On April 19, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), a union which represents over 155000 public servants in Canada went on strike.
PSAC says it is one of the largest strikes in Canadian history. this will have a huge impact on the Immigration Services.
As of April 26, the two sides say some progress is being made but negotiations will continue until an agreement is reached on some key outstanding issues.
IRCC says it has limited capacity during a strike, so delays in processing applications are expected. This includes delays to applications currently being prioritized.
Additionally, ESDC says there will be delays or disruptions in the collection of biometrics. Foreign nationals who apply for a visitor visa, a work or study permit (excluding United States nationals), permanent residence, or refugee or asylum status are required to submit biometric data (fingerprints and a photograph). An application without biometrics is not complete and may be rejected when IRCC resumes processing applications at normal service levels.
In addition, the following services are affected by the current ongoing strike.
- Citizenship events scheduled while the strike is ongoing will be rescheduled. IRCC says some urgent applications may still be processed.
- Clients in Canada with immigration-related appointments will be contacted to reschedule or cancel appointments.
- Overseas interviews are proceeding as scheduled unless advised otherwise by the IRCC office abroad.
- The IRCC Client Support Centre is experiencing service delays.
- Applicants can still access online self-serve tools for application status tracking.
- Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is advising that there will be service disruption within the department.
- During the labour disruption, Service Canada is only processing domestic passport applications for emergency and humanitarian situations.
- You may experience delays with citizenship or passport services outside of Canada. You can still access your passport applications and submitted documents.
The PSAC says it is seeking fair wages, a better work-life balance, more workplace inclusivity, and reduced layoffs through the creation of more jobs, rather than contracting positions to private organizations.
One of the key issues is that Union members want to continue to work remotely. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, 75% of PSAC members moved to remote work (working from home). The PSAC says public service workers were as effective working remotely as when they were in the office and that 90% of workers want to continue working remotely.
They are also seeking a wage increase that better reflects the high cost of living in Canada as interest rates remain high and inflation is higher.