Edmonton & Area News

City of Edmonton permanently lays off staff

EDMONTON – Layoff notices have been issued to City of Edmonton employees as part of the organization’s 2021 budget reduction plan. 

In December of last year, city council approved $49.9 million in budget reductions to arrive at a tax levy increase of zero per cent for 2021. Those reductions include reducing the city’s workforce by about 300 positions. 

“We used a number of financial strategies to meet the zero per cent budget target, including cutting expenses and finding efficiencies,” said Kim Armstrong, Deputy City Manager of Employee Services. “But there was no way to reach our budget reduction targets without reducing staff numbers.” 

The process to reduce positions starts this month with the issuing of approximately 60 layoff notices. About one quarter are for management and three quarters are for union employees. In order to fully achieve budget impacts, further reductions will likely continue through 2021.

The city was able to substantially reduce the number of actual layoffs by cutting some positions that had been kept vacant through most of last year, moving people to other vacant positions, and through other workforce strategies including an early retirement and voluntary layoff program. 

“The weeks ahead will be challenging for many people in our organization. We are approaching these conversations with compassion and providing support to our leaders and our employees,” said Armstrong. 

The city continues to review programs and monitor revenues, and there may be additional adjustments in the months ahead. During budget discussions with council in December, city administration recommended reductions that minimized direct impacts to Edmontonians.