[AMHERST, NS] — Amherst's largest federal employer is shedding jobs.
At least 20 positions at the Atlantic office of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada will be impacted by cuts to the federal civil service.
Those employees who could be impacted received notices on Tuesday.
"There's a lot of uncertainty and worry in the office right now," Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 80081 representative Isaac Armstrong said. "There has been talk since the federal budget that there would be austerity measures, so it's not a complete surprise. That doesn't soften the blow, however."
Several government departments announced this week that close to 3,800 jobs could be impacted by budget cuts with Parks Canada taking the biggest hit. Transport Canada and Correctional Services Canada also announced employees could be affected by cuts.
Armstrong said he's not sure what the exact number will be in Amherst, adding some people at the office may choose to retire or leave their positions. Some union members could also bump others in various locations.
He said there are a couple of other unions at the regional office that could be impacted as well.
"Whatever the end result, the loss of these workers on Havelock Street is going to impact economic development in the downtown and beyond," he said. "These are more than people who sit cubicles all day, they go to Dayle's and the Sugar Shack and Tim Horton's."
Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley Scott Armstrong said it's his understanding there are up to 22 affected positions.
"As a government we have three ways to balance the budget, we can cut transfers to the province, we can raise taxes or we can look for efficiencies in government. That's what we've done," the MP said. "We have also worked to protect the regions as much as possible. Fifty per cent of the affected positions in Aboriginal Affairs are in the national capital region. We want cuts in the backrooms and administration and less in the people who provide services."
The Conservative government aims to cut 19,000 jobs from the federal civil service in a bid to save $5.2 billion in the next three years.