The Green Party of Canada has learned of deep cuts at Environment Canada, with nearly 800 people being let go. Over 200 are professionals — scientists, chemists, meteorologists, engineers—leading to questions of how Environment Canada can fulfil its mandate with such a loss in personnel.
The Green Party finds it unacceptable that the government is downplaying these cuts by saying that some staff may be kept on as indeterminate staff.
“What sense does it make to lay off people whose skill and expertise is so critical if they will be kept on under other conditions? Why would we risk losing highly trained professionals?” asked Green Leader Elizabeth May.
“We are worried that cuts are also impacting other departments. The total impact of this round of layoffs should include parliamentary oversight,” said May.
“At the very least, the Harper government owes the public clear explanations of how the core activity of Environment Canada will not be harmed by these layoffs. What is the timeline and what areas of the department will be affected? How will we ensure that critical roles are not left vacant? There are too many questions and no good answers regarding this slashing of a critical government department,” said May.
The mandate of Environment Canada is to protect and conserve Canada’s natural environment and renewable resources and also includes weather-related research and forecasting. The department is also tasked with enforcing environmental policies and regulations around water and biodiversity.
The Environment Canada website says, “Our diverse expertise strengthens our ability to deal with increasingly complex and changing environmental issues.” The Green Party asks how this latest round of job cuts will affect this ability.