PSAC strike shuts off heat in offices, housing buildings at CFB Petawawa

After it was revealed on Wednesday that roughly 700 military members at Garrison Petawawa were living on base without heating or hot water due to the public service strike, CTV News has learned the extent of that impact is more widespread at the Petawawa, Ont. base.

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 tells CTV News that the Department of National Defence is 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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