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WHITEHORSE – Unions representing federal government workers from departments such as the Canada Revenue Agency, Veterans Affairs, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada indicate they are prepared to walk off the job in support of contract negotiations. In light of this developing situation, the Yukon government needs to tell Yukoners how this will affect the services many rely on.
The Yukon Party Official Opposition joins the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in expressing concern about the effect the potential strike will have on small businesses in the middle of tax season. The Yukon Party is also concerned about how the job action will affect Veterans who rely on services for everyday life and for potential new Yukoners, including those who are arriving through the Yukon Nominee Program.
The Yukon Party has introduced three motions to this effect in the Legislative Assembly.
The first one from Economic Development Critic Geraldine Van Bibber reads:
THAT this House urges the Government of Canada and the Government of Yukon to work together to ensure that any pending strike action by Canada Revenue Agency workers does not unduly harm small businesses by taking action including:
(1) maintaining full service to small businesses during negotiations or if a strike is triggered;
(2) ensuring clear communication of small business owners’ responsibilities in the context of a strike; and
(3) considering delaying tax deadlines to ensure that businesses do not receive penalties and interest because of a possible work stoppage.
Two others from Kluane MLA Wade Istchenko read:
THAT this House urges the Government of Canada and the Government of Yukon to work together to ensure that any pending strike action by Federal employees does not affect services from Veterans Affairs Canada to Veterans.
THAT this House urges the Government of Canada and the Government of Yukon to work together to ensure that any pending strike action by Federal employees does not affect services from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
As well, the Public Service Alliance of Canada/Yukon Employees Union has told its territorial public service members they are welcome to join their federal counterparts on the picket line. A news release from the union sent on Monday informs members they do not have to cross the picket line if they work in the same building as federal workers, and if they do plan to join the picket line, the Yukon government will put them on leave without pay, and the union will instead pay their wages. The Yukon Party Official Opposition is requesting the Liberal government tell Yukoners how they will fill those potential gaps at the territorial level.
“It seems the forthcoming federal job action will have impacts on not only federal but territorial services as well,” said Critic for the Public Service Commission Yvonne Clarke. “The territorial Liberal government needs to lobby their federal counterparts to extend the tax deadline for small businesses, ensure services for Veterans are not interrupted, and not delay the paperwork for new Yukoners arriving in the territory.”