Staff layoffs at Canada’s Banff Centre for the arts during coronavirus closures

Posted on: March 25, 2020

“The COVID-19 outbreak has nearly shut down the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, forcing it to lay off 75 per cent of its staff members, effective immediately,” writes Rachel Ward in Friday’s (3/20) CBC News (Canada). “The educational institution in the Alberta mountain park town was ordered by the provincial health authority to cancel all in-person classes…. The school, one of the largest employers in Banff, also closed all its public facilities, cancelled all programming and brought its event team back from the United States. Janice Price, president and CEO, said 400 of roughly 550 employees have been laid off with two-weeks’ pay and records of employment to help them file for employment insurance. Every department is affected, she said, but most cuts are in areas involved in the center’s ‘significant conference business,’ which has seen all of its events cancelled…. Banff has been clobbered by the economic hit from the isolation directives that closed ski hills, concert halls, theatre companies and bars, which, Price noted, resulted in thousands of job losses locally…. Laid-off employees will be allowed to stay in staff housing and access meals at a reduced price…. Their health benefits will continue for the next 30 days.”