Coronavirus: City of Lethbridge lays off more than 200 staff members

City of Lethbridge lays off more than 200 employees due to COVID-19
More than 200 city employees have been laid off in Lethbridge this month, as the COVID-19 crisis impacts regular operations and budgeting. Emily Olsen reports.

The City of Lethbridge is providing details on staff layoffs related to COVID-19.

A total of 248 staff have been laid off: 244 casual positions and four permanent part-time roles.

“To ensure that those individuals have access to employment insurance and so that they can apply for that,” City Manager Jodi Meli said Monday.

Included in those layoffs: transit, the public library, the ENMAX Centre, city arenas, the Fritz Sick Centre and the Galt Museum.

READ MORE: ‘Business as usual’: Lethbridge first responders face COVID-19

“We are looking at all of our staffing models,” Meli said. 

“Especially as it relates to essential services. So we’re shifting some of those staff around right now to ensure we have healthy staff that can deliver essential services.”

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Edmonton lays off over 2,000 staff at city rec centres, public libraries due to COVID-19

The casual and non-permanent employees that remain are also working reduced hours, on an “as-needed” basis.

The city says it plans to bring casual employees back on at a later date.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

“Summer recall is also coming up where we do hire some staff to come back every year,” Meli added. 

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Alberta Health Services explains why there is less testing in South zone

“We’re looking at that as well to see what are our needs but also how can we potentially deploy staff differently.”

Recall will only take place once the city is able to resume its regular business.

The city hasn’t yet calculated the full financial savings the layoffs will provide. Officials say those numbers will be presented at a future council meeting.

Story continues below advertisement


READ MORE: Lethbridge couple reflects on getting stuck on cruise amid COVID-19 pandemic