Dear Mr Brown,
I am wondering if the strike will, in fact, cause more delays with the processing of applications.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), the union representing the federal employees who went on strike, and the federal government have reached a tentative agreement. The strike impacted over 155,000 public servants, including those at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
It was the largest public sector strike in Canadian history. The strike began on April 19. PSAC instructed its members to return to work as of May 1, 2023.
The PSAC stated that their interest was seeking fair wages in the context of the current inflated cost of living, a better work-life balance, remote work, more workplace inclusivity, and reduced layoffs through the creation of more jobs, rather than contracting positions to private organisations. The PSAC also stated that public service workers were as effective working remotely as when they were in the office, and that 90 per cent of workers want to continue working remotely.
The Government stated that the demands, as they were drafted during negotiations, would severely impact the ability to deliver services to Canadians and would limit its ability to effectively manage employees within the public service.
The tentative agreement included higher wages which can close the gap between inflation; new and improved language relating to working from home, among other favourable provisions for its members. The PSAC stated that it had secured a total wage increase of 12.6 per cent over four years, having turned down an offer of nine per cent over three years when it called the strike. The deal includes a one-off payment of CAD$2,500 ($1,845).
The PSAC fell short of getting work from home enshrined in the collective bargaining agreement as the Treasury Board — the federal employer — refused. But there is a deal to address remote work requests individually and in writing, which opens up the Government to the employee grievance process.
Impact on immigration
On May 1, 2023 Immigration Minister Sean Fraser stated that close to 100,000 applications were not processed during the work stoppage. It is expected that the IRCC will return to a pre-pandemic service standard in the months ahead.
Many applicants have been inconvenienced by additional backlog and wait times. The increased delay caused by the strike comes as Canada's immigration system is playing catch-up from pandemic delays, which is causing additional frustration.
Please visit JAMAICA2CANADA.COM for additional information on Canadian permanent residence programmes including Express Entry, the Study & Work programmme, visas or appeals, etc.
Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM — a Canadian immigration & education firm in Kingston — and AfriCanadaServices.com in Abuja, Nigeria. Send questions/comments to firstname.lastname@example.org