Municipality of Wood Buffalo cuts jobs due to effects of wildfire, slumping oilsands

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — The regional municipality that includes Fort McMurray says it is cutting 168 jobs due to the economic effects of last spring’s wildfire and Alberta’s slumping oilsands industry.

The municipality says the job cuts include managers and union staff as well as 46 vacant positions.

Wood Buffalo Mayor Melissa Blake says in a news release that the community faces a challenging year and changes won’t be easy.

Blake says the reorganization should save about $24 million a year.

A wildfire that broke out last May forced more than 80,000 people from the region and destroyed 2,400 homes and other buildings.

The municipality also cites the potential impact of changes to Alberta municipal tax laws for the cuts.

“Changes like this in an organization are never easy,” Blake said Tuesday in the release.

“I want to thank all those affected employees for their contributions and time of service to the community.”

The Insurance Bureau of Canada has called the wildfire the costliest insured natural disaster in Canadian history and estimates insured property damage at almost $3.6 billion.