Ontario Library Services in northern Ontario face job cuts
5 unionized staff positions eliminated and another reduced to part-time, several non-union jobs also affected
Libraries across northern Ontario say it's clear the provincial cuts to the Ontario Library Service will impact programs and services beyond just the interlibrary loan.
In a written release Thursday, the 55 northern Ontario libraries announced they had been informed May 9 that half the unionized staff jobs – five full time equivalent positions – at Ontario Library Services - North (OLSN), had been eliminated, and another unionized position was being reduced to part time. They were told the job losses were due to recent cuts to the operating budget of OLSN announced during the provincial budget.
Additionally they were also told that one non-unionized position, from a total of five, will be eliminated by the end of this fiscal year and another non-unionized position is being reduced to part-time.
According to the release, none of the people who lost their position at OLSN were involved in the administration of the interlibrary loan service.
"The positions that were lost at OLS-North provided direct support to Northern Libraries for staff and board training initiatives, services to First Nations Libraries, technology consulting, policy and strategic planning consulting, website development for small libraries, and administration of joint purchasing agreements and support for the Joint Automation Service Initiatives program, which provides essential library software to 133 rural and northern library systems across Ontario," the release stated.
Libraries in communities covering the vast region from Kenora to Sault Ste. Marie, as well as First Nations and the bilingual Bibliothèque publique Iroquois Falls Public Library are calling on the provincial government to halt the cuts and restore valuable jobs in northern Ontario.
"The diminished capacity of OLS-NOrth to deliver those programs will negatively impact our public libraries, and we believe that even programs and services that are maintained will operate at a reduced capacity due to extensive personnel cuts," the release said, adding that they are "dismayed" that the government did not consult them before making these cuts.