Canucks lay off quarter of company staff, more COVID-19 cuts could follow

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Unless a COVID-19 treatment or vaccine is found in the coming months, more staff are likely to be laid off

With little likelihood of the Vancouver Canucks playing in front of fans at Rogers Arena in the near future, the NHL team is downsizing its full-time business operations staff.

The Canucks, trying to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, gave written notice of layoff – permanent, as opposed to a temporary layoff – to 49 people on Wednesday, which is about a quarter of the roughly 200 people employed in business operations. Staff.

The current dismissal of 49 people alone means that this does not constitute a collective dismissal under the Labor Relations Act. This means, for example, that if the Canucks were to lay off 50 people at a time – or in a two-month period – they would have to give those employees eight weeks’ notice.

Instead, Wednesday’s terminations will follow whatever an employee’s contract requires in terms of notice and severance pay.

For the most part, Commercial Operations staff fill roles that deal directly with fans, working at Canucks games and concerts at or around the arena.

Hockey operations staff are not affected, although, like all Canucks Sports and Entertainment employees, most have been working at 65% of their regular pay for several months now.

“Canucks Sports and Entertainment continues to be heavily impacted by COVID-19 due to the significant impacts on our business’ revenue,” CSE COO Trent Carroll said in a statement on the same day as the Canucks were scheduled to play the Winnipeg Jets in Edmonton in an exhibition test before the playoffs begin this weekend.

“Like many businesses during this pandemic, we were unfortunately faced with the difficult decision to downsize our operational workforce through layoffs. These are incredibly difficult days for everyone involved.

“They are our friends and colleagues and we will do everything we can to support them throughout this time. At the same time, we will also ensure that we are ready to go when we resume normal activities at Rogers Arena. We hope to recall as many of our employees as possible when the time comes. ”

It is likely that the Canucks will increase the number of layoffs in the future if operations fail to return to normal. The NHL hopes to start the 2020-21 regular season in early December, so if the team is not allowed to have fans in the stands, it is likely that much of its current operational staff will be laid off.

Current provincial health restrictions do not allow more than 50 people to congregate at an event and this policy is unlikely to change until a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 is discovered.

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