Manitoba Hydro CEO to discuss challenges and layoffs during committee meeting

By | June 11, 2020

WINNIPEG — Manitoba Hydro’s CEO is meeting with the Standing Committee on Crown Corporations to discuss some of the challenges facing the crown corporation, including more than 200 employees who received temporary layoffs.

The committee is meeting at the Manitoba Legislature Thursday afternoon.

Opposition Leader Wab Kinew started the committee with an opening statement, proposing they sit for 202 minutes – one minute for each employee that is being temporarily laid-off.

“Each of these jobs is worth at least a minute of our time,” Kinew said.

Earlier in June, Manitoba Hydro announced it will be issuing temporary layoff notices for approximately 200 employees for a period of four months.

Manitoba Minister of Crown Services Jeff Wharton said the discussions are important to be had, as the committee meeting started.

He thanked Jay Grewal, the president and CEO of Manitoba Hydro, for ‘ensuring Manitobans’ best interests are always front and centre.”

Grewal outlined some of the many projects Manitoba Hydro is currently working on, including the $8.7 million Keeyask Generating Station, which she said is on-budget and on-schedule for the first power this fall.

She said while Manitoba Hydro is making progress, this year has brought challenges.

She said a snowstorm in October knocked out power to more than 250,000 customers. She said Hydro workers were able to restore power for 98 per cent of customers within a week.

“If the storm was not enough, we all globally – Canadians and Manitobans – are now dealing with COVID-19 and the pandemic,” Grewal said.

“It has materially changed and impacted how we go about doing our work and serving our customers – both on the operational side and on our projects.”

She said the Crown corporation’s focus remains on serving the customers.

Kinew added he is concerned what impact these layoffs will have on Manitoba Hydro’s economic, environmental and social goals

“I do very much hope that we can arrive at a greater understanding of the impact that these proposed cuts – unnecessary and harmful that they are, ordered by this premier and his cabinet – will have on our provincial economy, the future of our fight against climate change, and on the very workers themselves that so many Manitobans rallied around just a few short months ago.”

The meeting is expected to last until approximately 4:15 pm

CTV News will update this story.

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