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COVID-19: Changes to staffing, programs & services

For immediate release: Tue, 2020-03-24 15:19
FR20-1120

We are constantly reassessing pandemic developments to ensure the safety and well-being of staff and citizens. We have also continued to reassess the way we deliver public services following the decision to close City Hall and civic facilities.

“We have made the difficult decision to lay off a number of casual staff,” says City Manager Jeff Jorgenson. “Going forward there will be no scheduled hours. From our perspective, layoffs are an important step to enable staff, without any scheduled hours, the ability to access options such as employment insurance benefits as soon as possible.

“It gives the people affected some certainty as opposed to waiting indefinitely for us to be able to return to normal operations.”

Casual staff refers to employees whose hours are typically scheduled on a weekly to monthly basis, based on work need. Examples include lifeguards, cashier-receptionists, activity leaders and recreation technicians.

“For permanent staff, we are not looking at significant layoffs in the coming weeks.”

Jorgenson says citizens need City work to continue in the core services.

“Our people matter, and we must be financially responsible, especially now as many citizens and businesses are hurting and are directly affected by the pandemic.”

Jorgenson says the City’s approach is to continue with strategies that are, and will, keep the economy and as many services going as possible so that when we start returning to a more normal operating environment, the City is as far ahead as it possibly can be.

“Re-starting our economy on the other side of this pandemic will be paramount, and the City will play a major role in the coming months,” he says.

Residents asked to use Transit for essential travel only

To increase social distancing measures, Transit riders are asked to use the bus service only for essential travel.

When possible, those in a wheelchair are asked to use the rear facing wheelchair station and to buckle themselves in to ensure social distance from operators.

These changes are in addition to transit service reductions and the closure of many public facilities including schools.

Details on Transit’s reduced schedule can be found on Saskatoon Transit’s homepage.

Household Glass Program with SARCAN Temporarily Suspended 

SARCAN has made the decision to close locations across Saskatchewan indefinitely. This means the Household Glass Program will be suspend until locations re-open. During this time, residents are asked to avoid overfilling their Blue Cart/Bin and to hang on to their clean and dry recyclables until their next collection day.

Gordon Howe Campground Delays Opening

The City will temporarily suspend all visitor services at Gordon Howe Campground and will stop taking new reservations until May 1, 2020. The campground reopening will be subject to an assessment of the COVID-19 status. Further updates will be provided as they become available.

Building Permit Inspections

Building Permit Inspections have resumed and are now available, along with Plumbing Permit Inspections, via FaceTime and Skype video calls.

AMI Water Meters
Meter upgrade appointments are suspended until further notice. Learn more about the project at www.saskatoon.ca/watermeter.    

2020 Property Tax Financial Relief & Flexibility - Update
For citizens experiencing the effects of the economic impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City is committed to providing increased flexibility and immediate short-term relief for your 2020 Property Tax payment.

The City is extending a three-month grace period to provide additional time to pay your 2020 Property Tax. You will not incur any late payment penalties on your 2020 Property Tax if you pay the full amount due by September 30, 2020.

Also, for TIPPS customers currently paying their 2020 Property Tax over 12-equal monthly installments, you may request to be removed from TIPPS at any time should you require immediate, short-term financial relief without incurring a penalty. Your full property tax amount will then be due September 30, 2020.

Updates will continue to be provided at saskatoon.ca/covid-19 and at saskatoonpolice.ca