Shaw to temporarily layoff 10 percent of workforce, mostly in retail and sales roles

The company says it will "top up" government aid to employees with its own funds

Calgary-based Shaw Communications announced it would temporarily lay off approximately 10 percent of its nearly 10,000 employee workforce due to COVID-19.

The layoffs, which will begin on April 16th, largely affect the company’s retail and sales staff. Shaw’s president, Paul McAleese, attributed the layoffs to the necessary measures the government has taken to protect the health of Canadians. The measures resulted in “dramatic shortages or stoppages of work” in specific parts of Shaw’s business and ultimately lead to the layoffs.

“We value the hard work and expertise of all our employees in helping deliver connectivity to our customers across the country. Unfortunately, these changes are necessary until our business activities resume to more normal levels,” McAleese said in a Shaw press release.

Further, McAleese said Shaw would provide financial support to affected employees beyond the applicable government programs. The company plans to welcome those employees back “when business conditions improve.”

In the release, Shaw notes that it is currently ineligible for any emergency government assistant programs. Instead, the company plans to use its own funds to “top up” government Employment Insurance payments depending on employee earnings.

Additionally, Shaw will continue to extend benefits and pension contributions for eligible non-unionized employees during the temporary layoff period.

Finally, McAleese noted that Shaw continues to see increased network usage but that it is in a “solid position” to handle the increased traffic. Shaw directed customers looking to pay their bills or order services to visit the company’s website.

Additionally, Freedom Mobile customers can find select locations that are still open, process payments through online banking, the My Account website or app, or through the call centre.

Update 14/04/2020 at 7pm: Corrected the number of employees to 10,000 as per the company’s website.

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