VIA Rail laid of 1000 unionized workers across the country on July 8, 2020. The Northern B.C. route of Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert route is not affected, a company spokesperson told Black Press. (Photo: Shannon Lough/The Northern View)

VIA Rail laid of 1000 unionized workers across the country on July 8, 2020. The Northern B.C. route of Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert route is not affected, a company spokesperson told Black Press. (Photo: Shannon Lough/The Northern View)

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

VIA Rail laid off approximately 1,000 unionized workers across the country on July 8, with the “difficult decision” announced in a statement from the transportation provider, issued on the same day.

The temporary layoffs do not affect service on the Northern route B.C. route, which will run as scheduled.

“Service between Jasper-Prince George-Prince Rupert will continue according to the resumption plan shared last May 26,” Karl-Philip Marchand Giguere public relations advisor, told Black Press.

“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 statement said.

READ MORE: Train route opens to Prince Rupert

COVID-19 is just one of the cited reasons for the cross country employee terminations which will take effect on July 24.

“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,” Cynthia Garneau, president and chief executive officer of VIA Rail said.

“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.”

The passenger rail company said this is a very difficult situation for its employees and their families, but that they will be taken care of during the transitional period.

Affected employees will receive a temporary written layoff notice, which respects the terms of the collective agreements. To accompany its employees during these challenging times, VIA Rail will be maintaining access to different programs, the company said.

“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.”

“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,” VIA Rail said.

READ MORE: New mask policy on VIA Rail trains


K-J Millar | Journalist
Send K-J email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

A power outage Thursday night left nearly 3,000 homes in Clinton and the 70 Mile areas in the dark. (Katie McCullough photo).
Updated: Clinton, 70 Mile left in the dark after vehicle crashes into transmission pole

BC Hydro still working to restore power to 330 homes in 70 Mile House

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

Students Jasfia, left, and Junaya Nielsen volunteer at Peter Skene Ogden Secondary's breakfast program. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press).
Breakfast is served at PSO

The program is in its second year.

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. finds its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Two toucans sit on tree at an unidentified zoo. (Pixabay.com)
BC SPCA calls for ban on exotic animal trade after 50 parrots, toucans pass through YVR

One toucan was found dead and several others were without food

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

Most Read