Workers will take to the street today to rally against the attack on rural Alberta communities like Vegreville, where the federal government plans to close the Case Processing Centre (CPC) and move it to Edmonton at a cost of $46.6 million.
“We’ve attempted to work with the Immigration Minister to to come up with a solution that meets the government’s goals and benefits the community, but he isn’t interested,” said Marianne Hladun, Regional Executive Vice-President of the PSAC Prairie Region. “Despite the pleas to reverse the decision from every stakeholder involved, this government is determined to move forward with their plans to crush this rural Alberta community.”
The rally will take place at the clock tower outside Canada Place—the planned future home of the Vegreville CPC—at 12:15 p.m. Speakers include Hladun; Crystal Warner, National Executive Vice-President of the Canada Employment and Immigration Union (CEIU); and Gil McGowan, President of the Alberta Federation of Labour.
“The evidence continues to grow—this is the wrong decision for the government and the wrong decision for Alberta,” said Warner. “We’re taking to the streets to send a loud message to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen to Respect Vegreville and reverse the decision to close the Vegreville CPC.”
The department plans to close the CPC in Vegreville and move the centre to Edmonton—over 100 kilometres away—forcing employees to relocate, commute three hours each day, or quit the jobs they love. With 250 workers—about five percent of the town’s population—it has been one of the largest employers in Vegreville for over 20 years.
PSAC represents more than 170,000 workers across Canada, including 250 employees at the Vegreville Case Processing Centre. 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.