Union hasn’t given up fight against relocation of Vegreville immigration centre

The union representing workers at the Vegreville immigrant and refugee case processing centre is still trying to fight the relocation of 236 jobs to Edmonton before the federal government’s targeted move-in date this fall.

Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) officials are reviewing legal options to help the 40 workers who left their jobs because they were unable to move to Edmonton. 

“We are looking to see what we can do to assist them,” said Marianne Hladun, PSAC’s Prairies regional executive vice-president.

Hladun said the union is pressing for other options, such as telecommuting or setting up a satellite office, instead of forcing people to leave the community 100 kilometres east of Edmonton.     

The federal government announced the relocation  in 2016. In a statement sent to CBC News this week, officials from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said the decision to relocate came after the Vegreville office failed to meet “current and future business requirements.”

“The location of the case processing centre in Vegreville had posed considerable challenges to IRCC’s capacity to maintain its operations, such as the retention and recruitment of staff, that could undermine the functioning and service standards of the processing centre in the coming years,” the statement added.

Vegreville residents have said moving the Vegreville Processing Centre to Edmonton will be devastating for the Alberta town. (Michelle Henderson)

A report presented to Vegreville officials last year said the town could lose 420 residents when the office closes.

Many have said the relocation will be a huge economic hit for the town of more than 5,400 people.

‘There was anger’

Michelle Henderson is one of those people. She has worked at the Vegreville office since it opened in 1994 and said it was shocking to hear the office would be moving to Edmonton. 

“There was anger,” she said. 

Like many of her colleagues, she has decided to follow her job to Edmonton.   

But Henderson, who is also the national vice-president for the Customs and Immigration Union, said many of her colleagues are still very unhappy with the federal government’s decision.

“I just think it’s really terrible that this is happening. At the end of the day, they have options,” she said.

The Vegreville move is expected to be complete by Sept. 4. The new centre will be located within Canada Place in Edmonton.

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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.


Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

Originally posted 2018-03-30 11:03:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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