Kawartha Conservation has reduced its full-time and contract staff by nearly 60 per cent effective April 24 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, providing only services deemed essential through the province’s declared state of emergency.
“This was an extremely difficult decision. There are no words to adequately reflect how much we struggled as an organization with this decision and the impact it will have on our staff,” said Kawartha Conservation CAO Mark Majchrowski.
Operating with a reduced staff, Kawartha Conservation will continue to provide necessary and essential services including flood forecasting and precipitation monitoring, source water protection and planning and permitting functions.
As a tax-supported organization, Kawartha Conservation is responsible to a board of directors comprised of representatives from six member municipalities.
“A lot of our member municipalities are struggling and have had to make the difficult choice to reduce their work forces, in some cases by several hundred employees,” said Majchrowski.
“We are in this struggle together and we need to recognize and adapt to the pressures our municipal partners, communities, businesses and the public is experiencing. The only way through this is together.”
The layoffs will impact business areas including outdoor education, watershed monitoring, citizen science projects, stewardship initiatives and administrative functions.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is not like anything any of us have experienced before,” said Majchrowski. “It has caused entire economies to stall and unprecedented hardships here locally as well as around the world.
“We know these are not easy times for any of us, and they will be particularly difficult for the staff we are having to temporarily lay off as a result,” Majchrowski continued.
“It is our sincere hope that all of us continue to do the things we need to do to help flatten the curve, and to get through this pandemic so we can begin re-integrating staff back into their positions as soon as possible.”