Fort St. John lays off 88 due to COVID-19 pandemic

The city has announced the temporary layoffs of 88 workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a press release Tuesday night, the city said notices were issued to BCGEU workers due to reduced operational demands at its recreation facilities. Benefits for eligible employees will continue and the city said it has committed to additional financial support.

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“This is an unprecedented and rapidly evolving situation where the COVID-19 preventative measures have impacted each of our lives and City operations. However, through this challenging time, we are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our employees and residents,” Mayor Lori Ackerman said in a statement.

Full release below:

On March 24, 2020, using a planned and principled approach, the City of Fort St. John has issued layoff notices to 88 British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) staff due to reduced operational demands. The health and safety of City staff and the citizens of Fort St John is of the utmost importance during this time.

The City is mindful of the impact of layoff notice to its affected staff and has committed to provide continuation of benefits for eligible employees and additional financial support.

“This is an unprecedented and rapidly evolving situation where the COVID-19 preventative measures have impacted each of our lives and City operations. However, through this challenging time, we are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our employees and residents,” stated Mayor Lori Ackerman.

“Due to the reduced operational demands, we are forced to temporarily layoff a portion of our great staff. This painful, but necessary, decision reflects our desire to provide clarity and surety to our employees during this period of unknown. The City’s goal is to provide our employees with access to the benefits required to ensure the health of themselves and their families,” said City Manager Dianne Hunter.

“We continue to work collaboratively with our BCGEU Staff Representative during this time to ensure the health and safety of our employees is our first priority. Everyone is affected by this pandemic, and we work together in hopes of returning to normal operations in the near future,” said Director of Human Resources Rashid Hasan.

Further updates on the City of Fort St. John operations will be provided at fortstjohn.ca/covid19 and shared through the City’s social media channels. For information on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the Province of BC website at www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support or BC Centre for Disease Control website at www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19.  

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