Toronto arts agency lays off staff as live events 'ravaged' by pandemic - InfoNews

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Toronto arts agency lays off staff as live events 'ravaged' by pandemic

The Toronto agency that operates three prestigious arts venues says additional layoffs mean 115 full-time positions have now been affected by the pandemic. The Toronto skyline is photographed from the Hanlan's Point Ferry as it travels back to the city on Thursday, June 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
June 17, 2020 - 1:17 PM

TORONTO - The Toronto agency that operates three prestigious arts venues says additional layoffs mean 115 full-time positions have now been affected by the pandemic.

TO Live says this is in addition to the 480 unionized, part-time and casual staff who were already laid off or placed on temporary leave.

The non-profit charitable arts group says the most recent round of 32 layoffs follow an 85 per cent drop in revenue.

TO Live operates Meridian Hall, formerly the Sony Centre; St Lawrence Centre for the Arts; and the Meridian Arts Centre, formerly Toronto Centre for the Arts.

TO Live president Clyde Wagner says it's a difficult time for live events in the city.

He says they lost most of their income when the state of emergency was declared and shows were suspended due to COVID-19 precautions.

"The entire sector has been ravaged by COVID-19 and TO Live is no exception," Wagner said Wednesday in a release.

As an agency of the City of Toronto, TO Live does not qualify for federal government support programs during COVID-19.

Wagner said they worked hard to bring down expenses but ongoing fixed costs with the buildings "cannot be avoided."

TO Live said the remaining 30 staff will work towards long-term planning. They will be on a reduced work week of four days, with a 20 per cent reduction in pay.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 17, 2020.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2020
The Canadian Press

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