FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 14, 2017
Union meets with Immigration Minister to discuss closure of Vegreville Case Processing Centre
Vegreville, AB – The union representing workers at the Vegreville Case Processing Centre met with the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, yesterday to discuss the planned closure of the CPC in Vegreville.
Marianne Hladun, PSAC Prairies Regional Executive Vice President, and Michelle Henderson, #RespectVegreville campaign lead and union representative, spent half an hour providing background information to Minister Hussen and his staff and discussing how devastating the closure will be for the community. Hladun also extended an invitation to the Minister to visit Vegreville and meet with staff and community members. The Minister and his staff committed to reviewing the information provided and following up within two weeks.
“We appreciated the opportunity to meet with the Minister today, and we will continue our dialogue to come up with a solution that will meet the government’s goals in a way that will also benefit the workers and the community,” said Hladun. “We’re fully prepared to work with the Minister and to facilitate discussion with staff and the community at large. The bottom line is that the department doesn’t need to close the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville in order to expand operations in Edmonton.”
PSAC will continue to operate the #RespectVegreville campaign and has relaunched the online action calling on Minister Hussen to reconsider the closure. The Town of Vegreville will also hold a town hall meeting tonight to update the community.
“The Minister told us he has always had a strong sense of community,” said Henderson. “So I hope he will be an ally for rural towns such as Vegreville and work with us to reverse the decision and ensure Vegreville stays a strong and vibrant community. We will continue to put pressure on the government to protect the families in this community.”
Hladun and Henderson also met with Shannon Stubbs, Conservative MP for Lakeland, and Jenny Kwan, NDP MP for Vancouver East and Vice-Chair on the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, who both expressed support for CPC to stay in Vegreville.
The department plans to shutter the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Case Processing Centre in Vegreville by the end of 2018 and move the centre to Edmonton—over 100 kilometres away. With 280 workers—about five percent of the town’s population—it has been one of the largest employers in Vegreville for over 20 years.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) represents more than 170,000 workers across Canada, including 280 employees at the Vegreville Case Processing Centre. The Canada Employment and Immigration Union (CEIU) is a component of PSAC, which represents the majority of workers at Service Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and the Immigration and Refugee Board.