PSAC has won an important victory for our members who work at the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta, which is slated to close at the end of the month.
On August 29, the Federal Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board (FPSLREB) issued a decision upholding our grievance and affirming the right of employees to access voluntary departure programs when their jobs are being relocated.
“This hard-fought victory shows the strength of our union when we come together and demand that our collective agreement protections are respected,” said Chris Aylward, National President, “I want to thank all the members who worked so hard on the ‘Respect Vegreville’ campaign and who participated in the grievance process by explaining the impact of the government’s wrong decision to relocate the Case Processing Centre.”
Employees required to choose between relocation or layoff
In April 2017, 150 permanent employees at the Centre in Vegreville were given formal notice of the Centre’s relocation to Edmonton, with six months to decide if they wanted to move with their position. The Department of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada then told employees that if they did not want to relocate, there would be no compensation package and that employees must move with their position or be laid off.
PSAC filed a policy grievance and argued that the department’s actions showed callous disregard for the impact of the relocation on employees and that options were clearly open to the employer to allow access to the benefits under the collective agreement’s Workforce Adjustment Appendix.
We asked the FPSLREB to rule on whether Article 6.2 of the Workforce Adjustment Agreement should have been administered by the employer. That article requires departments and organizations to establish voluntary departure programs for all workforce adjustment situations involving five or more employees. The Board agreed with PSAC that Article 6.2 was violated.
Remedy to be negotiated
The Board has given PSAC and the employer 60 days to try and negotiate the remedy on their own. If we are unable to come to an agreement, the Board will decide on the remedy.
PSAC will begin negotiating with the employer as soon as possible. We want the employer to respect the decision and provide the employees with access to the benefits they should have received from the start.