Officials with the City of Charlottetown say they are concerned cuts at Veterans Affairs Canada are just the tip of the iceberg.
Recent reports that 55 VAC employees have learned that their jobs are being eliminated is a worrisome sign of things to come, said Mayor Clifford Lee.
“It is difficult to understand why the Government of Canada believes that Prince Edward Island should have to shoulder such a disproportionately large share of cuts,” said Lee. “We would hope to see a greater measure of fairness in how these cuts get rolled out.”
Coun. Cecil Villard was one of the chairpersons of an ad-hoc taskforce that commissioned research into the potential scope and impact of federal job cuts on Prince Edward Island. The taskforce included the City of Charlottetown, the Government of Prince Edward Island and two federal unions.
Released in June of 2012, the report completed by McInnes Cooper found that as much as 10-12 per cent of federal employees could lose their jobs on PEI, costing the Island economy between $50-60 million per year.
“Job cuts are impacting the entire Island. Losses of positions at VAC in Charlottetown have been mirrored by significant losses at Service Canada in Montague, and at the Tax Centre in Summerside,” said Villard. “In total, we believe that as many as 450 federal jobs are set to be eliminated.”
While Villard recognizes that some federal job cuts are inevitable as the federal government looks to balance the books, he said he agrees that the issue is one of fairness.
“Nationally, we know that the Government of Canada is cutting 4.8 per cent of its workforce. To cut upwards of 12 per cent of the federal workforce on the Island is simply unfair,” he said.