Banners hang on a fence as protesters stage a blockade of the rail line at Macmillan Yard in Toronto, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. The protest is in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to the LNG pipeline in northern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Via Rail lays off 1,000 employees temporarily as anti-pipeline blockades drag on

The Crown corporation has suspended passenger trains on its Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto

Via Rail says it is temporarily laying off 1,000 employees due to blockades that continue to halt service on CN tracks in Eastern Canada.

The Crown corporation has suspended passenger trains on its Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto routes for nearly two weeks due to the protests that have disrupted rail service across the country.

The layoffs come amid growing pressure on the federal government to take action against rail blockades in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose a natural gas pipeline in British Columbia.

“Until CN Rail opens the remaining tracks for service, VIA Rail has no choice but to continue the cancellation of its services on a large part of its network,” Via said in a release Thursday. “It is with sincere regret that we must proceed with temporary employee suspensions.”

Via will resume partial service in southwestern Ontario and along its Quebec City-Montreal-Ottawa route Thursday morning after announcing a full network shutdown last Thursday.

Chief executive Cynthia Garneau called the ongoing interruption due to a 13-day blockade east of Belleville, Ont., “unprecedented.”

“In 42 years of existence, it is the first time that VIA Rail, a public intercity passenger rail service, has to interrupt most of its services across the country,” she said in a statement.

Via said it commends the ongoing dialogue efforts between government and demonstrators at the rail blockades

The company has cancelled more than 530 trains since blockades began on Feb. 6.

Earlier this week, Canadian National Railway Co. temporarily laid off about 450 workers from its operations in Eastern Canada after cancelling more than 400 trains since protests arose.

ALSO READ: CN Rail laying off 450 workers after blockade forces shutdown in eastern Canada

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coastal GasLinkIndigenousPipelineprotest

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

Just Posted

The Stettler Board of Trade has launched the Business Resources Support Form

The form will assess assets and measure the needs of businesses resulting from emergency restrictions and regulations

10-15 cm of snow expected before Tuesday across Central Alberta

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement with the possibility of a snowfall warning

Special update on COVID-19 situation from the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions

Farmers should be aware that these revised operational measures will not affect our ability to work for you

The Stettler District Music Festival has been cancelled

The event normally runs for nine days and can attract hundreds of entries

Former Stettler resident helps to develop a potential prototype ventilator

Peter Brockley, who now lives in the West Kootenays, was a teacher at William E. Hay Secondary Campus

A Message From the Publisher – ‘We will do our best, but without local advertising revenue, The Stettler Independent cannot survive’

‘We will do our best, but without local advertising revenue, The Stettler Independent cannot survive’

Lacombe Police respond to multiple incidents

LPS respond to thefts, outstanding warrants

City at centre of China’s virus outbreak gradually revives

“After two months trapped at home, I want to jump. I want to revenge shop.”

A message from Central Alberta Co-op

Please remember to practice social distancing at all our locations.

Spain passes China in infections; Trump extends US lockdown

Spain becomes the third country to surpass China in infections

Crucial details of Ottawa’s proposed wage subsidy program expected today

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to hold press conference

World COVID-19 morning update: Olympics delayed one year; 12,000 health care workers infected

Comprehensive world news update: Lockdown in UK showing signs of hope

Most Read