Shaw Lays Off Nearly 10% of Workforce Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused more layoffs, this time with Shaw announcing it will be temporarily laying off about 10% of its workforce, concentrated in retail and sales positions within the company.

Shaw says the layoffs were due to the “extraordinary and unpredictable conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” in its “difficult” decision to temporarily lay off workers.

“Government leaders across the country have taken significant and necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of Canadians and to limit the spread of the virus. These measures have resulted in dramatic shortages or stoppages of work in specific areas of our business where we have had to make the hard decisions being announced today,” said Paul McAleese, President, Shaw, in a statement.

“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,” added the Shaw President.

Shaw says it will be giving financial support to affected employees beyond government programs. The company says it is “ineligible for any emergency government assistance programs and will use its own funds to top up government Employment Insurance payments at various levels, depending on employee earnings, and continue to extend benefits and pension contributions for eligible non-unionized employees during the temporary layoff period.”

The company also added it continues to see increased usage of its network and “customers continue to enjoy strong connectivity through our wireless and broadband services,” due to previous network upgrades over the past few years.

Last month, Shaw and Freedom Mobile retail stores closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, with only select locations open for essential services. Shaw’s 2019 annual report noted the company has 10,000 employees, so 10% laid off would be 1,000 people.

According to Shaw, the temporary layoffs begin on Thursday, April 16, 2020.