Business

Cineplex to cut 130 more jobs despite reopening plans

Canada's largest movie operator says it will be cutting about 130 jobs, despite being in the ongoing process of reopening Canadian theatres.

Movie chain will not reopen in Ontario today, despite having permission to do so

Most of Cineplex's movie theatres across Canada have been dark and empty since the pandemic began. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

Cineplex says it will be cutting about 130 jobs in the U.S. and Canada, despite being in the ongoing process of reopening Canadian theatres.

A spokesperson for Canada's largest movie operator confirmed the cuts to CBC News in an email, after published media reports suggested there were jobs on the chopping block.

"We had to make the difficult decision to scale back our resources and reduce the size of our full-time workforce," Sarah Van Lange said.  

"The changes we put in place impacted just over 130 teammates in Canada and the United States, which includes senior executive retirements and departures over the coming months."

Cineplex and its 12,000 employees have had a tumultuous 2020. The year began with a proposed $2.8 billion takeover by British movie chain Cineworld, a deal that fell apart in acrimony last month.

The two sides are now suing each other for billions of dollars, each citing breaches of some part of the takeover deal.

That failed, expensive takeover was happening against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the company to shutter its doors. Cineplex has since reopened a few locations across Canada, but most of its theatres are still dark.

"COVID-19 and termination of the Cineworld transaction have had a significant impact on our company," Van Lange said.

"While we are confident our business will recover, in the short and medium-term we are focusing on a smaller number of projects and priorities supported by a sustainable financial model."

Reopening plans continue cautiously

The layoff news arrives as a large swath of Ontario — Canada's most populous province and home to 68 of the chain's 165 theatres across the country — is set to enter Stage 3 on Friday, which would allow businesses such as movie theatres to reopen under some capacity. 

Despite that, Cineplex says it is "still reviewing what's being proposed by the province," so the company won't be opening its doors in Ontario just yet.

"While we are certainly excited for the day our operations can resume, our top priority has always been the health and safety of our employees and guests and ensuring that their time with us is safe, comfortable and welcoming."

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