Claudette Guibord walks away after speaking to the media at a triannual PSAC conference in Ottawa Monday April 30, 2012.
Credits: Andre Forget/QMI AGENCY
OTTAWA - Claudette Guibord's phone rang at 7 a.m. Monday.
It was work calling. Mandatory meeting. Come in on your day off.
The 31-year public service employee said she knew right then what was going on.
Her small, tight-knit group at Transport Canada's library was hauled in and told everyone's job had been eliminated except for the head librarian's.
When they came out of the meeting there was a sign on the door stating the library was closed.
This was one of many similar scenes that occurred in government offices around the capital Monday morning, as thousands of public servants found out their jobs could be eliminated in the third wave of the government's effort to slash 19,200 jobs.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) - largest of the 17 unions representing public servants - announced 3,872 of its members across 10 departments were told Monday they could lose their jobs.
Among the hardest hit departments was Parks Canada, where 1,689 workers received notices that their jobs could eliminated in six months to a year.
Of those, 394 workers were immediately fired.
At Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, 908 PSAC workers received notices.
Nearly 500 PSAC members at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada received notices, as did 273 workers at Statistics Canada, 17 inmates' rights workers with Correctional Service Canada, and 43 employees with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.
Since the budget was announced in March, 11,957 PSAC workers in 40 agencies found out their jobs are affected.
"Make no mistake about it, this will affect the economy," PSAC president John Gordon said.
He said the job losses will lead to program cuts, but the extent of the cuts won't be known for at least a year.
"It's death by 1,000 cuts," Gordon said. "They're just doing it swiftly, by stealth."
Canadian International Development Agency worker Jean-Pierre Ouelette said staff in his Ottawa office are stressed about the possibility of losing their jobs.
"I see all sorts of behaviour patterns, self-destruction, people going into depressive mode - all sorts of symptoms that are usual in that type of situation," he said. "Some work gets done, because it has to, but there's lots of time spent on people trying to fend for themselves."