CANADA IMMIGRATION OFFICIALS STRIKE
23 Jul 2013
The strike by Canadian Foreign service officers is creating a huge impact on the processing of the Canadian visas under all categories.
The strike by 1,350-member Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers started in April 2013 and still continuing.
The striking Foreign Service Officers are demanding pay parity compared to other government officers. According them they are paid $3000 to $ 14000 less a year, when compared to their counterparts in other federal departments. If their demand is accepted, it would cost the National exchequer $4.2-million.
The union strike has resulted in cessation of some services at Canadian Foreign Affairs headquarters in Ottawa, and in many Canadian missions all over the world including London, Beijing, Delhi & Manila where optimum of Canada visa are processed and issued.
On 18th July 2013, the union representing Canada’s foreign service offered to settle its dispute with the federal government by Binding Arbitration with a dead line until 23rd July 2013.
The Treasury Board President Mr. Tony Clement is yet to respond to this offer.
As per the union president Tim Edwards, the number of all visas issued, including permanent resident visas has dropped by 25 per cent. This is also adding to the overall backlog by 5 per cent a week.
The issues of visas in China, India, Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines have dropped by 65%.
The strike is affecting many international students. They would miss their joining date at their respective universities and Institutes. Universities like University of Toronto and York University were forced to extend the admission date. According to an estimate the Canadian Education system would make a huge dent in their revenues as it would affect 105000 students worldwide. Many of the international Students are withdrawing their application as they are not getting their visas.
The Tourism Industry Association of Canada estimated that the strike is impacting the Canadian Tourism by one-third and would cost the tourism industry to a tune of $280 million in damages.
It is to be hoped that a compromise would be reached soon. If the Unions offer of Binding Arbitration rejected by the Canadian Government, it would result in continuation of the strike. This, in turn would result in a delay in the issuance of visas in all categories, which affect sectors like Education, Tourism Hospitality Etc which are multibillion dollar revenue generators for Canadian economy.