The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) has initiated a strike, effective immediately, that will affect numerous government departments, including Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Specifically, IRCC has warned that processing applications, in-person appointments or events, and contacting IRCC via email, phone, or social media may experience disruptions and delays. Additionally, some consular citizenship and passport services, as well as passport services in Canada, may also be affected. However, some IRCC services, such as applying online, mailing applications, using online accounts, and accessing certain emergency services, will remain available.
Settlement services from IRCC partner organizations, healthcare through the Interim Federal Health Program, and visa application centers outside of Canada will also remain operational. The Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is anticipating disruptions to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the collection of biometrics as well.
The strike is being held by the union, which represents 155,000 federal government employees, demanding fair wages, a better work-life balance, more workplace inclusivity, and reduced layoffs through job creation rather than contracting positions to private organizations. The Government had offered a wage increase of 9% over three years, similar to the recommendations of the third-party Public Interest Commission, to prevent the strike. However, one of the key issues that PSAC members are advocating for is the ability to continue working remotely, which the Government opposes.
The Government asserts that the current demands will significantly impact their ability to deliver services to Canadians and manage public service employees effectively.