Finning Canada continues to trim its payroll, with the company’s Red Deer operations among those affected.
Jeff Howard, publications manager with the Edmonton-based heavy equipment dealer, confirmed on Thursday that 23 employees at Finning’s Centre of Excellence in Red Deer lost their jobs this week.
They were among 170 Finning workers in Western Canada who were laid off.
Howard said the Red Deer cuts mainly affected support positions in the centre’s new-equipment-preparation division. These included heavy-duty technicians and apprentices.
One of the key functions of the Centre of Excellence is preparing and customizing new machinery prior to its delivery to customers.
Finning laid off 69 Red Deer workers in March and several more cut in November, when the company eliminated 160 positions in Alberta and British Columbia.
Howard said most of the earlier layoffs also related to equipment preparation.
“Our business levels just aren’t as high as they were last year,” he said, explaining that it’s necessary to scale back operations to reflect this.
Howard pointed out that the Centre of Excellence’s other major division, which focuses on the overhaul of used machinery, remains busy.
“We’ve had several years where we’ve sold a lot of equipment and that’s out working now. So customers are looking to overhaul their equipment rather than buying new.”
With this week’s layoffs, the staff count at the Red Deer Centre of Excellence stands at 257, said Howard. Finning also has 58 employees at a separate dealer branch in Red Deer.
Across Western Canada, Finning employs about 4,000 people.
Finning Canada is part of Finning International, which is headquartered in Vancouver and the largest Caterpillar equipment dealer in the world. It supplies machinery for the forestry, mining, construction and other industries.
Finning Canada opened the Centre of Innovation in Red Deer last year, after buying Collicutt Energy Services Ltd. — including its Edgar Industrial Park facilities — in January.