Calgary Flames tell part-time staff they won't be paid for shifts cancelled due to COVID-19

In the wake of the NHL season being suspended in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, staff working for the Calgary Flames, Calgary Hitmen and Calgary Roughnecks have been informed they will not be paid in the interim.

Other teams in North America have offered to cover staff wages while the NHL season is suspended

The Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation has told its hourly and event staff, like Jayden Wasney, left, and Lou De Asis, right, that they will not receive wages during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jayden Wasney/Chris Penner)

In the wake of the NHL season being suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, part-time staff working for the Calgary Flames, Calgary Hitmen and Calgary Roughnecks have been informed they will not be paid in the interim.

All three teams are owned by the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation, which sent an email on Friday to hourly and event staff informing them any future lost shifts would not be covered.

"Unless notified by your supervisor, all scheduled shifts are cancelled," reads the email, obtained by CBC News and first reported by the Calgary Herald.

The notice goes on to say that staff can apply for employment insurance in the interim, though notes that staff must have sufficient insurable hours to qualify for benefits.

Representatives from CSEC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Some Canadian NHL teams, including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers have informed their part-time staff that they will receive some level of compensation while the coronavirus outbreak continues.

"I'm a broadcasting student at SAIT, so this is my job that I have that I can have while I'm in school, and it's been awesome, but this is a tough blow, for sure," said Jayden Wasney, a part-time usher. "As a student and someone who relies on a job like that … it's really frustrating."

Employees are now able to take 14 days of paid job-protected leave to cover for the 14-day self-isolation period recommended by Alberta Health, and the federal government has waived the one-week waiting period for EI benefits.

"I've considered [employment insurance], but it's not going to cover the bills, it's not going to cover nearly what I need to pay for," Wasney said. "To be honest, I'm already looking at finding another job. I can't just wait and see what happens, or wait and see when they come back. I have to work in order to go to school and to pay rent."

Lou De Asis, a cashier in the concession department, has worked for CSEC for two years. He said he would like to see CSEC follow the example of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the owner of the Toronto Raptors and Maple Leafs, who plan to compensate their event staff.

"Really, for me, this is my only job," he said. "At CSEC, there are [lots of] students. They're basically living paycheque to paycheque."

All NHL players will be paid their final three scheduled paycheques for the 2019-20 season, according to Sportsnet.


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