City of Surrey, White Rock temporarily lay off employees due to COVID-19

City of Surrey gave notice to 2,016 employees, while White Rock sent 25 employees home

The cities of White Rock and Surrey have both had to lay off employees as a result of COVID-19’s impact on the community.

Surrey has laid off 1,876 part-time auxiliary workers and 140 full-time employees, while White Rock has laid off 25 casual workers – most of them from the Recreation and Culture department.

City of Surrey director of human resources Joey Brar told Peace Arch News in a statement that 1,276 of the part-time auxiliary staff worked an average of 2.7 hours per week prior to the pandemic.

Approximately 600 part-time staff who have not worked for the city this year, but did work for the city within the last 12 months were also given notice.

RELATED: City of White Rock shuts down some civic facilities amid COVID-19 concern

After social distancing measures were put in place by the provincial government last month, both municipalities closed most city-run facilities, including community centres, arenas, museums, swimming pools, theatres and libraries.

Of Surrey’s 2,016 layoffs, 140 were regular staff at the city’s libraries.

“The City of Surrey is providing 28 days of pay continuity for part time and auxiliary staff and 42 days of pay continuity for regular staff that have been temporarily laid off,” Brar wrote.

“The staff reductions are exclusively due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are temporary.”

RELATED: Cancelled, postponed Surrey events due to coronavirus outbreak

Casual workers laid off by the City of White Rock mostly worked for the city’s Recreation and Culture department, communications manager Donna Kell confirmed in an email to PAN.

“The City of White Rock, like all municipalities in B.C., has services that are impacted by the spread of COVID-19,” Kell wrote.

“We wish all of our employees the best at this challenging time, and encourage them to stay safe and healthy.”

This week, the City of White Rock announced it had turned off water fountains in an effort to slow the transmission of COVID-19.

In a news release issued April 6, the city encouraged people to instead bring their own refillable containers with water from home if they are going out for exercise or to run critical errands.

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