Air Canada has announced that they are cutting 1,500 jobs and suspending over a dozen international flight routes as government-imposed travel restrictions continue to cost the airline industry, Global News reports.
It is not the first time Air Canada laid off workers in response to the decline of travel as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, Air Canada laid off 16,500 workers.
Air Canada had previously announced that they would be taking the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to afford rehiring many of the laid off workers. Despite the government's CEWS registry showing that Air Canada did, in fact, benefit from the program, the company is continuing to lay off employees.
Air Canada has also been forced to suspend over a dozen flight routes due to the travel restrictions. Of the suspended flight routes, more than half are between Canada and the United States, while the other half fly to countries such as the United Kingdom, Colombia, and Israel, among others. These routes will start being suspended on Feb 13, and by Feb 18 all of them will no longer be operational.
The layoffs come as the Trudeau government continues to put in place heavy restrictions on travelling, a trend which has been exacerbated by the emergence of new variants of coronavirus in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil.
The government has mainly targeted non-essential travel, forcing the suspension of all flights to sunny destinations in order to prevent Canadians from taking warm vacations during the winter. Many of Canada's politicians and most powerful people have ignored such advice, however, taking vacations in sunny areas of the Caribbean and Central America.
The Canadian government has also imposed new restrictions on arrivals, forcing those entering the country by airline to not only take a coronavirus test before flying to Canada, but to also quarantine in a hotel for three days upon arrival regardless of the results of their coronavirus tests.
Those who enter quarantine upon arrival are detained without due process in hotel rooms they are forced to pay for. Despite costing an estimated $2,000 per traveler, accommodations such as meals have been compared by some quarantined arrivals to accommodations provided in prisons.
Guards also prohibit them from leaving such hotels, and quarantined individuals are prohibited from spending the three days quarantining at home with their families.
Despite the intense travel restrictions which have destroyed thousands of jobs across Canada, the foreign variants of coronavirus have managed to find their way into the country regardless.
The Trudeau government has also closed all international airports outside of Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Calgary. Such restrictions could have particularly devastating impacts on smaller cities and communities while arbitrarily benefiting large metropolitan areas of the country.
It is unclear when such restrictions on international travel will be lifted as Canada struggles to distribute the coronavirus vaccine. Canada is among the worst performing developed countries in terms of vaccine distribution in the world.
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