Fourteen local Parks Canada employees will see their jobs either eliminated or reduced as part of wide-ranging cuts to the public sector announced by the Harper government on Monday.
Six employees will be laid off and eight will have their positions reviewed or see their seasons reduced according to Kevin King, the regional vice-president of the Union of National Employees and Public Service Alliance of Canada.
He did not have information on what specific positions will be affected but said workers on both the operational and administrative side will be included.
“Suffice it to say, it’s not just one occupational group,” he told the Times Review Wednesday morning.
The Revelstoke Parks Canada office is responsible for running Mt. Revelstoke & Glacier National Parks and the Rogers Pass Historic Site. It employees approximately 130 people.
Denis St. Onge, the chairperson of the union local, said in an e-mail Tuesday he was still working on getting specifics with regards to the local cuts.
“Some of our members have been affected by the workforce adjustment process and have had their ‘permanent positions’ changed to ‘seasonal positions’, and some workers were informed that their position is now non-existent and being laid-off is one of the options facing them,” he wrote.
Across Canada, 605 Parks Canada employees were given lay-off notices and 1,072 will see their hours reduced, said King.
“There isn’t a single park or site that hasn’t been affected by this,” he said. “Obviously, the impact on the individuals and their families is devastating.”
The cuts will have impacts on services in the Canada’s national parks, as well as on communities inside and near the parks and historic sites, said King. Small businesses that provide services to tourists and that Parks’ employees frequent will be hurt by the cuts, he added.
Superintendent Karen Tierney said the reductions in staff numbers would mean the park seasons will be shortened.
“Parks Canada is identified around the world for the provision of quality public services,” King said. “For the employer to be forced by the government of Canada for these wide-scale cuts and reductions, it’s a true assault to the senses, in my opinion.”
He also criticized the Harper government for the timing of the cuts, saying they were deliberately timed to disrupt the union’s national convention, which is taking place in Ottawa this week.
St. Onge said local Parks employees were all concerned with their work situations, as well as that of their co-workers.
“We are still striving to provide the best available public services, so everyone can live and appreciate what we offer, what we are, and what we do: the wonders of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks,” he said.
The Times Review continues to develop this story throughout the week. Check back to www.revelstoketimesreview.com for updates, or see the May 9 edition for more.