City of Winnipeg reopening limited library services & postponing Winter Leisure Guide

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service responds to fires on Burrows Avenue and Hoka Street

Released: 10:09 a.m.

Winnipeg, MB – At 11:19 p.m. on November 24, 2020, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) responded to reports of a fire in a two-storey, single family home in the 500 block of Burrows Avenue.

When crews arrived on scene, they encountered light smoke in the interior of the house. An offensive attack was launched and the fire was declared under control at 11:39 p.m.

All occupants of the house safely self-evacuated prior to the arrival of crews and no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental and no damage estimates are available at this time.

At 5:35 a.m. on November 25, the WFPS responded to a monitored alarm in a commercial / industrial building in the first 100 block of Hoka Street.

When crews arrived to the location, they found fire on the exterior of the building. While it was being extinguished, crews discovered the fire also extended into the facility and an offensive attack was launched. Heavy smoke and the location of the fire within a paper compactor and conveyor equipment made it difficult to locate and access. The WFPS drone was used to search for hot spots. The fire was declared under control at 7:24 a.m.

There were no occupants in the building at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire remains under investigation and no damage estimates are available at this time.

City of Winnipeg reopening limited library services & postponing Winter Leisure Guide

Discussions with impacted staff beginning today

Released: 2:36 p.m.

Winnipeg, MB – On October 31, all City-owned and operated recreation facilities, gyms, indoor pools, arenas, and libraries were closed until further notice due to the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region being elevated to Critical (Red) on the provincial Pandemic Response System.

While libraries have been closed over the past three weeks, we have heard from Winnipeg residents that they would like access to pick-up and return materials. In response, the City will be providing contactless holds pick-up and return services at 10 library branches beginning on Monday, December 7, in alignment with Provincial Public Health Orders:

  • Charleswood
  • River Heights
  • St. Boniface
  • Pembina Trail
  • Henderson
  • St. James
  • Millennium
  • Louis Riel
  • Transcona
  • Sir William Stephenson

Public hours of operation will be Monday, Tuesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Service at these libraries will be for contactless holds pick-up and return services only. Customers will not be able to enter branches. Holds may be placed using the library’s online catalogue or mobile app. Library staff are available to assist with this process through Winnipeg Public Library’s Ask Us service.

Customers will be asked to phone the library when they arrive to pick-up their holds. Staff and customers are required to wear a mask. Customers should use the self-assessment checklist before arriving at the buildings to pick-up holds.

Winnipeg Public Library continues to deliver online programs and services, which includes maintaining an extensive online eLibrary of digital media, eBook access, and maintaining the Ask Us service.

With Winnipeg continuing to be in Critical (Red) on the provincial Pandemic Response System, the decision has been made to postpone all winter recreation programming (registered, free, and drop-in) through January and until further notice. This includes the printing and release of a Winter 2021 Leisure Guide and associated registrations. Traditionally the Winter Leisure Guide is released at the beginning of December, with registration starting in mid-December and programming beginning in early January.

Despite the resumption of limited library services, the ongoing facility closures and the postponement of programming means the Community Services Department has approximately 600 temporary staff who are currently without work.

The City has been working closely with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) to remove restrictions on collective agreements that exist for these employees, and as a result the City has been able to explore options for redeployment of these employees. Calls to these employees are taking place today to determine if they are interested in being redeployed if opportunities become available, and to work out next steps.

Temporary lay-offs of staff are effective Sunday, November 29, 2020.

Employees who are temporarily laid off will have access to mental health supports, and will continue to be included in communications from their employer. For those employees who are in receipt of regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, the City has registered a Supplementary Unemployment Benefit Plan (SUBP) with the Government of Canada. The SUBP will provide a top-up to 75% of their regular gross weekly salary, for a period of four weeks, while they are on temporary lay-off. 

The City recognizes that all employees provide important services, and anyone affected by the temporary lay-off should not see this as a reflection of their value to the City. As soon as it is safe to reopen City facilities and restart programming, the City looks forward to welcoming these employees back to work.

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