RVP Surette Tours Regional Offices in Western Canada

April 23-25, 2024. RVP JP Surette visited USJE members in regional offices in Vancouver, Burnaby and Edmonton. Both the Courts Administration Service (CAS) and the Department of Public Safety have regional offices across Canada that are too small to constitute separate local unions. Each office has about 15 staff.

Increased workload at CAS was a primary topic of concern. Court cases and filings have increased by 150-200% while staffing levels have remained the same. RVP Surette committed to bringing these concerns to the Chief Administrator of CAS the next time there is a scheduled Labour-Management meeting, and challenging CAS to help regional staff with the increased workload.

At the Burnaby and Edmonton regional offices at the Department of Public Safety, staff expressed great concern with operational burnout, and the limitations in their budget to address emergencies like forest fires and flooding, budgets that can be used up quickly when addressing emergency situations.

Despite these questions and concerns, the staff at the regional offices of both CAS and Public Safety struck RVP Surette as exceptionally caring and professional and dedicated to delivering quality public safety and criminal justice services for Canadians.

While in Edmonton, RVP Surette met with the 2023 recipient of USJE’s Community Investment Initiative – The Bear Claw Beaver Hills House. The Bear Claw is an Indigenous-led volunteer group that provides services to the vulnerable population in the Edmonton community.

The Bear Claw received $50,000 from USJE to fund the purchase of a food trailer that cost over $100,000. Bear Claw representatives are hopeful that the trailer will arrive in the next two months. In the meantime, they continue to serve the community using their personal vehicles. RVP Surette accompanied Bear Claw volunteers for an evening patrol, handing out food and clothing to area residents in three locations around the city.

Community organizations like the Bear Claw are the essence of public safety, and USJE is proud to partner with them on the food trailer project. Stay tuned for future updates from the Bear Claw and their new trailer! RVP Surette would like to extend his gratitude to RVP Kirsty Havard for her help in visiting Burnaby.