Seasonal positions lost at local MNR offices 0
The Ministry of Natural Resources announced layoffs across the province Friday, including several at the Minden and Bancroft offices, though there is still no word on whether those offices will be closing.
In an effort to reduce the province’s deficit, the MNR had been instructed to cut $70 million over three years from its budget.
Widespread speculation held that local offices would close and stewardship council co-ordinator positions would be eliminated.
The ministry is still looking at whether to keep offices open, media spokesperson John Steele said in an interview Sept. 28 shortly after the announcement.
“We have not yet finalized decisions about future office impacts. We’re taking the time necessary to ensure we’re making the best decisions possible given the ministry’s financial constraints and operational requirements,” he said.
He confirmed that the stewardship co-ordinators would be replaced with a new type of co-ordinator called a “partnership specialist” of which there will be 25 across Ontario.
“We’re creating new partnership specialist positions that will work with community groups across a wider geographic area,” he said.
“We’ll ensure that the new partnership specialist positions will be located in the same district offices that have stewardship co-ordinators.”
Layoffs at the Bancroft and Minden offices have so far included only seasonal workers. Five positions were eliminated at Bancroft and eight in Minden.
As for other cuts, Steele said he couldn’t speak to that, referring to the province’s three-year “transformation plan.”
“The changes we’re making were difficult, but they’re necessary to modernize the business and to help the ministry achieve financial sustainability and help the government balance its budget,” Steele said.
Other cost-saving measures announced Friday include ending the Ontario Ranger Program and no longer sending out Outdoor Card renewal reminders by mail.
The government says the changes made will save $7.1 million each year. Across Ontario, 28 fulltime staff were let go and 102 seasonal positions were eliminated.