PEI

Dozens of city employees called back to work in Charlottetown

Upwards of 40 employees are back at work this week for the City of Charlottetown. The pandemic has added some new complications to their day-to-day work.

Essential workers include staff inside and outside of City Hall

Workers are physical distancing on job sites, in vehicles and inside buildings. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Upwards of 40 employees are back at work this week for the City of Charlottetown; in parks and on streets, cleaning up and repairing winter damage.

The pandemic has made it the day-to-day details a tricky business this spring.

"It's an evolving situation and it changes daily," said Peter Kelly, the city's chief administrative officer. "We're trying to meet public expectations ... but also do it safely."

Extra measures include additional cleaning of surfaces and ensuring workers are maintaining physical distancing.


Crews are travelling no more than one or two to a truck, and working alone to maintain a safe distance from each other, and the public. In recent days, crews could be seen sweeping winter grit from streets, hauling away waterfront debris from a recent storm surge, and repairing damaged fences in Victoria Park.

Union leaders say seasonal workers are relieved to be back on the job — even with social distancing rules.

"No one wants to be sitting home," said Pauline Gass, president of local 830 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. "We're all pretty good at keeping our six feet."

Additional workers have been called back to work inside city hall, too. Finance, payroll and IT staff are all deemed essential.

Finance, payroll and IT workers are returning to city hall in limited numbers. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

"We don't have any dispute with what they're deeming essential right now," said Karen Jackson, president of the Union of Public Sector Employees. "They're doing it phased in, having people return to work."

Other essential workers, such as staff at the city's pollution control plant, have been working throughout the pandemic.

In Summerside, city officials are working on plans to bring more of their workers back.

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