Manitoba Museum delivers layoff notice to employees, won’t open Monday

By | May 1, 2020

Employees at the Manitoba Museum were given layoff notices Friday amid uncertainty about funding for this fiscal year.

All museum staff will be employed until June 26, according to a media release.

The release did not specify who and how many people are affected, but executive director Claudette Leclerc told CBC News that every employee is impacted.

“The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting closure has placed the museum’s financial capacity at risk of not being able to meet its obligations to our payroll and overall operations this year and beyond,” Leclerc said in the release.

“There are many external variables that are currently impacting our earned and fundraised revenues,” she said, including whether their grant from the Manitoba government, and their application for the federal wage subsidy program, will be approved.

The museum is not-for-profit and must run on a balanced budget every year, says Leclerc, and nearly three-quarters of the museum’s budget is spent on labour.

More than half of the museum’s operating budget is covered by its provincial grant, she said.

Museums are allowed to open on Monday, but the Manitoba Museum will not be opening right away as it must ensure its galleries adhere to health protocols still in place.

Leclerc told CBC News that the planetarium and science exhibit cannot reopen under the Phase 1 health guidelines of the province’s reopening plan.

“At all times, since the commencement of the COVID-19 pandemic, our priority has been and continues to be the health and safety of our employees, volunteers and visitors,” said Leclerc in the media release.

“We are extremely grateful for the diligence and dedication each of our employees has shown at this challenging time, and recognize that our success is directly related to the genuine care and passion they demonstrate toward their Manitoba Museum colleagues, and museum visitors. We would not be who we are today without them.”

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