EEDC announces more layoffs, pay cuts and senior leadership departures amid COVID-19 crisis

The logo for the EEDC. CREDIT:

The Edmonton Economic Development Corporation is temporarily laying off about 105 additional full-time staff as it struggles with its financial situation amid the public health crisis caused by the novel coronavirus.

Last month, the agency owned by the City of Edmonton laid temporarily laid off about 1,100 hourly staff after the Edmonton Convention Centre and Edmonton Expo Centre closed to the public.

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

In a news release issued Tuesday, the EEDC said the new layoffs are among several “difficult but necessary steps” it has been forced to take because it has been “significantly impacted by the measures put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus.”

“As a result, EEDC’s senior leadership team is addressing the unprecedented financial situation by balancing organizational needs, the economic reality of the crisis and fiduciary responsibilities as a publicly funded organization,” the organization said.

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The EEDC said the layoffs “will impact the entire organization at every level and in every business unit.”

The organization said there would be salary rollbacks for all employees, including members of the senior leadership team, and that those salary reductions will be scaled based on the classification in the organization. It noted that senior leadership will receive the highest percentage salary rollback.

The EEDC also said several members of its senior leadership team have already departed as a result of downsizing, including CEO Derek Hudson, vice-president of research and strategy Glen Vanstone and vice-president of Innovate Edmonton Cheryll Watson.

“I’m as shocked and disappointed as all of you,” Watson tweeted on Tuesday. “I’d like to provide reassurance but want to be clear: this decision is concerning.

“The work we’ve been doing to support #yegtech has effectively been stopped.”

A spokesperson for the organization said those executive departures “were made to reflect the changing operational and fiscal realities of the organization” and noted “these staffing changes are not temporary.”

“the organization is experiencing tremendous revenue reduction due to the closure of its two venues, cancellation of events and a reduction in funding from various sources,” the EEDC said. “As a result, there is also a shift in the type of work [the] EEDC is currently doing and the volume of that work.
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“During this time, EEDC’s senior leadership team has been having been having daily discussions to proactively assess the evolving COVID-19 situation and respond to EEDC’s financial situation.”

READ MORE: Edmonton’s economic development model due for a shake up: report

The organization added that as it continues to focus on its new priorities, including the visitor economy, it will also serve to “steward the work of Innovate Edmonton” and continue to “assist clients during the transition to a new innovation entity.”

The EEDC’s mandate has been primarily to recommend economic development policy and strategy for the City of Edmonton.

Watch below: Some recent Global News videos about the economy in Alberta.

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