Local jobs are spared in budget cut, for now

The plan to slash hundreds of jobs at Environment Canada will not affect the agency’s small Kelowna office.

The plan to slash hundreds of jobs at Environment Canada will not affect the agency’s small Kelowna office.

The man in charge here, Kent Johnson, manager of public weather services, was told the recently announced plan to eliminate 300 positions and affect 700 employees, or 11 per cent of the agency’s entire national workforce, will not have any short-term impact here.

But he said given Ottawa’s order for every government agency to look for ways to reduce their budgets to help Ottawa find $4 billion in savings by 2014-15, there are no guarantees the local office will be spared from future cuts. Those mandated budget reductions are to start next year.

The local Environment Canada office, located on the UBCO campus, has just 15 people working there now and does not do any specific weather forecasting, said Johnson.

Those duties were moved to Vancouver and Edmonton in 2005 when the workforce here was cut in half and the forecasting jobs moved out of town.

Johnson said with the exception of one weather warning preparedness meteorologist—part of whose duties include dealing with the media—and a handful of information technology technicians, his staff mainly works on programs for the weather service. One of those is how to better interact with the public.

Johnson said by next spring Environment Canada wants to have what it is calling a national client engagement strategy in place. That will help the weather office gauge what sort of programs the public wants from Environment Canada, how best to get information out to the public and how it can be tailored to specific needs.

He said up to now it has tended to be a one-way street with the weather office providing weather forecasts without much input from the public. “The question is how do we hear the voices of the people? There are lots of things to consider when we have choices to make (about the information provided for the public.)”

As for the current round of cuts, Environment Canada has said many of the positions to be eliminated are currently vacant and it also hopes to meet its goal, in part, through attrition. While some employees will likely lose their jobs, others could be moved within the federal civil service.

 

Kelowna Capital News

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

Danny Fulton receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 27. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Drop-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic planned for Kelowna

Clinic at Kelowna Secondary School from June 22 to 24 from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read