The City of Edmonton's 2021 budget has a 0% tax increase, but that comes with consequences — including staff layoffs, as the city looks to cut inefficiencies. More than 300 positions will be cut, and the city announced the first of those on Jan. 12 as it plans to issue 60 layoff notices in January.
“We used a number of financial strategies to meet the 0% budget target, including cutting expenses and finding efficiencies,” said Kim Armstrong, deputy city manager of employee services. “But there was no way to reach our budget reduction targets without reducing staff numbers.”
The city says three-quarters of the initial job cuts are for union employees, which means seniority will come into play. "We are approaching these conversations with compassion and providing support to our leaders and our employees," said Armstrong. The process could take several weeks to complete.
While more staff reductions will happen throughout 2021, the total number of layoffs was lowered by cutting vacant positions, taking advantage of early retirement, and a voluntary layoff program.