Liberals Cut 405 Jobs at Surrey Tax Centre

January 18, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Surrey, BC: South Surrey-White Rock MP Dianne Watts has confirmed that the federal Liberal government’s is leaving 75 employees without jobs, and their families without options, and is forcing an additional 330 workers to either move across Canada, or take a demotion.

In November 2016, the Liberal government announced that the Surrey Tax Centre would stop being a Processing Centre and become a Verification and Collections centre, with no mention of job losses. In the process, Watts has learned that more than 400 relocation letters have been sent to employees whose jobs have been cut from the Tax Centre.

“The Liberals are cutting 405 jobs from the Surrey Tax Centre, which is over half the processing jobs at the facility,” said Watts. “Some are outright losing their jobs with no other opportunities provided to them. The only options for the remaining employees are to move their families across the country, or be demoted somewhere outside of Surrey in the Lower Mainland.”

The Liberals announced that only four processing centres will remain in Canada: Summerside, PEI; Winnipeg, MB; Sudbury, ON; and Jonquière, QC.

“The Liberals are telling employees that the Surrey Tax Centre will grow in size and add over 70 full time equivalent positions,” adds Watts. “But what they are not telling them is that these positions will be lower level, lower paid, non-complex jobs. Some employees will have the option of keeping their current position, but only if they move their families across the country to Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec or Prince Edward Island. This will have a negative impact not only on affected employees, but on their spouses’ jobs, Surrey businesses, our school systems, and our community at large.”

Watts added that the Liberals have also recently announced the closure of the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta in favour of opening one in Edmonton instead. That announcement meant that 280 workers will lose their jobs, when the town of Vegreville has a total population of only 6,000, a loss that would be equivalent to 113,000 jobs being cut in Vancouver.

On November 29, local area MP Shannon Stubbs (Lakeland) spoke in the House of Commons on the devastation this is causing in her riding.

“The Minister says that all current employees will be given the opportunity to relocate to Edmonton, but that is not true. The closure could cause about 200 homes to go on the market in a town where 100 homes are already for sale,” said Stubbs.

“The people of my riding are writing to the Minister saying that they cannot afford to sell their homes in Vegreville for next to nothing…The Minister is listening to officials who do not get what they are doing to families and to the whole area.”

“At a time when cost of living is going up, job creation and sustainability are important for the economic viability of a community. Instead of creating jobs, these jobs are being taken out of Surrey,” added Watts. “I find it outrageous that these employees are expected to relocate across the country when they have jobs here, close to home. If employees want to continue to pursue opportunities for growth, they will first have to take a pay cut and a demotion plus have to commute to downtown Vancouver from as far as Abbotsford or Chilliwack in some cases.”

-30-