4,280 part-time City of Ottawa employees laid off due to COVID-19 pandemic
OTTAWA -- Four-thousand part-time employees at the City of Ottawa are being temporarily laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The layoffs come as the City of Ottawa estimates it’s losing $1 million a day in revenue due to facility closures and the cancellation of municipal programs and services.
“In the midst of this fight against COVID-19, the City of Ottawa, like all municipalities across Canada, is having to make difficult decisions to live within our means,” said Mayor Jim Watson.
The Mayor announced the city is extending the closure of all City facilities, non-essential services and large public gatherings to June 30. All city facilities and services have been closed since March 16 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a memo in Councillors, City Manager Steve Kanellakos said “no new facility use or special events permits will be issued by the City until the Medical Officer of Health declares it is safe to do so, as part of the dedicated effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
Approximately 4,000 part-time employees will be laid off from the Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services Department.
Approximately 280 part-time employees from the Ottawa Public Library are being placed on unpaid, job protected leave of absence.
Kanellakos told reporters “during this period that our facilities are closed, there is insufficient work” for the part-time employees.
The city says the layoffs are not permanent reductions and those impacted will retain their status as City of Ottawa employees. Kanellakos says the layoffs will allow part-time employees to apply for federal funding supports while the municipal facilities are closed.
Losing $1 million a day
Council will receive an update during Wednesday’s meeting on the city’s finances and options to find savings in the budget.
The city is losing approximately $1 million a day in revenue due to the closures.
Kanellakos told reporters on Monday afternoon that the layoffs will save the city $2.7 million a month in expenditures.
The City Manager did say while Ottawa has enough cash to run its operations in 2020, there will be a “significant deficit” in the end of the year budget.