City of Coquitlam temporarily lays off 800 employees

Apr 9 2020, 5:07 pm

Municipal governments across Metro Vancouver are being forced to use layoff measures to provide some temporary relief to their operating budgets, and the City of Coquitlam is no exception.

In an open letter today from city council to residents, it was announced that approximately 800 auxiliary employees mainly working within the recreation facilities and programs departments — areas of city operations that have shut down to prevent the spread of COVID-19 — have been temporarily laid off.

The city says the closures and operational changes have impacted their budgeted revenue from user fees. Along with the layoffs, they have made operational savings in other areas and adjusted the timeline of upcoming capital projects, in order to ensure the municipality can focus on its essential services.

“The world is a much different place today than it was even a month ago… We are also taking a close look across our organization to find savings, along with opportunities to minimize the impact on residents and businesses,” reads the letter.

To provide some financial relief to residents and small businesses, the utility bill payment deadline has been deferred from March to September, and the city is collaborating with other municipal governments in the region to lobby the provincial government to expand property tax deferral initiatives.

“We are considering both the immediate short-term need and the long-term impact on the City’s ability to recover, the services we provide, and the taxpayers who pay for them,” continues the letter.

With the long weekend approaching and the forecast for warm and sunny weather, the city is also reminding the public to stay home as much as possible, only perform essential trips, and practice proper physical distancing.

Those who use parks and trails, which remain open at this time, are recommended to choose less-popular destinations and go at off-peak times.