Via Rail announced on Wednesday that they would be temporarily laying off approximately 1,000 unionized employees as it continues to face challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a release, the company says that while there have been positive developments recently as service ramps back up, many routes continue to be interrupted.
“The current year has been filled with unprecedented challenges,” Cynthia Garneau, president and CEO of Via Rail, said in a release. “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.”
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She added that the company does not anticipate ridership to return to pre-pandemic levels in the foreseeable future and chose to make “difficult decisions to deal with the situation.”
Impacted employees will receive a temporary written layoff notice that will take effect on July 24.
Via Rail says it is continuing to work on resuming its full services and will reintegrate the staff into its workforce once customer demand allows.