Environment Minister Peter Kent speaks to the media at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa July 21, 2011.
Credits: ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY
Administrators, meteorologists and chemists have been given notice that they could lose their jobs.
Spokesmen in Environment Minister Peter Kent's office say many of the reductions will come through attrition and retirement.
"Best estimates indicate that approximately 300 positions may ultimately be declared eliminated as part of the process," said John Morris, policy director for Kent.
"This represents less than 5% of total Environment Canada employment."
The looming cuts are raising concerns with opposition parties.
"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?" Green Leader Elizabeth May said.
"It's extremely clear that the Conservatives are making a concerted effort to weaken the environmental assessment process," Laurin Liu, NDP deputy environment critic, said.
"This comes at a time when the environmental assessment process is more important than ever."
Treasury Board President Tony Clement said his government will try to find other jobs within the public service for people who lose their positions with Environment Canada.
"We are going to try as best as we can to look after people through attrition and that way not have the same impact in terms of job reduction."
The cuts are part of the fed's plan to find $4 billion a year in savings by 2014-15 from a budget of $80 billion, or about 5% of total spending.