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City of Kingston announces staffing reductions due to COVID-19 pandemic

Photo by Logan Cadue.

Approximately 55 full-time City of Kingston employees will be impacted by a “shortage of work” beginning Tuesday, May 19, 2020, according to a press release from the City.

The City said this temporary shortage of work is due to the extended closures and reduction of non-essential City services brought about due to the current pandemic. The staffing announcement affects full-time, unionized and non-unionized employees across the Corporation of the City of Kingston, particularly in Cultural Service and Recreation and Leisure, two departments whose operations have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic.

“Organizations and businesses across our community are feeling the financial pressures of the pandemic. The City of Kingston is not exempt. It is with a sincere heaviness that I announce that a temporary shortage of work will impact valued members of our team,” CAO Lanie Hurdle said in a statement.

The City went on to say they will “continue to explore every avenue to retain staff, such as re-deploying them when possible.” Since the City declared a State of Emergency, City employees have been re-deployed to work at several locations, including Rideaucrest Long-Term Care, Solid Waste, and Public Works, as well as to assist with preparation work at municipal marinas in accordance with Provincial direction.

At this time, it is unknown what resources the City may need in the coming months as emergency restrictions are lifted.

“It is not known when staff might be asked back to work. They are able to continue drawing on their City benefits,” the City said in the press release.

Additionally, the City has also made the “difficult decision” to suspend its student summer hiring program.

At this point, we are not proceeding with the hiring of summer students, as we are making every effort to redeploy our full-time staff to work within the corporation,” said Hurdle.

It has been more than six weeks since the City of Kingston declared a State of Emergency due to COVID-19. Acting on direction from KFL&A Public Health and following provincially mandated orders, City facilities have been closed, and non-essential services have been reduced, and in some cases cancelled, in order to protect both residents and staff.

“The City has two primary revenue sources: property taxes and user fees for services. With non-essential services and programs cancelled, and fees waived for many essential services, the corporation needed to take this difficult but necessary step. We owe it to taxpayers to do what we can to minimize the long-term impact of this crisis,” Hurdle said.

“Staff are the backbone and heart of this corporation. My colleagues who are impacted by today’s announcement are excellent at what they do. They are earnest and hardworking, and this is not a reflection of the quality of the important work that they do for the City, but of the challenging situation in which we find our community.”

Kingstonist has reached out to the City of Kingston for more information, and will update this article as more information becomes available.

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