Government Must Address Staffing Issues to Smooth Refugee Process

October 13, 2017
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PSAC is calling on the federal government to address organizational and workload issues resulting from the influx of asylum seekers from the United States. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen must take responsibility for fixing these persistent problems.

“There are not enough front-line workers,” said PSAC National President Robyn Benson. “And, from what we are hearing from our members, it is an organizational nightmare.”

Employees at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) have been given new assignments, made family arrangements to accommodate their new schedules, and are then told the plans have changed again. Confusion over assignment of duties and failures of communication in the workplace are also putting undue stress on these PSAC members working on the front lines.

Our members at Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) say more resources are needed, including more Border Services Officers. The number of new workers being hired is insufficient. Harper-era job cuts have not been restored by the current Liberal government, and these workers are being asked to do more with less.

“People arriving in Canada, particularly those in duress, deserve to be treated with dignity,” said Benson. “Our members are doing their best. However, without additional resources, clear directions from management, and adequate facilities, these workers will continue to face a workplace crisis.”

PSAC encourages the Ministers responsible for IRCC, IRB and CBSA to listen to their employees about the specific issues that need to be addressed. As always, listening to the people doing the work, and the unions representing them, is crucial to delivering quality public services.

This article was first published on the PSAC website.

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