Staff cuts pos­si­ble

The Glengarry News - - News - -- Richard Mahoney

Ru­mours of staff lay­offs at Raisin Re­gion Con­ser­va­tion Authority are pre­ma­ture.

“There is no ques­tion that fund­ing cuts impact our bud­get,” says RRCA gen­eral man­ager Richard Pilon. “When our pro­gram fund­ing is cut, we have to de­cide how we can ad­just our bud­get to make up the short­fall. How­ever, I can­not make any fur­ther com­ments about in­di­vid­ual em­ploy­ees.”

Mr. Pilon adds: “It’s too early to tell as we are still wait­ing for the Pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment to give us an an­swer on some other pro­vin­cial fund­ing we were ex­pect­ing in 2019 and also what the Prov­ince is plan­ning for 2020. It’s pretty dif­fi­cult to make bud­get ad­just­ments mid-year or plan for next year with­out this in­for­ma­tion.”

Like all con­ser­va­tion agen­cies in On­tario, the RRCA has seen its nat­u­ral haz­ards fund­ing from the prov­ince re­duced by 50 per cent.

The pro­vin­cial share of the RRCA’s $2.5 mil­lion bud­get will drop from $170,000 to $85,000 this year.

The prov­ince has halved the $7.4 mil­lion it had ac­corded the 36 con­ser­va­tion au­thor­i­ties. The South Na­tion Con­ser­va­tion Authority has seen its al­lo­ca­tion drop from $176,000 to $91,000.

Summer jobs chopped

Mean­while, the cuts to the con­ser­va­tion au­thor­i­ties’ pro­grams for youth jobs and flood man­age­ment “are tak­ing away op­por­tu­ni­ties from young peo­ple, and putting com­mu­ni­ties in dan­ger,” charges Ju­dith Monteith-Far­rell, NDP critic

for Nat­u­ral Resources and Forestry. The Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Resources’ Summer Em­ploy­ment Op­por­tu­ni­ties Pro­gram for youth has been elim­i­nated. “This pro­gram helped con­ser­va­tion au­thor­i­ties em­ploy and men­tor youth, and gain rel­e­vant ex­pe­ri­ence for their ca­reers,” says the MPP. “Why did this gov­ern­ment cut the Youth Em­ploy­ment Pro­gram?”

She called the mea­sures “short­sighted,” adding, “The rav­ages of cli­mate cri­sis are ev­i­dent all

around us, and con­ser­va­tion au­thor­i­ties are try­ing to re­spond to record flood­ing in our wa­ter­sheds with less resources than they had be­fore. Th­ese cuts put com­mu­ni­ties at risk.”

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