Kawartha Conservation has announced a reduction of nearly 60 per cent of its full-time and contract staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The reduction took effect on Friday (April 24).
“This was an extremely difficult decision,” says Kawartha Conservation CAO Mark Majchrowski in a media release issued on Monday (April 27). “There are no words to adequately reflect how much we struggled as an organization with this decision and the impact it will have on our staff.”
Operating with a reduced work force, Kawartha Conservation will continue to provide necessary and essential services including flood forecasting and precipitation monitoring, source water protection, and planning and permitting functions.
Kawartha Conservation is a non-profit organization that conducts watershed planning, stewardship activities, environmental monitoring and research, and management of conservation and natural areas.
Its programs and services are focused within the natural boundaries of the Kawartha watershed — a total of 2,563 square kilometres — and includes the City of Kawartha Lakes, Township of Scugog, Township of Brock, Municipality of Clarington, Municipality of Trent Lakes, and Township of Cavan Monaghan.
As a tax-supported organization, Kawartha Conservation is responsible to a board of directors comprised of representatives from six member municipalities.
“A lot of our member municipalities are struggling and have had to make the difficult choice to reduce their work forces, in some cases by several hundred employees,” Majchrowski says. “We are in this struggle together and we need to recognize and adapt to the pressures our municipal partners, communities, businesses and the public is experiencing. The only way through this is together.”
The layoffs will impact business areas including outdoor education, watershed monitoring, citizen science projects, stewardship initiatives, and administrative functions.
“We know these are not easy times for any of us, and they will be particularly difficult for the staff we are having to temporarily lay off as a result,” Majchrowski says “It is our sincere hope that all of us continue to do the things we need to do to help flatten the curve, and to get through this pandemic so we can begin re-integrating staff back into their positions as soon as possible.”