Passport officers and other Service Canada employees, completely overwhelmed by the demand of the past few weeks, have been made aware by email of “the importance of taking leave” which makes them more productive for the organization.

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The Journal obtained a screenshot of a message from the Department of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to its employees.

With an image reminiscent of holidays, with palm trees and suitcases, the ministry reminds us that it is important to rest.

“Taking your leave is an investment not only for your mental and physical health,” it says.

Then the ministry adds that “it also brings direct and measurable benefits to the performance of your organization”.

Reached by the Journal, the Public Service Alliance union was flabbergasted by this communication.

“I would have preferred to be encouraged and told that there will be solutions, but no, it’s nonsense,” said Yvon Barrière, regional executive vice-president of the Alliance for Quebec, during an interview with the Journal.

During the last days, the latter points out that several agents sometimes work until very late at night.

“People finish at half past two in the morning and they work on Saturdays. They take their professionalism to heart,” assures Mr. Barrière.

Very few jobs

Bad news for travelers, the union does not see a return to normal for several months and training for new agents will only begin in early August.

“I dare to believe that at the beginning of the fall, around September-October, we will finally be able to return to normal and reduce the time required between 15 to 20 days for applications,” he said.

Speaking at the microphone of QUB radio, the latter denounced the lack of foresight of the ministry responsible, which now places office employees in a hostile work situation.

“In the Laval offices, there are employees who have been insulted. One of them was even spat on! We live in extraordinary situations. If the ministry had taken the lead as it should last fall, we would not have this problem at the moment, ”he lamented.

According to him, the union has asked for more hires from last year, but the management has not moved.

“These are pellets. They have mainly hired citizen service agents who do data entry, they are not passport agents, ”he specifies.

The Saint-Laurent office has reportedly lost around 15 passport officers since the start of the pandemic. In the strategic center of Guy-Favreau in Montreal, 24 agents out of 39 have left.



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