Calgary’s Bow Valley College and Medicine Hat College announce layoffs
Alberta’s post-secondary institutions have suffered further blows with the announcement of layoffs at colleges in Calgary and Medicine Hat.
Calgary’s Bow Valley College has told 25 workers that they are being temporarily laid off, blaming the current volume of work and changing operation priorities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of those, 22 belong to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE). Positions affected include library services, student awards, facility services and additional administrative positions.
Permanent job losses are expected to follow as the college struggles to meet an expectation from the Alberta Government to reduce expenditures by 4.5 per cent in addition to the 9.9-per-cent reduction to their Campus Albert grant funding.
“These job losses are the opposite of what Alberta needs right now. With the pandemic and economic collapse, we need to keep Albertans working, not add them to them long lists of unemployed,” says Bobby-Joe Borodey, vice-president of AUPE, which represents about 95,000 workers, including nearly 11,000 in education and post-secondary education.
“We should be using colleges to quickly train as many people as possible to fill desperately needed health-care jobs working to beat COVID-19. We also need to train Albertans for jobs after the pandemic,” she says.
Medicine Hat College has temporarily laid off nine full-time workers and two seasonal, part-time workers in areas including food services, building services, mailroom, bookstore and the library. These were said to be due to the pandemic.
There was also the loss of five permanent jobs attributed to budget cuts in areas including two in hospitality and conference services, one in finance services, one in facility operations and one 3-D technician.
AUPE vice-president Karen Weiers said: “These job cuts are an act of hypocrisy by the Alberta government. Early on in the pandemic, Jason Kenney said he wanted employers to keep people in jobs. Since then, his government has embarked on layoffs on an scale not seen anywhere else in Canada, including about 25,000 at schools, and is continuing to push for permanent job cuts in post-secondary and other public-sector services.”
Colleges across Alberta have been hit by a wave of job losses as they struggle with the pandemic and government-imposed budget cuts.
“Now is the time to invest in our future, not to undermine it. We need to prepare Albertans for the future after COVID-19. Colleges can play a vital role – if they haven’t been devastated by short-sighted cuts,” says Weiers.
Bobby-Joe Borodey and Karen Weiers are available for interviews.
For more information, please contact: Terry Inigo-Jones, AUPE communications, 403-831-4394