The City of Red Deer has temporarily laid off 63 permanent part-time and full-time staff members working at city recreation facilities.
The city issued temporary work interruption notices to the employees on Friday as part of Red Deer’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The decision to adjust staffing levels is never easy and it is not something we take lightly,” said city manager Allan Seabrooke.
“Without revenue from these facilities, it was a very difficult, but necessary decision as we consider our role as stewards of tax payers’ dollars.”
In accordance with the mandatory public health measures announced on Dec. 8 by the provincial government, all city recreation facilities closed on Dec. 12.
Since then, staff have been redeployed throughout the organization, assisting with priority work in other departments, completing essential recreation projects and working to ensure programs, services, systems and amenities are ready for reopening in the future. Additionally, approximately 100 casual staff members have not been scheduled in recreation facilities since Dec. 12.
The temporary work interruptions include customer service staff, lifeguards, program staff, custodians and maintenance workers.
“Key staff” have been retained, the city said in a press release, to ensure the ongoing safety and security of recreation facilities, and to continue planning for reopening as soon as is possible.
On Friday, the provincial government provided a plan for the gradual easing of public health measures.
In the coming days, the City of Red Deer will review and assess this plan to determine its impact on City operations.
“In recent months, recreation staff have been nimble, adapting quickly to new and changing public health measures. I want to thank all of them for their hard work and dedication to providing vital recreation services to our community. We look forward to the day when we can welcome both staff and citizens back to our facilities,” said Seabrooke.
Staff on temporary work interruptions will continue to have access to most of their benefits, including mental health supports. The city worked with affected unions as part of the temporary work interruption process, including the Canadian Union of Public Employees.