January 11, 2017
Vegreville invites Prime Minister to the community as part of cross-country tour
(Vegreville) – The Town of Vegreville is sending an invitation to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to visit the community and discuss the loss of up to 280 jobs due to the closure of the federal government’s Case Processing Centre (CPC).
“Last week, the Prime Minister announced he is touring the country to engage directly with Canadians,” said Mayor Myron Hayduk. “Middle class Canadians live in the community of Vegreville and our community risks losing up to 10% of its entire workforce based on a single federal decision – one made without consultation. The federal government decided to close the CPC and now it is time for the Prime Minister to listen to the facts. We are losing important, sustainable jobs when better options exist. We want a chance for the Prime Minster to discuss the threat to our community’s viability.”
There was no consultation with the Town over the decision, despite the fact officials from the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) contemplated the closure for over one year. The Town of Vegreville was not contacted by IRCC staff about the office closure and the Mayor and Councillors only learned about the decision from staff when they were told at a meeting in late October.
While the department has said it developed a detailed business case, it has not shared this information with the community. In addition, there was no assessment of the economic consequence created for Vegreville by closing the community’s largest employer.
The rationale provided by IRCC officials for moving the CPC suggested that Edmonton made more sense for the Centre, since the proximity to universities, the availability of public transit and housing options, and career growth opportunities within the federal government were readily available. Since Vegreville is just over an hour from Edmonton, these criteria do not make sense.
Adds Mayor Hayduk, “It is hard to understand how any of these criteria are critical to the future of the CPC. The CPC provides administrative services, there is no direct contact with clients and no need for walk-in service by the public. There is no demonstrable improvement in client services from this move.”
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