Canada Employment and Immigration Union -
December 23, 2011

Saving the Sturgeon Falls office

For the government, Sturgeon Falls is just another small town where Service Canada shuts down its two-person office and replaces it with itinerant service two days per week. For the community and the union, it’s about keeping quality federal services easily accessible to Canadians. On December 16, the community, elected leaders and union members rallied to save the office in Sturgeon Falls.

Joined by West Nipissing Mayor Joanne Savage, Nickel Belt MP Claude Gravelle and Temiskaming-Cochrane MPP John Vanthof, CEIU members demonstrated outside the Service Canada office in Sturgeon Falls.

Mayor Savage has written to the Minister, Diane Finley, asking for a reconsideration of the decision to close the office. In her letter, the Mayor writes:

The announcement that the services presently being provided to residents in our area will be replaced by a mobile unit visiting our municipality twice a week will jeopardize access to services we have counted on for many years in the past.

With no transit service in Sturgeon Falls, our residents will also have to commute to North Bay which is anywhere from 30 to 85 kilometers for some, incurring expenses in times when the economy is affecting the elderly and the young adults. Some do not have vehicles or funding to make this possible.

The two workers at the Sturgeon Falls office have been offered jobs in North Bay, so there is no job security issue involved for the union. According to Laura St. Jean, CEIU Ontario’s Northern Representative, “It’s about small communities having access to government services on an equitable basis. We need to protect the service in Sturgeon Falls and in small towns across this country.”

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