Canada’s federal workers strike disrupts immigration services

Article By Uglobal Staff

By Moustafa Daly

Calling for better wages and workplace inclusivity, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), the second-largest public sector union representing 155,000 federal employees, has announced a nationwide strike starting today, April 19, 2023.

The strike, which involves nearly one-third of all federal employees in the country, is set to have a significant impact on availability and access to government services including those offered by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

“The impact on processing is immediate and across the board in every category of immigration services, but we could be back on track very fast if the negotiations come to a conclusion fast,” says Julien Tétrault, president of Quebec-based JTH Lawyers Inc. to Uglobal.

The impact of Canada’s strike on immigration services

It’s predicted the strike will fully or partially disrupt immigration services in Canada. Delays are expected across the board, particularly when it comes to processing applications, in-person appointments, email or phone inquiries to the IRCC, consular and passport services.

Among the affected services will be immigration and asylum requests and issuance of permits for foreign workers.

The strike, however, won’t affect individuals’ ability to access their online accounts and send online applications and their ability to mail applications to the IRCC, as well as accessing some emergency services, according to the IRCC. Settlement services from IRCC partner organizations will continue to be working normally as well as visa application centers located outside of Canada.

Is there an end in sight for Canada’s strike?

“This is the biggest strike in 30 years: it attracts so much publicity from all political parties so I am rather confident that the matter would be solved soon,” predicts Tétrault.

“Let's keep in mind that Immigration Canada had an amazing year in 2022 with a record-high number of PR visas issued, the immigration targets were raised for the next 3 years to come, so we have good reasons to believe this pause in processing is temporary and may not have long term side effects,” explains Tétrault.

On the other hand, Antonin Favreau, attorney at Montreal-based Favreau Law Firm, is wary a quick solution could prove to be elusive.

“Although we are hopeful for a prompt resolution, it's important to note that negotiations can be complex, despite the federal government's financial resources,” explains Favreau.

“As an advisor, my recommendation is to tell my clients to remain patient and have confidence in the process,” he adds.

Reason for the strike in Canada

PSAC is demanding the government increases wages, reduces layoffs, creates more jobs and achieves a work-life balance for the country’s federal employees. The union has been in talks with the government to discuss the demands, requesting a 4.5% annual raise for its members over the next three years. The Canadian government ended up offering a 9% wage over the next three years (3% annually) hike earlier this week to avoid the strike – however PSAC went ahead and issued its 72-hour strike notice on April 16, 2023.

Among the contentious issues is the demand that PSAC members continue to work remotely, announcing that 90% of its members would elect to continue working remotely given the option.

"We truly hoped we wouldn't be forced to take strike action, but we've exhausted every other avenue to reach a fair contract for Canada's federal public service workers," said PSAC president Chris Aylward after announcing the strike, which is considered one of the biggest such strikes in decades.

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Uglobal Staff
Uglobal Staff, along with its peer-reviewed magazines and conferences series, focuses on the global investment immigration market, offering the latest trends and analyses. is a media platform built to provide professionals involved with global programs with the most comprehensive and credible sources of information in digital, print and seminar mediums. The platform was created out of the need for marketplace transparency and to more efficiently connect individuals interested in learning about the global programs - either as a potential capital source or as a solution for their immigration needs. The Uglobal publication collaborates with a network of leading experts and an authoritative board of advisors to uphold a high standard in all content delivered and events hosted by the organization.

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