Pandemic takes its toll on YMCA’s workforce

The YMCA in Chatham. (Photo by Jake Kislinsky)

A charitable organization that has been offering services across southwestern Ontario for nearly 170 years has been forced to cut 110 positions due to the impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The YMCA of Southwestern Ontario recently made the difficult decision to eliminate 110 roles across the region, which represents approximately five per cent of its workforce.

“No one could have anticipated the COVID-19 global pandemic or the devastating effect it would have on so many businesses and organizations, including charities like ours,” said Vice President of Marketing and Communications Elyse Sheare in an emailed statement.

Sheare said the majority of positions cut were part-time. Many of the positions have also been inactive since mid-March after YMCA operations were temporarily closed.

Service levels will remain the same as they have in recent months under COVID-19 protocols.

“Programming will continue to be impacted due to the protocols in place as a result of the pandemic, and will not be impacted due to these¬†staff reductions,” said Sheare.

The affected employees worked in multiple YMCA locations spanning from Windsor to Woodstock, in areas such as child care, camp, and with health and fitness branches.