FILE – An Air Canada Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft is shown next to a gate at Trudeau Airport in Montreal on March 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

WestJet joins Air Canada in hoping to qualify for wage subsidy to bring workers back

Air Canada said March revenues fell by more than 30 per cent year over year

WestJet says it plans to bring back nearly 6,400 employees on to its payroll with the help of Ottawa’s emergency wage subsidy program.

WestJet chief executive Ed Sims made the announcement in a video posted to Twitter Wednesday evening, following a similar announcement by Air Canada Tuesday.

He says employees will be back on the company payroll once the federal government has approved the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program.

Air Canada said it would use the program to bring back about 16,500 employees it laid off in March due to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sims says it doesn’t mean all the employees will be automatically coming back to work because there might not be work for them to do, but he says it will help the workers financially.

WestJet continues to operate flights during the crisis, but it has slashed its capacity.

International air travel has dropped to record lows, with passenger volumes at Canadian airports decreasing by 96 per cent year over year for the week starting March 30, despite thousands of travellers returning home on repatriation flights, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.

Passengers arriving from the U.S. and the rest of the globe dwindled to 11,400 and 3,300, respectively, compared to 376,900 and 73,200 in 2019.

“While our seat capacity and operations have decreased by more than 90 per cent overnight, we are trying to keep as many of our employees as possible during the crisis and this measure will certainly help,” Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu said in a release Wednesday.

READ MORE: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

READ MORE: WestJet lays off nearly 7,000 employees, cutting staff in half amid COVID-19 crisis

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Air CanadaCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

Abbotsford’s Devon Toews has signed with the Colorado Avalanche for four years. (Avalanche Twitter photo)
Abbotsford’s Devon Toews signs with Colorado Avalanche

Local product inks four-year deal worth $4.1 million annually

Abbotsford’s Kira Peary has been named the 2020 John Cannon Memorial Fund scholarship winner. (Armando Tura/UVic)
Abbotsford’s Kira Peary earns John Cannon Memorial Fund scholarship

Robert Bateman Secondary School grad takes home fourth annual Cannon award

Archway Community Services in Abbotsford. (Photo courtesy of Archway)
New program in Abbotsford offers support for young parents

Archway Community Services provides outreach, including classes and referrals

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Mt. Cheam closes for COVID-19 isolation measures, moving to online learning

School principal confirms coronavirus exposure led to staffing reduction and need to close

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

Crew transport bus at the Trans Mountain pipeline project work site in Burnaby, March 2020. (Trans Mountain)
Check your workplace COVID-19 safety plans, Dr. Henry urges

Masks in public spaces, distance in lunchrooms for winter

B.C.’s Court of Appeal is in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Judgment reserved in Surrey Six slayings appeals

Six men were killed in suite 1505 of the Balmoral Tower in Whalley on Oct. 19, 2007

Kelowna City Hall has been vandalized overnight. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna City Hall hit by anti-pandemic vandalism

Graffiti condemning the virus appears overnight on City Hall

FILE – A woman smokes a marijuana joint at a “Wake and Bake” legalized marijuana event in Toronto on October 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Home nurse visits could play big role in reducing cannabis use, smoking in young mothers

The program, dubbed the BC Healthy Connections Project, involves public health nursing home visits

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The RCMP photo shows cannabis that was seized as part of the E-Prominent investigation. (RCMP)
Four Langley and Surrey men charged in 2019 pot export case

Warrants were executed on properties in Surrey, Langley and Delta in June and August 2019

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

Most Read