July 31, 2020
CONTINUED INTERRUPTION OF VIA RAIL SERVICES LEADS TO TEMPORARY LAYOFFS OF MANAGEMENT AND PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEES
MONTRÉAL, July 31, 2020 – As the impact of the current pandemic continues to be felt in the passenger transportation industry across the country, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) is announcing temporary layoffs of some 30 management and professional employees, effective August 14. This measure is in addition to retirements and vacant positions that will not be filled, which brings the total of impacted positions to 80.
Although VIA Rail has recently seen a slight increase in ridership, with added departures in some of its markets, several routes remain suspended and it becomes imperative that measures be taken to diligently reduce the financial impact of the current crisis on the organization, such as hiring freezes and reduced work schedules for our teams.
"VIA Rail is not immune to the current reality. As with all passenger carriers, the pandemic continues to have a major impact on our operations with ridership not showing any significant recovery at the national level. We are making difficult decisions to lessen the financial impact and safeguard the funds we have been allocated. I realize that this is a very difficult situation for affected employees and their families, and we look forward to calling them back once the recovery is underway," said Cynthia Garneau, President and CEO.
VIA Rail's main focus over the next few months is to advance its service resumption plan within prescribed health and safety requirements in order to get its employees back to work as soon as possible.
About VIA Rail
As Canada’s national rail passenger service, VIA Rail (viarail.ca) and all its employees are mandated to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service, in both official languages of our country. VIA Rail operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking over 400 communities across Canada, and about 180 more communities through intermodal partnerships, and safely transported over 5 million passengers in 2019. The Corporation has been awarded five Safety Awards and three Environment Awards by the Railway Association of Canada since 2007. Visit the “About VIA Rail” section at https://www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail.