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Coronavirus: City of Guelph temporarily lays off 601 employees

Click to play video 'Ontario business closures force thousands of layoffs amid COVID-19 outbreak' Ontario business closures force thousands of layoffs amid COVID-19 outbreak
In the last week, the government has received nearly half-a-million EI applications. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the closure of thousands of businesses resulting in mass layoffs. Albert Delitala reports.

The City of Guelph says it has temporarily laid off 601 casual and part-time employees in response to the closures and suspension of non-essential services during the coronavirus pandemic.

The layoffs include employees who deliver recreation programs, school crossing guards and some library workers.

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“Our employees are the heart of our organization,” CAO Scott Stewart said. “This is not an action we wanted to take but one we needed to as COVID-19 continues to affect our community and some services we’re able to deliver.”

The city said they are ensuring the affected employees have access to government support services such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit program and employment insurance.

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Like many other communities, Guelph is being forced to scale back its workforce. The city said they are adapting to be able to to deliver community services while taking fiscal action in line with the new economic reality.

READ MORE: ‘A life-altering experience’: Brantford, Ont. man recovering from COVID-19

“We remain committed to providing the critical and essential services our community relies on,” said Stewart.

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As of Friday morning, Guelph was reporting 30 positive cases and one death related to COVID-19. Outbreaks have been declared at Guelph General Hospital and Homewood Health Centre.