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Latest Layoffs In Canada: These Major Employers Are Cutting Jobs Due To COVID-19

Air Canada and Vancouver airport are among the latest large-scale job reductions announced in Canada.
An Air Canada check-in desk at the airport in Calgary, Alta., Wed. March 25, 2020, amid a worldwide COVID-19 flu pandemic.
Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press
An Air Canada check-in desk at the airport in Calgary, Alta., Wed. March 25, 2020, amid a worldwide COVID-19 flu pandemic.

Check this page for updates on large-scale layoffs taking place across Canada amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

March 30, 2020: Air Canada to lay off 15,000 people

Air Canada will temporarily lay off more than 15,000 unionized workers beginning this week as the airline struggles with fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The layoffs will continue through April and May amid drastically reduced flight capacity from the Montreal-based airline.

Air Canada says the two-month furloughs will affect about one-third of management and administrative and support staff, including head office employees, in addition to the front-line workers. The carrier is also cutting between 85 per cent and 90 per cent of its flights, cancelling most of its international and U.S. routes in response to the global shutdown.

― The Canadian Press

March 27, 2020: Half of Vancouver airport staff laid off

More than half of the 26,500 people employed at Vancouver International Airport have been laid off, the airport’s CEO told Business in Vancouver. The airport has also stopped work on construction projects, impacting another 4,000 jobs on- and off-site, Richmond said. ― HuffPost Canada

March 27, 2020: Reitmans lays off 90% of store staff in most ‘drastic’ move ever

Reitmans (Canada) Ltd. is laying off 90 per cent of its Canadian retail store workers and 30 per cent of its Montreal head office employees after closing stores amid the spread of COVID-19.

The company, which employs about 7,000 people, says that nearly all of its Canadian retail store workers at its five chains will be out of work effective Sunday. The head office layoffs take effect Monday.

In addition to its namesake Reitmans stores, the company’s other banners include Penningtons, Addition Elle, RW&CO. and Thyme Maternity.

CEO Stephen Reitman says in a statement that the company has “never had to turn to such drastic measures″ in its more than 90-year history. ― Canadian Press

Watch: Here’s who qualifies for Canada’s new COVID-19 benefit. Story continues below.

March 27, 2020: Indigo temporarily lays off vast majority of staff

Indigo Books & Music Inc. is laying off temporarily 5,200 of its retail employees starting today after deciding to keep its stores closed indefinitely during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Toronto-based book seller temporarily closed its stores March 17 until March 27, and paid its employees during the hiatus. But the company now says the stores will remain closed until further notice.

She says Indigo expects “to re-embrace as many as possible when this period of store closure is over.: The company employs about 7,000 people in Canada, according to its website. ― Canadian Press

March 27, 2020: Boston Pizza cuts corporate staff

Boston Pizza International Inc. is temporarily laying off approximately half of its 192 corporate staff across its three offices in Canada. The company says the cuts are due to a significant decline in business caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Boston Pizza closed all of its dining rooms and sports bars across Canada last week, including those in areas where such closures were not yet been mandated, in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The company says virtually all of its nearly 400 independently and locally owned restaurants have had to make similar decisions to layoff staff as they adjust to take out and delivery only. ― Canadian Press

March 27, 2020: SNC-Lavalin announces furloughs, pay reductions

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. is withdrawing its financial guidance for 2020 as it works to cut costs and manage its cash flow due the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact of the company’s operations around the world. The company says it has been able to continue work with clients from non-office-based locations, and to move work among different jurisdictions as required.

However, it says where it’s not possible for employees to carry on productive client work, due to temporary shutdowns or the nature of the client service, actions are being taken, including reduced hours and employee furloughs.

SNC also says all of its executive leadership will be taking a 20 per cent reduction in salary and board members will take a 20 per cent reduction in cash compensation for the second quarter. ― Canadian Press

March 26, 2020: Cirque du Soleil weighs future after near-total layoffs

Cirque du Soleil says it hasn’t made a decision on steps it will take to stay afloat after cancelling all of its shows and laying off almost all of its employees due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Company spokeswoman Caroline Couillard says the company is working with all of its partners, as well as with the federal and Quebec governments, to determine how to best support it and prepare for a return to activities as soon as the pandemic is brought under control. The company’s debt is estimated to be US$900 million.

A week ago, the company announced the layoff of some 4,700 employees and the cancellation of its 44 shows around the world, including six in Las Vegas.
― Canadian Press

March 26, 2020: More layoffs in Quebec media

Two major Quebec media companies are announcing big cost-cutting measures that they say are necessary to deal with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cogeco Media, which operates 23 radio stations in Quebec and Ontario, said today it was laying off 130 people, representing 25 per cent of its workforce. The company says the decision is due to a drop in advertising revenue.

Meanwhile Montreal’s La Presse said today it would implement a 10 per cent salary cut for its unionized employees and its managers until 2021. The not-for-profit news company says it won’t be eliminating any positions. ― Canadian Press

March 25, 2020: Leon’s Furniture cutting half of its staff, closing 72 stores

Leon’s Furniture Ltd. is laying off 3,900 employees or about half its total current workforce as it deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. The company says it will temporarily close 72 of its 205 corporate-owned stores across Canada.

The company’s retail banners include Leon’s, the Brick, the Brick Mattress Store and the Brick Outlet as well as Appliance Canada and Midnorthern Appliance. Leon’s says it will offer supplemental payments to its employees on top of any employment insurance benefits. ― Canadian Press

March 24, 2020: 400 layoffs in Atlantic Canada, Quebec as newspapers go on hiatus

Two newspaper publishers in Quebec and Atlantic Canada are temporarily laying off nearly 400 employees because of the impact of COVID-19.

SaltWire Network is laying off nearly 40 per cent of its workforce or about 240 people, effective Wednesday. It is suspending all weekly papers in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador for 12 weeks, as well as combining two daily papers.

Paid weekly subscribers in Nova Scotia will receive the weekend edition of The Chronicle Herald. The print and online versions of The Chronicle Herald, the Cape Breton Post, The Guardian and The Telegram will continue to be produced, as will flyer distribution.

However, The Guardian and The Journal Pioneer will be combined for 12 weeks, with Journal Pioneer subscribers receiving The Guardian on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, the co-operative that owns most dailies newspapers outside of Montreal is cutting about 143 jobs. La Co-operative nationale de l’information independante, formerly Groupe Capitales Medias, which publishes papers including Le Soleil, will suspend all weekday print editions. Saturday editions of the French-language papers will continue along with content on its digital platforms. ― Canadian Press

March 24, 2020: Nearly 7,000 to be laid off at WestJet

WestJet Airlines Ltd. says roughly half of its 14,000 employees will leave the company ― some temporarily ― due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 6,900 departures comprise early retirements, resignations and both voluntary and involuntary leaves after WestJet asked staff to choose one of those options or reduce their hours or pay, said CEO Ed Sims. About 700 of the departures are involuntary.

The first wave of departures is set for Wednesday and the second for April 1. The figures do not apply to WestJet’s budget subsidiary Swoop.Sims and other executives will take a 50 per cent pay cut, while vice-presidents and directors will see their salaries reduced by 25 per cent, the company said. ― Canadian Press


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