Heat to be restored at Garrison Petawawa during PSAC strike

Heat and hot water will return to Garrison Petawawa, after roughly 700 military members living on the base and office staff were without heat for three days during the strike by public service workers.

Officials with Garrison Petawawa tells CTV News Ottawa public service workers at the central heating plant on the base have now been deemed essential, and the plant will soon be back in operation.

“I just don’t know when the plant will be operational, Garrison is currently working on that,” an official said in a statement.

On Thursday, CTV News Ottawa reported approximately 700 military members living on the base in Petawawa were without heat or hot water after some federal workers were deemed non-essential during the Public Service Alliance of Canada strike and the plant was shut down.

CTV News learned on Friday that the extent of the impact was more widespread, with offices on the base also without heat.

Offices on the base are also without heat, affecting the workers that come in to work on site.

“It was freezing,” said Capt. Glenn Mowat, who works at CFB Petawawa’s Transition Centre, which helps armed forces’ members’ transition out of the military to civilian life.

“It’s not just the living quarters, it’s the offices too,” Mowat told CTV News. “All the heat is centrally located and run.”

The on base central heating plant was shut down Wednesday morning when public service workers who operate the site were deemed non-essential and sent to the picket line.

“Well, we had to send some guys home who were living in the shacks. They’re now working from home and my whole office has been sent home to work from home today.”

PSAC Local 629 President Randy Phinney hopes the irony of the situation – the fact that armed forces members are working from home due to the fact PSAC members are striking partially for remote work language – will present itself at the bargaining table.

“Hopefully (Treasury Board President) Mona Fortier will realize that with these people working remote because of this situation, it will actually prove that this type of service can work,” Phinney said.

Fortier says she is aware of the soldiers’ situation in Petawawa.

“I’m very concerned by the services being disrupted. I know that essential services are continuing but there are others that are making it so it is not business as usual.”

Garrison Petawawa told CTV News Ottawa earlier in the day on Friday that the Department of National Defence was working at the national level to determine which workers are essential and which are not.

“On the base itself, we have infrastructure that needs to be maintained and without the workers, the trades people, these services are not provided,” Phinney said.

“We have to make sure that we get to a deal so we can get back to delivering our services,” added Fortier.

Garrison Petawawa says the safety and wellbeing of its members is a priority, which led to the decision to send workers home.

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