COVID-19 forces City to place 127 full-time employees on declared emergency leave

Guelph, Ont., April 17, 2020—In response to continuing closures and the Province’s changes to the list of essential services, the City of Guelph is temporarily placing 127 full-time employees on declared emergency leave.

The move affects both union and non-union employees across the organization whose work has been affected by extended facility closures and service level reductions. It does not affect the delivery of critical services such as first response, water, wastewater, waste pickup, and transit.

The change means the City will avoid $745,000 in compensation each month while employees are on leave. This is in addition to the $320,000 per month the City is mitigating with the temporary layoff of casual and part-time employees earlier this month.

“These additional staffing changes reflect the severity of the fiscal challenges Guelph is facing as it manages the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Scott Stewart, Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Guelph. “Today’s decision is a painful one; our employees are the heart of our organization and they work hard every day to serve our community. But this global pandemic has deeply affected the work we’re able to deliver, and like it has for so many organizations, it’s had a significant impact on the City’s financial sustainability.”

Council approved the decision at its emergency meeting last night.

“In these extraordinarily difficult times, Guelph City Council is tasked with balancing our responsibility to City staff, who are the backbone of our organization and who we care very deeply about, with our fiscal responsibility to Guelph’s taxpayers and the community we serve,” said Mayor Cam Guthrie. “On behalf of Council, my message to all City staff is this: this decision has not been made lightly. We value you and we appreciate your hard work and dedication to our residents.”

The City is supporting affected employees by ensuring they know about the resources available to them including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, and by maintaining access to health benefits.

“I want our employees to know this is short-term and that when the world emerges on the other side of this virus, we’ll get you back to work in a heartbeat,” said Stewart.


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Media Contact

Tara Sprigg, General Manager, Corporate Communications and Customer Service
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2610
[email protected]