CRA strike: Here’s what could be impacted

Ottawa –

More than 155,000 civil servants are currently on strike after the government and the country’s largest federal public sector union failed to reach an agreement by Tuesday night’s deadline.

Federal departments have released a list of services that may be disrupted now that workers are on strike.

Here is the latest list of potentially affected services:

Canadian agriculture and agrifood: The ministry said there could be some disruption to phone calls at Canada’s agriculture and agri-food contact centers. Services that may be interrupted or delayed include AgriInvest, AgriStability, Poultry and Egg Farm Investment Programs, Wine Sector Support Programs, Youth Employment and Skills Programs, and programs under the Sustainable Canadian Agriculture Partnership.

Canada Revenue Agency: Agency workers are on strike alongside PSAC members. The agency said benefit payments will be prioritized and Canadian child benefits will continue. Due to delays in processing some income tax and benefit returns, especially paper-filed returns, the CRA encourages you to file your taxes online. Wait times in the contact center can be long. The agency said it currently has no plans to extend the tax deadline.

Canadian Heritage: The department says all funding programs will be maintained, but there may be delays regarding receipt of applications, funding decisions, and issuance of payments.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard: Fisheries and Oceans Canada conservation and protection programs, health and safety related fisheries closures, and the Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue, environmental response and icebreaking services will continue to operate, although management capabilities may be reduced. Services that may be partially or fully disrupted include Canadian Coast Guard lighthouses, shipwrecks, fishing and marine licensing and funding programs.

Canadian Department of Transportation: The agency says it will ensure the country’s transportation system continues to operate. There may be some delays in dispute resolution and information provision.

Crown and Indigenous Relations and Northern Canadian Issues: Essential services such as Indian boarding school crisis centers, hunting, harvesting, support for community-led food programs, access to retail subsidies, treaties and negotiations will be maintained, although delays may occur.

Employment and Social Development Canada: Essential services such as the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, Employment Insurance and Social Security Number will be maintained. In-person services at Service Canada centers are limited to clients needing assistance with the services listed above. The department warns to anticipate potential delays. Passport deliveries are limited to clients experiencing humanitarian or emergency situations. There may also be partial delays in the processing of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the Canadian Education Savings Bond, the Canadian Disability Savings Grant, and the Canadian Disability Savings Bond.

Global Affairs Canada: The ministry said it will maintain essential services such as travel advisories, EduCanada programs and international scholarship programs. Services on missions abroad, document certification services, import and export permits, the CanExport program, and international assistance programs may be partially or fully affected.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada: Delays are expected for most services, including application processing, in-person appointments and citizenship ceremonies, passport services, and contacting departments. Services provided by external organizations will continue to be available, and online applications, accounts, and emergency services will be maintained.

Indigenous Services Canada: Services such as receiving, renewing and exchanging status cards, uninsured health benefits, services for Indigenous Children and Families, emergency management and fundraising programs will be maintained. However, the department said there could be delays due to labor disruptions.

Libraries and Archives Canada: Service points in Ottawa, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Halifax will remain in service, as well as to the Government of Canada, galleries, libraries, archives and museums. There may be delays in ordering archives and publications, requesting copies, requesting access to information, requesting licenses or copyrights, and servicing publishers.

Public Service and Procurement Canada: Services such as direct debits, pension payments (socioeconomic payments), language services and public notices will be maintained. Services that may be partially or fully disrupted include direct deposit by telephone and security screening.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Regular police services will continue nationwide, but services such as administrative support, media correspondence, web updates, and access to RCMP buildings may be disrupted.

Canadian shipping: Essential services will be maintained, but services such as public outreach, regulatory affairs, aircraft services, license issuance, certification and registration, transport security clearance, and other motor vehicle safety hotlines may be partially or fully suspended. It may be interrupted.

Veterans Affairs Canada: Regular payments to veterans will continue uninterrupted. This includes disability benefits, income replacement benefits, and additional compensation for pain and suffering. The department expects its ability to process new payments to decline. New reward requests or requests already queued will be prioritized based on needs.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on April 19, 2023.

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