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City of Vancouver temporarily lays off 1,500 workers due to COVID-19 crisis

B.C. cities begin laying off municipal employees
WATCH: B.C. cities begin laying off municipal employees

The City of Vancouver says around 1,500 employees have been temporarily laid off due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Deputy city manager Paul Mochrie said the layoffs largely affected workers at community centres, theatres, and libraries.

City of Vancouver to use community centres to house homeless during COVID-19 crisis
City of Vancouver to use community centres to house homeless during COVID-19 crisis

Those employees will have “pay continuity” for up to 42 days and extended health benefits for three months, he said.

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“When we begin to reopen city services and recall workers, the agreement has employees coming back to their original positions,” Mochrie said.

The City of Vancouver declared a state of emergency due to the novel coronavirus on March 18.

Enforcing social distancing during the coronavirus crisis
Enforcing social distancing during the coronavirus crisis

The City of Surrey says 140 regular staff and around 1,900 part-time and auxiliary staff have been temporarily laid off amid the pandemic. The city will provide 28 days of pay continuity for part-time and auxiliary staff and 42 days for regular staff.

Meanwhile, Delta Mayor George Harvie said the pandemic has forced more than 500 municipal employees to be laid off.

READ MORE: Growing concern for B.C.’s homeless as coronavirus cases continue to mount

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The decision was made with the union and affects auxiliary and temporary workers in all departments.

“Personally, it’s extremely tough. I have extremely good staff here,” Harvie said, adding there could be a second wave of layoffs down the road.

— With files from John Hua