Glenbow Museum axes 27 employees due to COVID-19

The Glenbow Museum is laying off 27 staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization said Thursday in a news release.

Institution received $40M pledge from province in February before pandemic took off

The Glenbow Museum, home to the largest public art collection in Western Canada, has laid off 27 employees, citing COVID-19 as the reason. (Google Maps)

The Glenbow Museum is laying off 27 staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization said Thursday in a news release.

"It is disheartening," CEO Nicholas Bell said.

"Many of these colleagues are long-term employees at Glenbow, and the loss of their skills and institutional knowledge is a tremendous blow."

More than 80 per cent of the museum's staff, 83 of the organization's 100 employees, were temporarily laid off in March because more than half of its operating budget comes from admissions.

Pre-pandemic, the museum received a $40 million pledge for renovation and renewal from the province in February. It was conditional on additional fundraising and fund matching from other sources.

Premier Jason Kenney said at the time he hoped the public funds would attract private investment.

Prior to Thursday's layoffs, the museum tried to encourage people to leave with voluntary retirement packages in April and voluntary resignation packages the following month.

Ten people put their hands up.

"Glenbow is undertaking a major restructuring to facilitate how the museum will operate going forward," Bell said in the Thursday release.

The laid-off staff will get severance packages based on how long they worked there.


  • A previous version of this story did not make clear the $40 million in provincial funding has not yet been received, it remains a pledge at this time.
    Jul 27, 2020 5:58 AM MT


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?