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

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

Kelly and Mila Bradley attended a drive-by volunteer event for Coralee Oakes before the 2020 election. The third-term B.C. Liberal MLA was named to two opposition critic roles Monday, Nov. 30. (Submitted Photo)
Coralee Oakes named as post-secondary critic in B.C. Liberals’ Cabinet

The Cariboo North MLA was also named the sports critic on Nov. 30

The Billy Barker Casino team went 1-1 in the last two weeks, and continue to lead the standings of the Quesnel Curling Sponsor League.(Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel Sponsor League Curling: First blemish for Billy Barker

The team representing the casino and hotel is no longer undefeated but stays at the top of the table

The Cariboo Regional District has launched a broadband survey for residents, businesses and organizations. (Monica Lamb-Yorski Photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Cariboo Regional District launches broadband connectivity survey

Paper copies of the survey will be available beginning Dec. 2

Forestry Ink columnist Jim Hilton. (File Photo)
FORESTRY INK: Responsible use of herbicides

Columnist Jim Hilton writes about the issue of spraying herbicides like glyphosate

This screenshot from the City of Quesnel website shows where paving took place during the 2020 season. (City of Quesnel website)
City of Quesnel completed overlay paving at five sites in 2020

The season’s work was completed within a budget of $375,000

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
B.C. man defends his family against intruder, saves neighbour while wielding hockey stick

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009. (RCMP photo)
Human remains found off U.S. coast in 2009 identified as Penticton man

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009

Most Read