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Lack of federal government aviation plan contributes to new Air Canada layoffs

Group shot of women Air Canada workers in uniform.
January 13, 2021 - 12:00 AM

January 13, 2021

TORONTO – Unifor believes the recently announced workforce reductions at Air Canada could have been lessened if the federal government had developed a plan to support Canada's aviation industry.

"Today's announcement leaves airline workers with continued disappointment in the federal government's lack of action to support the industry," said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. "For months, we have been demanding that the federal government develop a long-lasting plan and provide financial support to save the industry from total collapse."

Air Canada announced plans to close its Yellowknife, Kamloops, Gander and Goose Bay regional offices and reduce its first-quarter capacity by 25% resulting in 1,700 job losses.  The job cuts will also affect more than 200 workers at its Express carriers. This is in addition to the more than 20,000 layoffs previously announced last May.

"It baffles me that our federal government continues to remain silent when in the past week we have seen layoffs at WestJet and now Air Canada. The federal government can no longer operate as business as usual. Support for airline workers needs to be an immediate priority of the incoming Minister of Transport," said Dias.

Though the CEWS program provided some job protection measures for Canadian airline workers, the sector has seen unprecedented layoffs and furloughed workers. Yesterday Unifor, alongside Air Canada Pilots Association, Air Line Pilots Association and Canadian Airline Dispatchers Association, issued a joint media release calling on the federal government to make a direct and meaningful financial contribution to the already devastated airline industry.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

To arrange a phone, FaceTime, Zoom, Skype interview or for more information please contact Unifor Communications Representative Hamid Osman at hamid.osman@unifor.org or 647-448-2823 (cell).