Via to temporarily layoff about 1,000 workers as pandemic impacts its business

Via to temporarily layoff about 1,000 workers as pandemic impacts its business

Via to temporarily layoff about 1,000 workers as pandemic impacts its business

MONTREAL — Via Rail is temporarily laying off about 1,000 unionized employees as the company copes with interrupted routes and reduced travel demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Unfortunately, as we don’t anticipate ridership to be back to pre-COVID-19 levels in the foreseeable future, we 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,” Cynthia Garneau, Via’s president and CEO, said in a statement Wednesday.

The layoffs take effect on July 24. Affected employees will receive a temporary written layoff notice that respects their collective agreement’s terms, the Montreal-based company said. It will maintain access to different programs for the employees.

The company is working to advance its service resumption plan and has seen some recent positive developments, though many routes remain interrupted.

Winnipeg to Churchill is the sole route in service, according to Via Rail’s website, which was last updated June 26.

Several routes have partially resumed, while Toronto to Niagara Falls, Toronto to Vancouver, and Montreal to Halifax remain interrupted with all trains cancelled. Some of those routes are slated to resume service Nov. 1.

Via Rail said it plans to bring back employees “as soon as the customer demand allows it.”

The passenger rail service has faced a rough year with rail blockades impacting service earlier in 2020.

“The current year has been filled with unprecedented challenges,” said Garneau.

The company temporarily laid off roughly the same number of employees in B.C. and Ontario during rail blockades in the winter. The company said in March that most of those employees would be brought back early that month.

Some routes in those provinces were halted when protests in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en First Nation blocked railways across Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2020.

The Canadian Press

railway

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveres to Canada are being delayed because of complications at their European distribution facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Delays of Pfizer vaccine delivery to impact Alberta’s vaccination plans

Alberta has administered 74,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw
Alberta eases some COVID-19 restrictions

Salons, barbershops and other personal and wellness services will be open by appointment only

File Photo
‘You took away some real joy.’ Sylvan Lake Winter Village turned off after vandalism

Sometime during the night of Jan, 12 the light display at the pier was vandalized and damaged

(Black Press file photo)
Sylvan Lake man charged with fraud totalling more than $100,000

Sylvan Lake RCMP have been investigating two companies owned by the same man since June 2019

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage addresses the attendees while Tom Olsen, Managing Director of the Canadian Energy Centre, looks on at a press conference at SAIT in Calgary on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Fulmes
‘Morally and ethically wrong:’ Court to hear challenge to Alberta coal policy removal

At least 9 interveners will seek to join a rancher’s request for a judicial review of Alberta’s decision

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

(Via the Canadian Press)
Alberta monolith comes with message to save eastern slopes of Rocky Mountains

‘They deserve our attention. They warrant our protection. They are under threat’

blessing
Bentley Blessing Pantry continues to faithfully serve the community

‘We just wanted to make everyone aware that we are still here to serve you throughout this coming year.’

A Suncor logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 2, 2019. A worker is missing after a dozer broke through ice on an inactive Suncor tailings pond in northern Alberta.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Worker missing after dozer breaks through frozen tailings pond in northern Alberta

The worker was an employee of Christina River Construction

Most Read