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Roughly half of city staff laid off since start of COVID-19 pandemic

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The City of Grande Prairie has cut roughly 50 per cent of its staff since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March. The latest round of layoffs Tuesday saw 60 workers receive layoff notices and 45 moved to spring and summer temporary positions.

“We are pretty much bare-bones right now in terms of staffing and sustaining core operations of the city,” says City Manager Horacio Galanti.

The most recent cuts were made from departments and locations across the city, including Revolution Place, Coca-Cola Centre, Eastlink Centre, transit, sport development, wellness and culture, planning and engineers, and the RCMP civilian support unit. Galanti says the city’s current plan revolves around matching the demand of services and supply of personnel.

“We have many city facilities that are closed… so there is no work there. However, departments like the fire department, RCMP, or permitting and regulatory related departments continue operating.”

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One of the city’s core services that has seen major cuts is the transit program. Galanti says the solutions they’ve had to come up with show a bit of creativity.

“We are changing the system, and [instead] of running the buses constantly empty, we are switching more to an on-demand system.”

Galanti suggests that while there may be more tweaks made to city services, but notes that not much more can be cut. The same goes for staffing levels.

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