The provincial NDP and the SGEU are expressing concerns after learning the ISC office in Prince Albert is one of three slated to close.
ISC announced Thursday that customer service centres in Humboldt, Prince Albert and Yorkton will close effective the end of the business day on Friday, Oct. 4.
ISC operated the land titles office in the South Hill Mall. They provide registry and information management for public data and records in relation to land titles, liens, legal survey plans, maps and corporate registries.
The offices are closing because of the reduced use of counter services.
A total of 16 positions will be lost across the three offices that are closing. Three more positions are being cut from Regina’s customer service centre.
“With fewer customers accessing counter service and increasing use of online services, ISC is adjusting operations in response to these trends in the business environment,” ISC said in a written statement. “Business decisions that impact people—whether it be our employees, customers or our communities—are never easy to make, and we approach these decisions with careful consideration.”
The corporation emphasized that customers will still be able to use online services or contact them by phone at 1-866-275-4721.
Customers can still access counter service in Saskatoon, Regina, North Battleford, Moose Jaw and Swift Current.
Prince Albert Northcote MLA Nicole Rancourt said it was “disappointing” that Prince Albert would be losing the ISC counter service.
“Our first thoughts are with those individuals that will be losing jobs,” she said.
“I feel this is a really troubling announcement. The third-largest urban centre in Saskatchewan will lose this valuable service. This will not only impact people from Prince Albert but impact all the people from communities surrounding Prince Albert.”
Rancourt acknowledged that online options will still exist.
‘Some situations land titles (offices) deal with are sensitive in nature. It’s really important that an individual has the opportunity to go into the office and have that one-on-one contact,” she continued.
“I would think people would assume the third-largest city in the province would have this service available. People are going to notice the loss of this office.”
Rancourt said the closure likely wouldn’t have happened if the services ISC provides on behalf of the province hadn’t been privatized. She said it’s another example of privatization costing the city jobs.
SGEU, which represents the workers affected by the layoffs, said the service they provide cannot be replaced.
“These offices and members provided hands-on expertise to the public, which unfortunately will no longer be available in these communities,” said SGEU president Bob Bymoen in a press release.
“These are dedicated workers who are experts in their field, and while some services are now online, a computer simply cannot replace the expertise these members provided to the public.”