ST.ANDREWS, NB, July 18, 2012 /CNW/ - Leaders of the largest federal
public sector unions are in St. Andrews, New Brunswick today to join a
groundswell of opposition to federal cuts at the Department of
Fisheries and Oceans' St. Andrews Biological Station. The Professional
Institute of the Public Service of Canada's (PIPSC) National President
Gary Corbett, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) National
Vice-President Chris Aylward, and the Union of Environment Workers
(UEW) National President Todd Panas joined politicians and experts in
marine science at a town hall event at the Fundy Discovery Aquarium
Wednesday evening. The station's Contaminants and Toxicology Department
has been eliminated, its library is being moved and some of its
employees have received "affected" letters. And the community is
"The event gave the public a chance to hear about the impact of cuts on
the Department of Fisheries and Oceans' scientific activities, and to
show its support for the invaluable work done right here in St.
Andrews," said event organizer Caroline Davies.
The federal unions represent workers at the station and have been
outspoken about the reckless cuts mandated by the recent federal
budget. This includes a $79 million reduction to the Department of
Fisheries and Oceans. Between 2011 and 2015 the department's budget is
expected to shrink by 25%.
"The infrastructure that keeps our fragile marine environments intact
while supporting the fishing industry is being dismantled by stripping
the mandate and capacity of this department and by dramatically
weakening of the Fisheries Act," said PSAC's Chris Aylward. "This one-two punch hits small towns like
St. Andrews hard where the local economy depends on federal jobs and a
The union that represents scientists working for the federal government
says these cuts represent a clear attack on the ability of government
to make evidence-based decisions that allow for responsibly regulated
industry while at the same time protecting marine environments.
"Eliminating capacity for monitoring and oversight like the Contaminants
and Toxicology Department at St. Andrews is just another nail in the
coffin in the death of evidence," said PIPSC's Gary Corbett. "There are
always serious consequences when it becomes policy to turn a blind
The St. Andrew's Biological Station's brand new $62 million facility
became operational in May, but has yet to officially open its doors.
"The irony is bitter," says UEW President Todd Panas, "A brand new
library will lay fallow and a state of the art facility specifically
geared towards research in contaminants and toxicology will become
Many staff at the station recently received letters notifying them that
they could lose their jobs.
"Our members are anxious for their future and for their families. They
are frustrated because they have worked hard to serve Canadians. And
they are worried about what these cuts mean for those who rely on
public services," said Aylward.
"Taking jobs out of a community like St. Andrews also means taking
opportunities away from young future scientists," added Corbett.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada represents over 180,000 members
proudly working on the frontlines of federal public service delivery
from coast to coast. The Union of Environment Workers is a component
union of the PSAC. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of
Canada represents some 60,000 scientists and professionals throughout
the federal public service.
For further information:
Lesley Thompson, PSAC Communications, 902-471-6201
Pierre Villon, PIPSC Communication, (613) 228-6310 extension 2228 or (613) 794-9369 (cell)