Agriculture Financial Services Corporation reacts after taking heat from the mayor of Lacombe
Creasey wrote that the policy allows staff to work remotely, from anywhere in Canada.
âOur board is very concerned about this decision as it erodes employment opportunities both provincially and locally,â Creasey wrote. âWe believe Albertans should be aware of the implications when organizations outsource jobs to rural communities like Lacombe and Athabasca.
Creasey also cited a situation he found similar involving Athabasca University, which adopted a ânear-virtualâ model, according to the city’s mayor, Colleen Powell. Powell wrote a column in the Edmonton Journal on October 19 berating the move, saying it would cut employment in his community by 500 high-quality jobs.
Athabasca University said rdnewsNOW he does not intend to respond to Powell’s opinion piece.
AFSC CEO Darryl Kay tells us that of its 600 employees, six are currently working outside the province. Five of them are salaried and one earns an hourly wage.
He admits that while the “work outside policy” will remain in place regardless of what happens with the pandemic, that does not mean that future turnover will inevitably result in more people out of the province taking jobs.
âThe priority would be in Lacombe, but it would also be very rare for us to hire from outside the province. As a provincial crown corporation, this is the right thing for us to do, âsays Kay.
âI certainly understand Mayor Creasey’s concerns, and standing up for the city is important, but I want to be very clear that the suggestion that we could turn our central office here into a post office box is just not true. I can assure you that the AFSC will play an important role in Lacombe, although we now have different arrangements with the people working from home.
We reached out to Creasey on November 3 to see if he was sticking to the way his column was worded and the information it included.
Creasey says he doesn’t agree with any idea the column has stated pessimistically, noting his joy at hearing both the low numbers and Kay’s commitment to Lacombe.
âI don’t think I was necessarily optimistic or pessimistic, as much as I was realistic in stating the danger of this type of job orientation. In addition, it is given that this entity was founded by a law which specifically identifies Lacombe as its head office, and as such would suggest that these people work here, âhe said, referring to the Agricultural Financial Services Regulation, and adding that the Alberta taxpayer will foot the bill.
âI think what I presented was factual, and I was not in any way, form or form suggesting that (the Athabasca University situation) was the precise picture here. However, a remote working policy, in general, allows that sort of thing to happen, and I think without shedding light now, I’m afraid it could go in that direction.
The regulation mentions Lacombe in Part 1, Section 3, stating that Alberta is to be the location of the company’s head office.
Creasey and Kay met in person to discuss this and other topics on Thursday.