The strike initiated by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) has resulted in a disruption of Canadian immigration services. More than 155,000 federal government employees who are part of this union will be taking part in the strike, which will affect several government departments, including Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
While the strike is ongoing, certain Government of Canada services will be limited.
The strike will result in disruptions and delays in processing applications, in-person appointments, and events such as citizenship ceremonies. There will also be limitations in contacting IRCC through email, phone, or social media. In addition, there will be disruptions in consular citizenship and passport services as well as passport services within Canada. However, IRCC has stated that certain services will remain available to applicants, such as applying online, mailing applications to IRCC, using online accounts, and accessing some emergency services. Settlement services from IRCC partner organizations, health care through the Interim Federal Health Program, and visa application centres outside of Canada offered by non-governmental organizations will also still be available.
The union is striking to demand fair wages, better work-life balance, workplace inclusivity, and job security. PSAC wants the creation of more jobs instead of contracting positions to private organizations. The Government offered a 9% wage increase over three years, in line with the recommendations of the third-party Public Interest Commission, to avoid the strike, but it was not successful.
One of the main concerns of the union is that PSAC members should be allowed to work remotely. The union believes that public service workers were as effective when working remotely as they were in the office during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government argues that the demands made by the union, as they currently stand, will negatively affect their ability to deliver services to Canadians and manage employees within the public service. Despite the strike, benefit payments such as the Canada Child Benefit, Employment Insurance payments, Canada Pension Plan payments, Veterans’ income support, Old Age Security, and Guaranteed Income Supplement payments will continue as scheduled.
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