Mississauga temporarily cuts over 1,000 jobs due to second lockdown

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The City of Mississauga recently announced that it has been forced to lay-off over 1,000 employees due to the second lockdown and associated shutdowns and closures. 

The news comes a little over a week after the city entered the Grey-Lockdown level of Ontario's COVID-19 response framework, along with the rest of Peel (Brampton and Caledon) and Toronto. The lockdown, imposed on Nov. 23, has resulted in the closure of city-operated community centres (including pools, fitness centres and arenas) and cultural facilities (such as the Small Arms Building, Museums of Mississauga, the Living Arts Centre and Meadowvale Theatre). 

All indoor team sports activities and indoor in-person recreation programs are cancelled as a result of the lockdown.

Because of the closures, the city said it had to make the "difficult decision" to temporarily lay-off approximately 1,100 part-time employees who work at affected facilities. The lay-offs will go into effect on Dec. 7, 2020.

Back in March, the province-wide lockdown forced the city to lay-off approximately 2,000 employees, some of which it was able to call back when the city reopened in the summer. 

"This decision is especially difficult given the hard year we have all had. The city is facing significant financial pressures as a result of this second lockdown. In order to be fiscally responsible, we must take action to respond to the facility closures and their impact on our operations," said Mayor Bonnie Crombie in a statement.

"This is not where we wanted to be. But I truly believe that Mississauga can come together, right here and right now, to get this situation under control. I am again urging everyone to stay home expect when going out for the essentials, and to please limit their in-person contact to just their immediate households and essential supports." 

The majority of lay-offs impact part-time employees in community services. Many employees are expected to receive benefits through the Canada Recovery Benefit, the city says.

"As the city had to enter a second lock-down in order to protect the health and safety of employees and residents, we made the difficult decision to lay off part-time staff in non-essential services. I know that employees are under a lot of anxiety and stress, especially so close to the holiday season," said Paul Mitcham, Chief Administrative Officer and City Manager, in a statement.

"Due to financial pressures we are seeing on our 2020 financial results, we have to mitigate the financial impact from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The lay-offs are a direct result of city program cancellations and facility closures, not having work available for part-time employees during the shut-down of non-essential services. We will continue to assess the impact of the lockdown to city operations, communicate with those impacted and have made our employee and family assistance program available to all staff during this difficult time." 

The city says fire, transit, 311, animal control, building permit/inspection, security and other essential services will remain active and operational during the second lockdown. 

Mississauga is expected to remain in lockdown until at least Dec. 21. 

Cover photo courtesy of @idris.yyz

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