City lays off more than 200 part-time and contract employees

By Kirk Winter

Kawartha Lakes has announced the layoff of over 200 employees currently on the city payroll.

The layoff notices were issued to 200 part-time, temporary, contract and seasonal staff, announced during a recent press scrum. An additional 70 seasonal summer student jobs were either put on hold or suspended.

The layoffs were blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of all non-essential Kawartha Lakes facilities.

One city employee contacted for background asked for anonymity before sharing the following:

“We really weren’t surprised by the layoff notices. There had been significant in-house speculation what was going to happen to us for days now. We believe and hope that once the pandemic runs its course that we will be back to work and things will be back to normal. What is frightening is that there are no guarantees when this new normal will return, and for some part timers who have worked for the city for a very long time waiting for full-time positions to become available the prospect of a long or indefinite layoff is stressful.”

The city is hoping that staff will qualify for one of the many COVID-19 assistance plans being rolled out by either the provincial or federal government.

Kawartha Lakes was not the only municipality to share bad news with their unionized staff as Peterborough County chose the same day to lay off 321 part-time employees and five full time employees, some of whom reside in Kawartha Lakes.

Peterborough let go adult crossing guards, arena workers, library staff, sports and wellness centre workers and a number of their daycare staff, according to a press release. With Peterborough announcing closures of all non-essential facilities until May 31, laid off staff will be looking at a minimum of six weeks without work.

One Peterborough County employee described the situation as one of “too many workers and not enough work.”

“As long as non-essential buildings remain closed there will be no need for that staff till COVID-19 is a distant memory. No one is sure when that is going to be. It could be days, weeks or even months.”

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