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Here’s what happens to federal services if public servants strike on Wednesday

April 18, 2023  By Cindy Tran, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The union representing over 155,000 public servants says if a deal isn’t reached with the federal government by 9 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, it will launch a strike this Wednesday.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada says that negotiations have not progressed enough in recent days to call off a strike and its members are frustrated.

Federal departments and agencies have released a list of services that may be disrupted if workers walk off the job Wednesday.

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


Agriculture and Agri-foods Canada: The department says if a strike occurs 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 at the agency announced their own strike mandate last Friday, and the union says they, too, will walk off the job Wednesday if a deal is not reached. In the event of a strike, benefit payments would be prioritized and the Canadian 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.

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. However, there could be processing delays and longer wait times.

The delivery of passports would be limited to clients experiencing 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 impacted.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada: Expect delays for most services, including processing applications, in-person appointments and citizenship ceremonies, passport services and contacting the department.

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 receiving, renewing or replacing a status card, non-insured health benefits, First Nations child and family services, emergency management and funding programs will be maintained. However, the department says labour disruptions may cause delays.

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 (socio-economic 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: In the event of a strike, 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.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 17, 2023.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2021


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