Workforce Reductions — 2019/20 Budget Year

This is a challenging time for the university community. We will all be impacted by workforce reductions during the 2019/20 budget year, but they will impact us all differently. This page has information and resources intended to help you navigate change in a way that suits your individual situation, needs and preferences.

Managing the In-year Budget (April 2019 – March 2020)

The provincial budget for 2019/20 announced on Oct. 24 presents significant budgetary challenges to the University of Calgary. Our responses to these challenges are informed by our Eyes High 2017-22 Strategy and our Academic and Research Plans. These guiding documents are designed to provide direction — in both good and challenging times — about the allocation of our human, capital, and financial resources.

UCalgary remains fully committed to providing a rich teaching, learning and research environment and in ensuring our students have a rewarding student experience. Our intention is for our university to come out of this budget process in a strong position to continue to meet our strategic priorities.

Faculty and department deans and leaders were provided with their respective budget reductions, which were differential. Each faculty or unit was then tasked with identifying opportunities to reduce expenditures, find efficiencies, and generate new revenue. Decisions are guided by the priorities of the Academic and Research Plans, and several budget principles, including:

  • alignment with vision and priorities
  • student experience
  • success of scholars.

Prior to considering workforce reductions, leaders considered all other options to mitigate job loss. Various strategies were considered, including administrative efficiencies, tuition fee increases and alternative revenue streams. While some of these strategies will be deployed, the cost savings were not significant enough to avoid workforce reductions.

Workforce Reduction — Timing and Processes

Job losses will be implemented in two phases during the current budget year. Phase 1 occurred during the week of Nov. 25-29. Phase 2 will proceed over the course of Jan. 6-24. Job losses will affect SLT, MaPS and AUPE groups.

We appreciate the uncertainty around job security is unsettling; please be assured that you will be treated with respect; support resources are being made available to the entire UCalgary community.

For Support Staff
UCalgary’s Collective Agreement with Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) requires that UCalgary provide support staff members 24 hours notice of a position abolishment. This notice is sent by email attachment from a Human Resources representative.

Upon receiving the notice, employees are free to use their remaining work hours as they see fit — this may include going home, carrying on duties as normal, packing personal belongings or reaching out for support from AUPE or Homewood Health. The choice to disclose the fact that they are scheduled for a meeting is up to each individual employee. 

During the meeting, a Human Resources representative and a member of the employee’s leadership team will be present. Employees will be provided with important details about their entitlements under the collective agreement and information about available resources. Employees are entitled to be accompanied by a union steward to the meeting. 

Every individual will be personally guided through the process and will be treated with respect and care.    

For Management and Professional Staff

The process for Management and Professional Staff (MaPS) is guided by the MaPS Terms and Conditions of Employment. MaPS members will be asked to attend a meeting immediately or at a scheduled time. 

During the meeting, a  Human Resources representative and a member of the employee’s leadership team will be present. Employees will be provided with important details about their severance package, and information about available resources
during this meeting.  

Every individual will be personally guided through the process and will be treated with respect and care. 

Resources for All Employees


Everyone responds differently to change in their lives. These workshops provide tools and strategies that can help lessen the stress of making a transition.

Change and Personal Resilience - Dec. 4, Jan. 16 & Feb. 5

Building Personal Resilience - Dec. 12, Jan. 28 & Jan. 28

Building Resilience 2.0 - Dec. 16


Get Support 

Support is available on and off campus. 


LinkedIn Learning for Employees


Reading Resources 

Experiencing Job Loss | Homewood Health PDF
Even though it does not make it easier, it is helpful to understand normal reactions during the early stages after learning
this news, and to consider some steps that can help strengthen your ability to cope during this time.
Learn more

Surviving Layoffs and Terminations | Homewood Health PDF
An important step in dealing with recent workplace changes will be recognizing your personal reactions to the news and any resulting changes impacting your role and job responsibilities.
Learn more

Assisting a Colleague in Distress | Staff Wellness Web Resource
Faculty and staff play an important role in supporting each other's mental health and wellbeing. Learn to recognize common signs of distress and how you can offer assistance to a colleague in distress.
Learn more

Resources for Managers

Reading Resources 

Supporting Employees Affected by Layoffs and Terminations | Homewood Health PDF
After layoffs or terminations affecting your staff and workplace, your employees may react in various ways depending on
the scale of the job loss and the number of employees or teams that have been impacted.
Learn more

Self-Care Considerations Following Layoffs | Homewood Health PDF
Considerations about your own reactions and self- care strategies will be important for managing post-layoff stress as it
relates to your management role and transitioning towards a ‘new normal’ within your workplace.
Learn more

Mental Health Support Following a Critical Incident | Staff Wellness Web Resource
Leaders can play a significant role to reduce distress and help direct individuals to the appropriate on and off-campus resources for consultation and support.
Learn more


LinkedIn Learning for Managers

Frequently Asked Questions

What efforts has the university made to mitigate the number of job losses?

Each Faculty and Department was tasked with identifying opportunities for cost savings while considering impacts to existing staff levels as a last resort. These decisions were extremely difficult and the leadership group has leveraged all that is reasonably possible in a very short turn-around time. The university continues to explore options to offset anticipated future impacts.

What is the criteria that was used for determining workforce reductions?

Every area has evaluated their budget and service deliverables. While this review varies for each area, the goal is to minimize the impact to the university operations as much as possible. These principles are being used to guide the decision making process:

  • Alignment with vision and priorities (Eyes High Strategy, Academic and Research Plans)
  • Student Experience -Success of Scholars
  • Campus Engagement
  • Mindfulness
  • Accountability
  • Transparency
  • Fiscal Sustainability
  • Shared responsibility across the UCalgary family

Will job losses within a faculty, department or business unit be staggered over a prolonged period of time?

To the extent it is feasible, l departures within a given department or unit will occur at the same time in an effort to quell lingering or ongoing concerns over job security in a given area. That said, future budget years may require additional restructuring and workforce reductions in faculties, departments and/or units that have already been impacted.

Will there be additional reductions beyond January 2020?

The current workforce reduction initiatives are aimed at addressing in-year budget reductions for 2019. It is anticipated that additional budget reductions will be announced in the 2020 budget which may necessitate additional restructuring and workforce reductions.

Will impacted staff be provided with severance or paid notice?

Yes, anyone whose position is abolished or eliminated will receive notice or pay in lieu of notice in accordance with applicable legislation, policy and/or collective agreement terms.

If my position is eliminated/abolished, am I eligible to apply on other positions at the university?

Vacancies will be scrutinized and limited as part of this initiative; however, current and former employees are welcome to apply on any vacancies that are posted for which they are qualified and able to perform. The number of vacancies will be limited during the Hiring Restraint and that may limit re-employability in the immediate future.

If my position is eliminated/abolished and I accept a lump sum severance amount, do I need to repay the university if I subsequently secure another position?

Generally, any employee who elects severance is ineligible for re-employment with the university for the period of time represented by the severance payment. Once that period of time has lapsed, former employees are welcome to apply on posted vacancies without any obligation to repay if rehired.

Should I reach out to my co-worker who has been laid off?

Absolutely. Engaging professional and personal networks can be very helpful in coping with a layoff.

Couldn’t the university look at imposing mandatory retirement for eligible staff?

Retirement is a voluntary process. Forced retirement based on age is not an option as it would be in contravention of the Alberta Human Rights Act. The university is currently exploring a voluntary retirement option that will be shared when available.

Is there consideration for reducing the number of academic staff?

At this point in time academic positions will be reduced by leaving unfilled selected vacancies that exist through resignations, retirements, and vacancies.