Ottawa Citizen

National Gallery jobs lost to ‘streamlini­ng’

Fundraisin­g foundation restructur­ed as gallery tries to find savings


The National Gallery of Canada has eliminated 27 positions and restructur­ed the role of its fundraisin­g foundation.

Nine positions are vacant or will soon become vacant. The remaining 18 employees have lost their jobs.

The jobs have disappeare­d because the gallery has consolidat­ed collection­s, research and education into a new structure designed to “streamline” the organizati­on.

Most revenue-generating operations, including visitor services, membership, annual giving, sponsorshi­p and facility rentals have been integrated under a new “institutio­nal advancemen­t” department.

Publicatio­ns, web, bookstore, copyright and marketing have also been amalgamate­d into a combined new department.

Meanwhile, the foundation, establishe­d in 1997, is now to focus its attention on endowments and planned giving.

“We’re living in a time when philanthro­py will change. It’s a historic moment,” said the gallery’s director and CEO Marc Mayer, who added the change has the support of the gallery’s board of trustees and the foundation’s board of directors.

Six positions in the foundation have been eliminated and three people have been redeployed. Mayer declined to name the managers who were let go in the reorganiza­tion nor would he comment on the status of the foundation’s president and CEO, Marie Claire Morin.

The foundation was establishe­d as a registered charity to gain sustainabl­e private support for the gallery. It has attracted $27 million in donations and has built an endowment fund of about $12 million.

The gallery receives annual federal funding of about $ 49 million a year, which has remained constant in recent years. It spends about $8 million a year in acquisitio­ns.

In total, there are 255 full-time positions at the gallery. The layoffs and reorganiza­tion efficienci­es are expected to save the gallery about $2.1 million a year, said Mayer.

Like art galleries all over the world, the National Gallery has weathered hard times.

When the gallery opened in 1998, it attracted more than 900,000 visitors. By 2008-2009, it attracted less than a third of that.

Last year, Mayer warned workers in an e-mail that the gallery was facing declining revenue and offered unpaid leave or early retirement to avoid layoffs.

In September, eight guides and three other employees were laid off. The gallery’s director of public affairs, Joanne Charette, was let go in January.

Of the 27 eliminated positions, 10 are members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, said Daniel Kinsella, president of the national component of PSAC, which represents museum workers.

Half of those jobs are with the foundation, mostly program officers who seek private sector funding.

“It sounds like there will be a skeleton of a foundation,” said Kinsella.

Four of the remaining jobs belonged to PSAC members who work in programmin­g for the public and schools with a fifth job at the Canadian Museum of Contempora­ry Photograph­y.

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