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City of Ottawa putting more than 4,000 part-time employees on emergency leave

By taking this step, the city says it's allowing the employees to apply for the federal supports they need to ensure financial well-being.
2020-03-13 City of Ottawa Manager Steve Kanellakos
City of Ottawa Manager Steve Kanellakos, March 13, 2020. Photo/ City of Ottawa online stream

As the City of Ottawa extends its closure of public facilities and suspension of non-essential services, activities and programs, it's putting more than 4,000 of its part-time employees on a job-protected legislated leave of absence.

In consultation with Ottawa Public Health on Monday, the city extended the closure of facilities, services and large public gatherings until June 30, 2020, as part of an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The closure of city facilities and cancellation of programming has left many part-time employees without work, so the city worked with CUPE 503 to place about 4,000 staff members from its Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services Department (RCFS) and 280 part-time employees from the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) on an unpaid emergency leave, under the Employment Standards Act. 

The city explains, these are not permanent job reductions and those impacted will retain their status as City of Ottawa employees. By taking this step, the city says it's allowing its part-time employees to apply for federal supports to ensure their financial well-being.

"As we all respond to the impacts of COVID-19, the City of Ottawa is taking significant steps as an organization," says City of Ottawa Manager Steve Kanellakos. "While managing the day-to-day operations, staff are also looking at what a return to our new normal might look like. We anticipate that it may take many months to return the city to full service. I can assure you that we all look forward to the day when we can re-open our facilities, restore our impacted services, and bring our valued employees back to work."

The City of Ottawa will also defer its 2020 summer student employment program until May, and will review the viability of the program on a regular basis as the situation evolves. 

City staff will provide an update on its coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic at the City Council meeting on April 8.


Mike Vlasveld

About the Author: Mike Vlasveld

Mike Vlasveld, Digital Editor, CityNews Ottawa & the Valley
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