The decline in ridership resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has forced Via Rail to lay off approximately 1,000 unionized staff across the country, the company announced Wednesday afternoon.
The Crown corporation indicated that affected employees will be notified and that departures will take effect on July 24. The breakdown of layoffs by regions was not immediately available.
According to its most recent annual report, Via Rail had 3,234 active employees at the end of December.
Prior to the pandemic, the company had also been disrupted by rail blockades that had occurred across the country in support of protesters opposing a pipeline project in northern British Columbia.
Despite “recent positive developments” surrounding the resumption of its service, it will take time to regain traffic similar to that observed before the health crisis, said president and CEO Cynthia Garneau.
The company’s head office is in Montreal. The city also is home to one of Via Rail’s four maintenance centres.