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On Sept. 13, 74 of the 88 employees at Service Canada’s call centre in Bathurst, N.B., learned their hours of work are being reduced to part-time. And, 26 of the 42 workers in a call centre in St. John’s got the same bad news. The reason everyone was given for such a drastic reduction? Insufficient funding.

These reductions came as a shock to workers, because they all know first-hand that Service Canada call centres need more full-time staff, not fewer. Even now, only 30 per cent of calls meet service standards. And that’s not because workers aren’t good at what they do. It’s because there is more work than there are staff to do it. This reduction stands to compromise the call centres’ ability to answer calls by another 25 per cent.

We should also be concerned that these cuts are restricted to Atlantic Canada.

Currently, across Canada there are roughly 330,000 EI claims waiting for processing. Of those 200,000 are more than 29 days old.

In Atlantic Canada, 30,000 workers are waiting for decisions on their claims and 15,000 of those claims have exceeded the 29-day standard that Service Canada sets for itself.  

When hours of work are reduced and when jobs are cut, Canadians don’t just stop applying for employment insurance.

There should be more hiring at Service Canada — I’m talking full-time jobs, so that Canadians can get the help they need to access the insurance system they pay into. No one can afford to wait when you have a family to feed, rent to pay, school books to buy. No one.

So why not contact Jason Kenney (jason.kenney@parl.gc.ca), minister of Employment and Social Development? He needs to hear that

all Canadians, including Atlantic Canadians, are entitled to service from Service Canada.  

Jeannie Baldwin

Atlantic Regional executive vice-president

Public Service Alliance of Canada

Organizations: Service Canada, Alliance

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, Bathurst, Atlantic Canada.Currently

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Recent comments

  • Anne
    September 30, 2013 - 14:07

    That is so shameful. I think this is the Government's way of fazing out EI. I mean, how else is one expected to take these cuts? If there is no one left to do the processing, then the whole program is going to crash. This Government has GOT to be taken out during the next election or Canadians are going to suffer the consequences.

  • Anne
    September 30, 2013 - 13:47

    That is so shameful. I think this is the Government's way of fazing out EI. I mean, how else is one expected to take these cuts? If there is no one left to do the processing, then the whole program is going to crash. This Government has GOT to be taken out during the next election or Canadians are going to suffer the consequences.

  • A.P. Deuteronomy
    September 30, 2013 - 12:14

    EI is only one aspect of those effected...I feel for their urgency in getting their claim going, after all they may go hungry or not get the rent paid or ?... In my case I have retired 10 months ago, and my full pension has not been finalized, so I have been short on living expenses for that period... I feel shat upon to put it bluntly...Giving 22 years to public service, all the while defending the work I did to a public that for the most part considers public service a meal ticket, and public servants slack assed leaches...They will now see as they apply for EI, CPP, OAP, Passports, and other services just how important these position are... Harper needs to quite wasting money on propoganda ads...find that $3.2B he lost...With the thousands of cutbacks, he is still spending more than ever before...Canadians need to stop being so apathetic...what is happening is going to effect them negatively in some way, at some time, in the very near future... Become involved... Become informed, and MAKE YOUR MP's Accountable

  • A.P. Deuteronomy
    September 30, 2013 - 12:11

    EI is only one aspect of those effected...I feel for their urgency in getting their claim going, after all they may go hungry or not get the rent paid or ?... In my case I have retired 10 months ago, and my full pension has not been finalized, so I have been short on living expenses for that period... I feel shat upon to put it bluntly...Giving 22 years to public service, all the while defending the work I did to a public that for the most part considers public service a meal ticket, and public servants slack assed leaches...They will now see as they apply for EI, CPP, OAP, Passports, and other services just how important these position are... Harper needs to quite wasting money on propoganda ads...find that $3.2B he lost...With the thousands of cutbacks, he is still spending more than ever before...Canadians need to stop being so apathetic...what is happening is going to effect them negatively in some way, at some time, in the very near future... Become involved... Become informed, and MAKE YOUR MP's Accountable

  • Pierre Neary
    September 28, 2013 - 16:27

    Good to see a union picking up for its members. NAPE is letting the JES get shoved down its members throats. People voting yes on this new contract need to take a second look.