City to put more than 4,000 workers on unpaid leave

City Hall

The City of Ottawa is putting more than 4,000 part-time workers on unpaid leave as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the closure of many municipal facilities and programs.

The city announced the move Monday afternoon. The temporary cuts will affect about 4,000 members of the city’s Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services Department and about 280 workers at the Ottawa Public Library.

“During the period that City facilities are closed, there is insufficient work for these employees, and this negotiated agreement ensures that staff are not laid off,” the city said in a statement, adding the move will allow part-time employees to apply for federal support programs.

City officials also said they are extending the closure of municipal facilities and services as well as the ban on large public gatherings until June 30 in effort to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

In a statement, city manager Steve Kanellakos said it could take “many months” for the city to return to full service levels.

Staff are scheduled to provide an update on the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic at the next council meeting on Wednesday.