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

Police watchdog investigating fatal crash in Kelowna

Kelowna RCMP received a report of a single-vehicle collision on Bulman Road near Highway 97 on June 1

Kelowna council greenlights ‘The Wedge’

The wedge-shaped building will be built at the corner of Leon Avenue and Water Street

Single vehicle rollover on Clifton Road

The incident happened just after 5 p.m. on Wednesday in Kelowna

Province looks to seize Kelowna home owned by alleged drug trafficker

Michelle Collins and Nigel Byrne were also recently investigated by Kelowna RCMP for drug trafficking

Oyama Zipline Adventure Park opening for the season

The Lake Country zipline is scheduled to open on June 12

WATCH: North Okanagan golf cart stolen, then returned

Homeowners have footage of two men taking the cart and then bringing it back

Vehicle stolen in Revelstoke recovered near Salmon Arm after occupants suffer overdoses

Police say they were alerted to the vehicle after occupants treated by ambulance after drug use

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Highway 1 closed after body found near Hope

Coroners Service reportedly on the scene, highway has been closed for 10 hours in both directions

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

LETTER: Questions raised about Summerland property taxes

Dear Editor: By now property owners in Summerland will have received their… Continue reading

COLUMN: Is parliament essential?

We need time to dig into the books and ensure that taxpayers are being respected

Sicamous RCMP catch driver going twice the speed limit

The car was impounded for seven days and the driver received a hefty fine

Most Read