January 14th, 2021
New Democrats call on the government to support airlines workers
ST. JOHN'S – After Air Canada announced it was cutting routes to more rural and northern parts of the country earlier this week, New Democrats are again asking the government to provide support to airlines so that the workers in that field and Canadians depending on these services can take care of their families.
"Canadians in rural and northern parts of the country are paying the price for the government's lack of planning. At least seventeen hundred airline workers have lost their jobs and countless others who depend on these flights to travel to their job sites are suffering because the government didn't step in with the necessary supports for the airline sector," said NDP critic for Public Safety, Jack Harris. "These cuts would surely be lessened if the federal government had worked on a plan to support the airline industry and those impacted by it months ago."
In Harris' home province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the airline has announced it is cutting all service to Labrador and two more routes out of Newfoundland including a major route from St. John’s to Toronto that has been operating for 60 years.
"People living in northern regions like Labrador already pay high prices for necessities like food and essential travel and now the government is standing by while airlines are essentially forcing them to pay for two airfares to get where they need to go. These people and communities need the government's help," said Harris.
Air Canada has received the wage subsidy but they aren't paying it to the hundreds of people they have laid off.
"The purpose of the benefit was to keep people employed. If a major corporation is taking that support and then laying off hundreds of people, there needs to be some rules to ensure the money goes to help workers and not to cover operating costs. The government is failing Canadians in the middle of a public health crisis by standing by and not providing adequate support to airlines. It's not the executives who will suffer-it's the workers who are being laid off and the communities who are further isolated."