City of Windsor COVID-19 Update
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens and members of Council are continuing to lead the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic through a balanced approach of careful considerations and timely communications. Culture and Recreation facilities have been closed; Transit Windsor has temporarily suspended service; and families have been told to avoid the use of playground equipment. City Hall, while closed to the public, continues to operate with reduced staff on site, while many more work from home. Take-out Tuesday was launched to help small businesses, and City Council approved a 90-day deferral of property tax payments for residential and commercial property owners. Today, Windsor City Council is taking additional steps in response to the ongoing implications of the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Continued Shutdown of City Hall and Staff Implications
While seeking to finalize a Memorandum of Agreement with CUPE Locals 82 and 543, the City of Windsor will reduce hours to zero or lay off 541 City employees, who would then become eligible for a form of enhanced income support now available through the federal government.
Staff impacted by these measures are:
- CUPE Local 82 Seasonal (14 staff)
- CUPE Local 82 Temporary Part-Time (71 staff)
- CUPE Local 543 Temporary Part-Time (446 staff)
- Non-Union Temporary employees (10 staff)
Additionally, regular full-time and regular part-time non-union, Local 543 and Local 82 staff will be recalled and re-deployed to assist with cleaning, screening and other municipal duties, including supportive roles at Huron Lodge. Approximately 250 staff will be recalled and re-deployed to priority tasks, taking special care to adhere to social distancing requirements.
While the reduction in workforce will reduce expenditures by approximately $135,000 per week, total unbudgeted costs associated with the City of Windsor’s COVID-19 response are projected to exceed these savings.
Transit Rebate Program
To protect the health of transit riders and employees, Transit Windsor operations have been suspended at least until Monday April 13, 2020.
To support regular transit users, Windsor City Council has approved a one-time payment for individuals who purchased a pass between February 19, 2020 and March 19, 2020 or held a monthly pass valid for the period between February 19, 2020 and March 19, 2020. Subject to verification, the one-time payment will be processed across three broad categories:
The Student Union at University of Windsor will receive a payment equivalent to about $25 per student or about $300,000, total;
Regular pass holders (Adult, Student and Senior) will need to apply for a payment on-line to be eligible for a $50 amount. The City of Windsor provides over 2,500 passes to low-income and vulnerable individuals who receive a bus pass as part of their social assistance program. These individuals will not need to apply and will receive a $75 payment.
Full details on how to apply and more can be found at transitwindsor.ca.
Water/Waste Water Changes
To help provide relief to residents experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19, ENWIN is waiving interest charges for all overdue accounts for 90 days effective April 1, 2020 (or a soon as it can be actioned). And, given that wastewater (sewer surcharge) fees are collected by ENWIN on the City’s behalf, Windsor City Council is also waiving interest charged on overdue accounts for wastewater for 90 days in an effort to help residents keep as much money in their pockets as possible.
This measure is in addition to offering flexible payment options for those customers experiencing financial hardship during this unprecedented time. This additional financial relief follows ENWIN’s previous extension of a moratorium on both water and electricity disconnections, announced last week.
For more information on COVID-19 planning and preparations by the City of Windsor, please visit our COVID-19 page www.citywindsor.ca/covid-19.
The Windsor Essex County Health Unit is an excellent resource for local updates on COVID-19.