CANSA ready to help laid-off Foodland employees

Christopher Gooding
Published on June 30, 2014
One fiscal year ends and another is beginning for the Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association, where executive director Elizabeth Cooke-Sumbu is working to create a resource day for laid off employees at the downtown Foodland in Amherst to discover what's available to them when the business shuts its doors for good on Saturday, July 5.
Christopher Gooding photo

AMHERST – Foodland employees will be looking for work after the downtown Amherst store closes Saturday.

Locally, one resource for job seekers understands first-hand what it’s like when a local business closes and the changes that come with the decision.

“Our workload doubled since last year. Fortunately we were able to pick up some new staff,” Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association’s executive director Elizabeth Cooke-Sumbu said.

Part of CANSA’s mandate is to help job seekers, as was the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association. But when CREDA closed its doors it fell to CANSA to pick up CREDA’s portfolio of job seekers. Some of those employees at CREDA found work with CANSA, bolstering the service’s ability to help others find work.

With the closure of Foodland this coming Saturday, July 5, there’s potentially 26 new job seekers in the local area, but Cooke-Sumbu is hoping the impact will be less than that.

“We’re anticipating some will find jobs within Sobeys,” Cooke-Sumbu said.

For those who don’t, CANSA is working now to help the remaining employees facing job loss transition into new futures.

“When the store closes we will work closely with [Nova Scotia] Labour and Education to present a venue for the employees to hear abut opportunities,” Cooke-Sumbu said. “CANSA is working on that venue and date with the provisions of government and Sobeys.”

Online, CANSA offers local job listings through it’s website

The decision to close the Amherst Foodland comes after a performance review of all store locations across Canada. Sobeys parent company, Empire announced 50 store locations are being closed, but the Amherst closure is the only one in the province. Five more closures are being made in New Brunswick.

The closures are expected to improve Empire’s net earnings. More than half of the closures will take place in Western Canada.

The decision comes after Empire’s $5.8-billion acquisition of rival Safeway Canada.



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