The City of Edmonton is laying off 900 employees amid financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Affected employees received layoff notices Monday morning, City Manager Adam Laughlin announced in a news conference.
“This decision does not reflect the quality of their work or the value we place on them,” Laughlin said.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Mayor Don Iveson added. “I’ve got about 1,000 hugs I want to give. We feel for all of the staff who are affected by this unfortunate decision.”
About half of the laid off employees are transit operators, Laughlin said. Liaison staff, administrative support staff, human resources employees, technical trainers, and data analysts have also been let go.
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The city is trying to soften the blow for laid-off employees by providing an allowance to top up the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments they’ll receive.
The city is not eligible for the 75% wage subsidy program for which businesses are eligible, because it is a municipality and not a private company. Iveson said he’s asking the federal government to reconsider this restriction.
This is the second round of pandemic-related layoffs at the city.
“We know how hard it is to lose a job. Especially one that you love,” Laughlin said.