Via Rail cutting about 1,000 jobs amid struggles over COVID-19 pandemic

Via Rail is temporarily laying off approximately 1,000 unionized workers, citing the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the travel industry.

“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,” CEO Cynthia Garneau said in a statement Wednesday.

The layoffs will take effect on July 24, the Montreal-based company said. Via Rail’s website says it employs more than 3,100 people.

In March, Via Rail halted some routes and extended some previous cancellations in response to the pandemic.

The company had previously temporarily laid off about 1,000 employees in February in response to rail blocklades by demonstrators opposed to construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline on grounds that it would run through the hereditary land of the Wet’suwet’en people.

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