News Release - April 30th, 2020 - Additional Staff Layoffs
Today the Edmonton Catholic School Division will begin informing 708 staff that they will be laid off as of April 30, 2020. This is in response to the funding changes made by Alberta Education following the cancellation of classes due to COVID-19. On March 28th, the provincial government announced funding cuts and Divisions were asked to layoff educational assistants, replacement staff and other staff who are deemed non-essential while students are out of school. The reduction in Alberta Education funding translates into $5.7 million for Edmonton Catholic Schools. Of the 708 staff that will be laid off, 90 employees are funded through the Federal Jordan’s Principle grant that also ends at the end of April so we have added these employees to the overall number as they are also being laid off. Jordan’s Principle is a Federal grant that provides additional support to Indigenous students.
The world is going through unprecedented change due to the Pandemic and all of us are faced with a new reality. Students are learning remotely in virtual classrooms since classes have been cancelled indefinitely.
“These employees are extremely valued and it is very difficult to issue layoff notices due to a provincial government reduction in funding,” said Laura Thibert, Board Chair. “The Board’s expectation is that Alberta Education will restore funding as soon as classes resume,” added Thibert.
There are 691 Unifor employees affected and these include 479 Educational Assistants. Other positions include Therapeutic Assistants (Behavioural Therapy, Speech Language and Occupational Therapy), Media Resources support staff, Administrative Support, Licensed Practical Nurses and Instructors in the areas of Second Language programming, Career and Technology Services (CTS) and Fine Arts.
An additional 17 employees from the Out of Scope employee group and AUPE are also affected. These positions include Behavioural Specialists, Psychologists, Fitness Instructors and Youth Coordinators.
“Many of these employees are the first person students see each day and they are an important part of a student’s life,” said Robert Martin, Acting Superintendent, Edmonton Catholic Schools. Acting Superintendent Joe Naccarato added: “We thank staff for their dedication and look forward to welcoming these employees back once classes resume.”
Employees who are laid off and have continuous designation will continue to receive health benefits until August 31, 2020. We are encouraging all affected Support Staff to assess their eligibility to apply for all government benefits being offered by the Federal Government such as Employment Insurance and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).