Friday, April 17, 2020 - 11:00 AM

Fast Facts on City Layoffs

Over the past few weeks, municipalities such as the City of Halifax and Calgary announced layoffs related to the pandemic. This has prompted questions from the local media and residents about layoffs at the City of St. John’s. No permanent employees have been laid off as a result of the pandemic. This is in line with the actions taken in most Canadian municipalities, with layoffs primarily impacting seasonal and casual employees.
 
The City of St. John’s made the difficult decision to reduce staffing levels in late March.
 
Beginning in early April, 179 employees received layoff notices as a result of Community Services program closures due to COVID-19. This included: 
  • 108 Casual Employees (such as Crossing Guards and Recreation Counsellors)
  • 71 Call-In Employees (such as Lifeguards)
These employees normally provide a service to the public that they cannot now perform, due to the pandemic.
 
These layoffs save the City approximately $100,000 biweekly. 
 
Once the pandemic is over and the City is able to resume recreation programming, we will look to rehire staff to meet the level of programming we are able to offer. 
 
The City has decided to retain its seasonal Parks Maintenance Workers.  In the event City parks open later this year amenities and open spaces must be maintained for public safety.
 
Additionally, prior to COVID-19 coming into place, a total of 175 casual summer positions in the recreation division were requisitioned for summer programs. We have proceeded with the hiring process, which takes some time to complete, for these positions with the understanding that if programming does not go ahead, positions will not be available. However, if there is an option to offer some level of programming and services during the summer months we will need to be ready, so some or all of these employees may be hired.
 
The City of St. John’s employs approximately 1200 dedicated and hard-working individuals who are committed to providing quality services to the residents of St. John’s. We are committed to our staff, and layoffs are not a decision we take lightly.
 
As with everything COVID-19 related, it is difficult to make predictions about future decisions regarding adjustments to service and staffing levels.