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With the COVID-19 pandemic pausing play, Calgary Sports & Entertainment Corporation — the company that owns the NHL’s Flames, the CFL’s Stampeders and two other local teams — has laid off approximately half of its full-time workforce for a 60-day period.
That move, announced Monday, will impact about 150 employees.
The remaining staff will face wage rollbacks of 10 to 25 per cent, with the most significant salary reductions for those executive management personnel at the top of the pay scale.
“We are working extremely hard to limit the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has on our employees,” said John Bean, the president and CEO of CSEC, in Monday’s statement. “The implementation of this cost reduction plan will provide predictability of income to our staff while minimizing the negative impact on their financial health and that of the business.
“We want to stress the temporary nature of these layoffs. The remaining staff, on reduced compensation, have been retained to navigate this crisis and help us prepare for eventual recovery and the return to work of their colleagues. We are so grateful for the dedication, work ethic, understanding and patience of all our employees throughout this difficult situation.”
A hat-trick of CSEC teams — the Flames, the Western Hockey League’s Hitmen and the defending National Lacrosse League champion Roughnecks — were in the midst of their respective seasons when the action was halted due to the COVID-19 outbreak. (The WHL has since cancelled the remainder of the campaign, including playoffs , while the NHL and NLL remain on pause.)
The Stampeders were slated to begin training camp in mid-May, but the CFL announced a postponement Monday .
It’s uncertain when the Saddledome or McMahon Stadium will next play host to a game or any sort of event. Staff for all four teams have been working from home since March 14.
According to Monday’s announcement, CSEC has received consent from Service Canada for a supplemental unemployment benefit plan, enabling the company to provide an EI top-up payment to all those affected by the temporary layoffs.
CSEC will also continue to provide and pay for health and dental benefits during the 60-day period, which starts April 13.
The Edmonton Oilers’ parent company made a similar move Monday, temporarily reducing their full-time staff by 139 and implementing salary rollbacks for the rest.
“Like so many other businesses in the sports, entertainment and hospitality industry, we are implementing these measures in the face of an unprecedented challenge and rapidly evolving landscape,” said Tom Anselmi, president of business operations for Oilers Entertainment Group. “These actions are difficult but necessary to respond to the reality of an effective shutdown of our business. In spite of this, we remain committed to doing all that we can for our employees.
“We are protecting the livelihood of our employees as best we can and are committed to getting them back to work as soon as possible.”
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020