Your support is requested for the future sustainability of Canada’s Canals
The Trent-Severn Waterway, Rideau Canal and Western Quebec Canals are in trouble. March 29, 2012 the Federal Budget cut funding to Parks Canada by 29.2 million dollars. The Parks Canada Agency under the Federal Department of the Environment is responsible for the ongoing day to day water control, operation, maintenance and visitor experiences within the various Canal corridors throughout Ontario and Quebec.
On April 11 the CEO of Parks Canada (Alan Latourelle) contacted all Canal Employees about their future employment with the following news……
“Parks Canada will align the length of its season, hours of operation, and personal service at locks on canals to focus investments on the periods of highest requirements.”
On May 18 – opening day for Canal operations in 2012 Minister Peter Kent (Minister of the Environment) officially opened the waterway with the following notice to stakeholders…..
“As we implement changes to next year’s navigation season, Parks Canada will work closely with local stakeholders, Members of Parliament and partners to minimize, where possible, the impacts of these changes on neighbouring communities and partners in the tourism community,”
During the last 2 months speculation surrounding these 2 phrases has been rampant throughout the Waterway Corridors. Municipal Mayors, Community Leaders and MP’s have been gathering information to be delivered to the Minister by August 1. This information will include the effect of a changed season of operation within their community. In jeopardy is the recognizable economic spinoff from the traditional tourist season along the Corridor region which revolves around Victoria Day to Thanksgiving. Also being evaluated is the ability of a reduced Parks staff to properly control water movement throughout the Watershed.
What should you do?
Ask what the future landscape will look like after cutbacks have been implemented. How will the Parks organization deliver their services to both the land and water based users? What will these re-aligned services be?
Ask how much of the $29.2 million cutback to Parks Canada will be directly taken from Canal operations over the next 3 years. Is the Canal reduction in proportion with other Parks across Canada?
Ask how you can become involved with the stakeholder consultation process. Your voice is important for the decision makers to properly align services.
Your timeline for input is very short. Decisions have already been made by the Senior Executive Management within Parks Canada and continue to be implemented without proper consultation to the stakeholders at large.
You can e-mail your local MP, Minister of Environment and the Prime Minister directly with your concerns.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper Minister of the Environment, Peter Kent
Your Local MP address available at ….
PSAC to Parks Canada: Get the voluntary layoff program right!
April 20, 2012
Today PSAC filed a policy grievance against Parks Canada over its voluntary layoff program which violates the Workforce Adjustment Appendix (WFAA) of the collective agreement.
The grievance demands that the agency negotiate a voluntary program with the union that meets the requirements of Appendix K, the WFA Appendix.
On March 30th, the day after the federal budget, Parks Canada sent a message to all employees inviting them to volunteer to be considered for lay-offs. Employees had until April 10th to enter the program.
The PSAC has always supported the idea of a voluntary process to reduce or eliminate involuntary lay-offs. But we want it done in accordance with the WFAA. After the March 30 notice we reminded them.
But the agency has sent employees a second form asking them to confirm that they wish to volunteer for lay-off.
It’s the content of this form that has the union filing the policy grievance.
The second form gave employees only a few days (until April 20th) to confirm their decision, and told them their decision was irrevocable.
Management’s process has left hundreds of Parks employees confused about their choice, without access to critical and accurate information such as the impact of their decision on pension and severance.
Appendix K gives employees 120 days to make a final decision about their choices under the workforce adjustment process.
It provides a detailed outline of the information and advice that they employees are entitled to before making decisions.
The policy grievance demands that the Agency immediately suspend the program and negotiate with the union to set up a voluntary program that respects Appendix K.
It calls upon the Agency to set aside the forms gathered to date, without any repercussions for employees that have submitted their name for the program.
Both PSAC Components representing Parks Canada employees support the grievance.
“We’ve already had many members filing individual grievances because they can’t get accurate calculations of their pension entitlements,” says Christine Collins, president of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE), which represents canal workers at Parks. “Volunteers need to have access to all of the information they need before making a final decision,” she added.
Doug Marshall, president of the Union of National Employees (UNE), expressed strong concerns about the information gathered by the agency through the process. “We are particularly concerned about those people volunteering for the program who won’t be accepted for layoff because the Agency won’t be cutting their functions. The Agency should not be collecting this information unless it is being done as part of the alternation process in the collective agreement,” says Marshall.
UNE represents workers at national parks and historic monuments, and marine conservation areas in every province and territory, as well as members at services centers and national office.
The policy grievance process gives the agency 30 days to respond our demands to fix the program.
Parks Canada puts communities and boaters at risk
Ottawa, ON – Parks Canada announced plans to reduce the length of its season and hours of operation to “periods of highest requirements” for the boating season and the associated workforce.
This results in changes to the operating season for not only employees but boaters, marinas, boat operators and any community dependent upon tourism along the canals and waterways.
“The public wasn’t even given the courtesy of notice that this was on the chopping block,” said Christine Collins, National President of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees.
To add insult to injury they have already sold a number of season passes to the boaters without providing information regarding the reduction of operating hours and the season.
For the last four years Parks Canada has had a safety campaign to ask boaters to reduce their speed and minimize the wakes while in the canals. “With the reduction in hours boaters are going to speed to make it to their destination within the shortened time frame. This flies in the face of their safety campaign.”