Calgary Sport and Entertainment issues temporary layoffs during COVID-19 pandemic

Signs on the doors of the Saddledome, home of the Calgary Flames, are seen in Calgary on March 12, 2020.
Signs on the doors of the Saddledome, home of the Calgary Flames, are seen in Calgary on March 12, 2020. The Canadian Press

The Calgary Sport and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC), which owns the Calgary Flames and other sports teams in the city, has issued temporary layoffs and salary rollbacks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ MORE: Calgary sport organizations launch website to unite community amid COVID-19 outbreak

The organization said Monday that 150 employees — about 50 per cent of its full-timers — have been given two weeks’ notice for a 60-day layoff, which will start on April 13.

The CSEC said it has received consent from Service Canada to launch a supplemental unemployment benefit so it can offer laid off employees an employment insurance top up payment, meaning these workers will have the lowest net decrease in compensation within the corporation. The organization said it will also continue to pay employees’ health and dental benefits.

The roughly 150 remaining employees will see their salaries cut by 10 to 25 per cent, the CSEC said. The rate of reduction increases with the salary, meaning executive management will have the highest cuts.

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Click to play video 'City of Calgary announces layoffs amid coronavirus outbreak' City of Calgary announces layoffs amid coronavirus outbreak
City of Calgary announces layoffs amid coronavirus outbreak

“The health and safety of our employees, fans, customers and the general public remain our top priorities,” said president and CEO John Bean.

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“We are working extremely hard to limit the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has on our employees. The implementation of this cost reduction plan will provide predictability of income to our staff while minimizing the negative impact on their financial health and that of the business.”

The staff who aren’t being laid off are essential to navigating the crisis, Bean said, and help prepare for the time when things start getting back to normal.

“We are so grateful for the dedication, work ethic, understanding and patience of all our employees throughout this difficult situation,” Bean said.

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Five new fatalities from COVID-19 were reported in Alberta on Monday, bringing the total number of deaths to eight. The province has a total of 690 cases. Officials believe 65 of those cases are the result of community transmission.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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