Building on the work that Vegreville and AUMA conducted in Alberta, municipalities across Canada have joined the call for the federal government to improve decision-making and municipal engagement on the closure of federal offices.
Ninety-five percent of municipal delegates at the recent FCM conference supported the resolution requesting the federal government to provide a clear business case and consult with municipalities before closing facilities in their community. The resolution was driven by an unexpected decision by the federal government to close the Immigration Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, which will eliminate over 200 jobs in that community.
AUMA President Lisa Holmes spoke during the resolution session, indicating that these kinds of decisions can impact municipalities across Canada:
“While this situation is occurring right now in the rural community of Vegreville, Alberta, we cannot expect this will be an isolated incident. Truly, this can happen anywhere in Canada. The social and economic consequences of these decisions impact the sustainability of these communities and put them at risk. These decisions cannot be made in isolation. Municipalities must be involved in these discussions prior to making any decisions.”
In a news release issued by the Town of Vegreville, Mayor Myron Hauk indicated their intent to follow up with the Prime Minister’s office: “If the federal government has a plan to address the impacts to our community, I look forward to hearing more from the Prime Minister … but local needs also have to be considered before facilities are closed, and that is why our resolution at FCM was so important.”