via rail layoffs

VIA Rail Canada will lay off 1,000 employees due to the pandemic

VIA Rail Canada is announcing temporary layoffs of approximately 1,000 unionized employees due to the pandemic, according to a statement from the company issued on Wednesday.

The employees will be cut from the workforce effective July 24, 2020.

The company halted some routes in March at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada and is attributing the latest decision due to the pandemic's impact on the travel industry.

VIA Rail called the layoffs a "difficult decision."

President and Chief Executive Officer Cynthia Garneau said that 2020 has been a year filled with "unprecedented challenges," citing the February railroad blockades and the pandemic.

"We have made every effort to protect our employees to the best of our abilities against the impacts of the service reductions," Garneau said.

"Unfortunately, as we don't anticipate ridership to be back to pre-COVID-19 levels in the foreseeable future, we have had to make difficult decisions to deal with the situation as we gain a better understanding of the impacts of the pandemic on our operations."

VIA Rail did not give a date where employees will return to work, but said that they hope to reintegrate employees "as soon as the customer demand allows it."

Lead photo by

VIA Rail Canada


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