UNW employees take part in a ‘practice picket’ in Yellowknife earlier this year. The union held several such events over the winter months in preparation for a strike. (Mario de Ciccio/Radio-Canada) With a possible territorial government employee strike looming, the impact on essential services will be felt throughout the territory.
CBC contacted several departments within the N.W.T. government to see what services will be impacted if workers strike Monday morning.
Of the 4,000 employees who could strike, approximately 1,900 have been deemed "essential" or "emergency" and will continue to work, though they are allowed to take part in a legal strike when they’re not on the job.
Essential services are "services that are necessary to ensure a continuation of minimal service to protect the health and safety of the public, to prevent destruction or serious deterioration of machinery, equipment or premises, or to prevent disruption of the administration of the courts," according to the territory’s Public Service Act. Health and social services
"Individuals who require health and social services, including primary care, will continue to be able to access these," said Damien Healy, said spokesperson for the Department of health, in an email.
If workers do strike, Healy says the department has "contingency plans in place" to make sure patients and clients "maintain an appropriate level of care during the potential disruption" — though he did not give any details about these plans.
In the case of a strike, Healy says his department will make a list of available programs and services available online. Airports and the DMV
The arrivals departure board for Yellowknife Airport on Dec. 29, 2017. The Department of Infrastructure says the airport shouldn’t be affected by a strike. (Priscilla Hwang/CBC) Airports, highway maintenance, fuel resupply and building maintenance are expected to keep operating.
The Department of Infrastructure said it will be posting any changes to service levels on its website and on Twitter , and encourages the public to check there for updates.
In-person services at DMV issuing offices in Yellowknife, Inuvik, Norman Wells and Fort Smith could see reduced hours, or be suspended if a strike happens.
"All services delivered by our contractors, such as in-person services at many driver and motor vehicle offices, will be continued," said department spokesperson Catherine Boyd in an email.
People waiting to take their driver’s licence examinations will have to wait, as they will be cancelled if the strike goes through.
Online services that issue commercial permits, register vehicles and renew drivers licences will continue. Aurora College, schools
Aurora College campuses and Community Learning Centres across the territory would be closed and classes cancelled if a strike goes through.
The Department of Education says it will make up cancelled classes. Aurora College campuses will close and classes will be cancelled if N.W.T. employees strike. (Walter Strong/CBC) Forty of the territory’s 49 schools will be affected. While teachers will still be in classrooms, UNW employees such as receptionists and classroom assistants will be on strike.
"Classroom assistants with one-to-one assignments are considered essential and will be required to work during job action," said department spokesperson Pam Coulter in an email.École Allain St-Cyr is the only Yellowknife school that will be affected. In an email sent to parents, superintendent Yvonne Careen said the school has a plan in place to maintain "essential services.""There may be a slightly reduced level of services and a minor impact on programming," she wrote. Courts, rental offices, coroner services Courts will not be affected if a strike takes place, so if you have a trial date, that’s still on.Correctional facilities will continue to operate, along with probation services. People on probation will have to follow their probation […]
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