49 receive layoff notices at Mill River Resort, union says

Forty-nine provincial civil servants have been given layoff notices at Mill River Resort in western Prince Edward Island, their union says.

Incoming owner says staff can re-apply if they’re interested in working for 'private-sector wages'

In January, the P.E.I. government announced it was selling the resort — which includes a golf course, hotel, campground and fun park — to Don McDougall. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Forty-nine government staff members at Mill River Resort are being laid off as ownership of the property transfers from the P.E.I. government to the private sector, according to their union.

The P.E.I. division of the Union of Public Sector Employees said its members who work at the resort have received layoff notices. The union said nine of those are permanent employees who could be transferred to other jobs within government. Thirty-nine are casual staff on a seasonal recall list. One is involved with special projects.

Current wages at Mill River Resort range from $18.50 to $35.40 an hour, according to the union. (CBC)

In January, the province announced it was selling the resort — which includes a golf course, hotel, campground and fun park — to Don McDougall.

McDougall, 79, is originally from the area. His business resume includes a stint as the president of Labatt Breweries. He was also the founding director of the Toronto Blue Jays.

'Priority consideration'

McDougall told CBC News outgoing staff would be given "priority consideration" to be hired back, providing they are "in good standing … and they're interested in coming back to work for us at private-sector wages, as opposed to government wages."

McDougall said the wages offered would be "industry standard or above."

The current wages range from $18.50 to $35.40 an hour, according to UPSE.

Extensive renovations

The union said it plans to apply to the P.E.I. Labour Board to be able to continue to represent workers at the resort.

McDougall said some positions would be lost as the fun park is decommissioned, but said there would be more jobs created as the resort undergoes extensive renovations over the next 30 months.

A government spokesperson told CBC News the layoff notices were expected by staff, and as far as government is aware, the transition between owners "is going quite smoothly for the employees and we haven't heard any serious concerns."

Confederacy looking to block sale

Meanwhile, the Mi'kmaq Confederacy said it has retained legal counsel and is preparing an application for an injunction to block the sale of the resort.

Chief Brian Francis of the Abegweit First Nation said a formal public statement would be issued within days.