PSAC workers vote in favour of strike action and the top stolen vehicles in Ottawa: Top 5 stories this week

Federal public workers move one-step closer to a strike, the federal government make a last-minute offer to buy Wellington Street and Jeep Wranglers/Gladiators are the most stolen vehicles in Ottawa so far this year. looks at the top five stories on our website this week.

More than 155,000 federal public service workers are in a legal strike position, as contract talks continue between the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the federal government.

On Wednesday, PSAC announced its members, who work for Treasury Board, voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of strike action to back demands for a new contract.

“PSAC members are feeling squeezed along with everyone else,” national president Chris Aylward told a news conference in Ottawa on Wednesday.

“Our members have been without a contract since 2021. Today, an overwhelming majority of our members have told us they can’t wait any longer, and they are prepared to strike to secure a fair deal that won’t see them fall behind.”

On April 7, 35,000 Canada Revenue Agency workers voted in favour of strike action.

“Our members don’t take the decision to strike lightly. They know that a strike will be difficult for them and for the Canadians who depend on the services they provide. But they’re exercising their bargaining power because they just can’t wait any longer. … They’re sending a message to the government that they won’t be taken for granted,” Aylward said.

Contract talks continued all week between PSAC and the Treasury Board. Talks will resume on Monday between the Canada Revenue Agency and PSAC-Union of Taxation Employees.

A strike by public servants could impact dozens of federal services. For a full list, click here

The organization that oversees Indigenous status under the Nunavut Agreement is asking the RCMP to investigate the actions of two Kingston sisters and their adoptive mother, following an investigation into their Inuk status.

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc (NTI) and Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) issued a statement on Thursday saying Amira and Nadya Gill have been removed from the Inuit Enrolment List, and the RCMP has been asked to investigate the actions of the Gill sisters, along with their adoptive mother Karima Manji, in applying for enrolment under the Nunavut Act.

Amira and Nadya Gill are twin sisters who hold status as Inuk. How they got that status was being investigated for potential fraud by Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.

On Thursday, the NTI said the Iqaluit Community Enrolment Committee made the decision on April 6 to remove Amira and Nadya Gill from the Inuit Enrolment List.

Sisters Amira Gill (left) and Nadya Gill. (Nadya Gill/Supplied)

The federal government has offered to buy a section of Wellington Street from the city of Ottawa with the goal of keeping it permanently closed to vehicles, CTV News has learned.

However, Mayor Mark Sutcliffe rejected the federal minister’s request to keep the road closed to traffic until the city and the federal government finalize a deal, and the road is set to reopen in front of Parliament Hill in the next two to three weeks.

The April 4 letter from Public Works and Procurement Minister Helena Jaczek obtained by CTV News asks Sutcliffe to explore the possibility of establishing an “interim care and control agreement” that would keep the road closed.

“The objective of this agreement would be to address the immediate security imperative by maintaining the current road closure, while providing the City and the federal government time to establish a fair deal and launch planning activities.”

The stretch of Wellington Street has been closed since the ‘Freedom Convoy’ protest rolled into town in January 2022. Ottawa city council voted earlier this year to reopen it to vehicle traffic. Officials said this week it’s scheduled to open in late April or early May.

City of Ottawa crews install a traffic signal on Wellington Street on Wednesday, April 12, 2023. The installation of traffic signals is one of several things that must be done before the road reopens to vehicle traffic this spring. (Jim O’Grady/CTV News Ottawa)

Ottawa police are seeing a rise in reported vehicle thefts, with approximately 100 higher-end luxury SUVs and pickup trucks stolen each month so far this year.

Statistics provided to CTV News Ottawa by Ottawa police show the Jeep Wranglers/Gladiators top the list of stolen vehicles so far this year, with 66 vehicles reported stolen. Number two on the list is the Toyota Highlanders, with 49 vehicles reported stolen, followed by 45 Honda CRVs and 31 Dodge Ram Trucks.

“We’re probably seeing about 20 to 30 per cent recovery rate,” says Det. Douglas Belanger, explaining those stats are for these types of higher-end SUVs or pickup trucks, which are generally stolen for export or “re-vining.” 

Belanger says so far this year, there have been 49 arrests connected to stolen vehicles.

A 56-year-old Meaford, Ont. man is facing charges after Ontario Provincial Police officers found inert hand grenades in a vehicle during a traffic stop on Hwy. 401 in eastern Ontario.

The eastbound lanes of Hwy. 401 in Cornwall, Ont. were closed for several hours on Tuesday while police investigated a potential explosive device.

Ontario Provincial Police say an officer conducting a traffic stop for speeding spotted a loaded handgun, police-related clothing and gear, and what appeared to be a hand grenade in the vehicle.

“As a precautionary measure, the eastbound lanes of Highway 401 were closed near County Road 27 and the Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) was called to assist,” the OPP said.

During the investigation, police confirmed the two devices were inert hand grenades, meaning they were unable to explode.

Police officers search a vehicle on Highway 401 eastbound near Cornwall, Ont. April 11, 2023. Eastbound lanes of the highway are closed for a police investigation. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa)

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