the labor disruption to inform users of the impact on services.
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TFWP and Biometrics Collection Affected
Applying online to IRCC to extend one’s stay in Canada remained impossible. Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) reported that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and biometrics collection were affected by disruptions.
Review of Labour Market Impact Assessments Affected
ESDC reviews Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs), which employers must obtain to hire temporary foreign workers. The TFWP is relied upon by numerous Canadian employers to secure seasonal workers and address urgent job openings in high-demand sectors.
Reasons for Initiating the Strike
PSAC conducted a countrywide vote on strikes, but negotiations failed to produce an agreement. PSAC members voted to commence the strike on April 19. The union demanded equitable wages. Improved work-life balance and enhanced workplace inclusivity. And fewer layoffs by creating more jobs instead of outsourcing positions to private entities.
Deal Breaker for Union Members
PSAC claimed that public service employees were equally productive when working remotely as they were in the office and that 90% of workers wished to continue remote work. The Government maintained that the union’s demands, as proposed during negotiations, would significantly affect service delivery to Canadians and constrain its ability to manage public service employees effectively. Additionally, the union sought higher wages for members, considering Canada’s present high cost of living. Despite this, remote workers were required to join the picket line during the strike.
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