As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the travel industry globally, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) announces today the difficult decision to temporarily lay off approximately 1,000 unionized employees.
While VIA Rail has observed recent positive developments in service resumption, many routes are still interrupted. This has therefore led VIA Rail to reconsider its approach in order to further adjust to the increasing financial impacts this crisis has had on the company.
“The current year has been filled with unprecedented challenges. First with the blockades in February and now with the ongoing pandemic, we have made every effort to protect our employees to the best of our abilities against the impacts of the service reductions,” declared Cynthia Garneau, President and Chief Executive Officer. “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 is aware that this is a very difficult situation for its employees and their families and we will take care of them through this period of transition.
The employees affected will receive a temporary written layoff notice, which respects the terms of the collective agreements. These temporary layoffs will take effect on July 24, 2020. To accompany its employees during these challenging times, VIA Rail will be maintaining access to different programs.
VIA Rail continues to work on advancing its service resumption plan as the situation evolves, with the objective of reintegrating its employees as soon as the customer demand allows it.