UPDATED: Town of Ponoka cancels shifts for 23 casual employees

Hopes to return employees to work after COVID-19 crisis is over

Note: The orginal story stated that the town had laid off 23 casual employees, but the town clarified in a news release April 6 that the town temporarily cancelled shifts for 23 casual employees and they received ROEs but were not laid off.

The Town of Ponoka announced on April 3 that it temporarily cancelled shifts for 23 casual employees and were issued ROE’s.

The employees amount to about 30 per cent of the town’s work force.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has required the Town to make some difficult decisions,” said Albert Flootman, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the town in a news release.

“We value our staff and look forward to welcoming these employees back to work once our recreational facilities are able to reopen to the public again.”

The town closed the Ponoka Aquaplex and the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex on March 13 in response to provincial directives and immediately made the decision to cancel shifts and stop scheduling non-essential staff at these facilities.

Records of Employment (ROEs) were subsequently issued to those employees due to the shortage of work caused by the facility closures. The ROEs enable these employees to access financial assistance through employment benefit programs until they are able to return to work.

“We value our staff and look forward to welcoming these employees back to work once the COVID-19 threat passes and our recreational facilities are able to reopen to the public again,” said Flootman.

“The Town of Ponoka has a responsibility to be a good steward of public funds. We continue to monitor and evaluate the COVID-19 situation daily and to respond as needed.”

All town buildings remain closed to public access, however, the town remains ‘open’ for business with remaining staff responding to citizen’s inquiries by phone, fax and email.

Town operations continue as Public Works employees work to ensure the delivery of essential town services that are important to citizens’ daily lives such as clean drinking water, waste water treatment, curbside collection of waste, recycling and compost material and the operation of the town’s Waste Transfer Station which remains open to the public.

Employees are also busy with snow and ice control on town roadways this week, and are working to complete header repair and maintenance improvements at the arena to help ensure smooth operations once that facility reopens.

Remaining staff are also working on maintenance and facility improvements at the Aquaplex with the intention of avoiding the need for an annual shutdown in the fall.

CoronavirusTown of Ponoka

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