The Greater Victoria Public Library announces employee layoffs as branches remain closed due to COVID-19.
Since the branch system closure on March 16, 168 employees have been on paid leave with 53 employees working remotely to continue online service and core infrastructure.
“This decision was extremely difficult for us, and we reluctantly determined that initiating the layoff process was in the best interests of the organization,” said Deborah Begoray, GVPL Board Chair. “Our CEO provided us with a thorough report of options, taking into account the financial pressures of today and the uncertainty of what will follow in the coming months.”
Auxiliary employees of GVPL will be paid until May 8, when they will be issued their layoff notice. Regular employees will be paid until May 15 and a further paid notice period will be activated to a maximum of eight more weeks, to follow the agreement with CUPE 410.
“Our greatest hope is that we may be in a position to reintroduce components of service delivery through our branches before the layoffs take effect, while following provincial health directives. At this moment in time, we must get the process underway,” explained Begoray.
CEO Maureen Sawa says she is proud of the library board’s decision to have supported staff during the closures.
“We care deeply about the wellbeing of our employees,” said Sawa, “Unfortunately, we have no work available for the individuals who have been on paid leave during the branch closure.”
The board says they are planning on reintroducing aspects of service that still meet provincial health orders, and that staff can be brought back according to operational needs.
“It is possible that employees notified of layoffs will be called back to work before the paid layoff notice is completed,” said the board in a press release.
Greater Victoria Public Library provides service to 10 municipalities through 12 branches, one ebranch and more than 100 community partnerships.