In response to Air Canada planning to lay off a large number of its employees due to COVID-19, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will continue to work with Canadian airlines to support them through the pandemic.
Trudeau was asked about the layoffs in his regular address to the nation on Saturday morning.
“We moved forward quickly on support for people who got laid off, and then moved forward on a wage subsidy that has been drawn on by Air Canada and other airlines,” said Trudeau, who acknowledged that the airline industry has been heavily impacted by COVID-19.
“We’re gonna continue to work with airlines across this country to make sure that they are drawing on the benefit packages that we’ve put forward for workers through the wage subsidy.”
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When asked if the wage subsidy hasn’t been enough to prevent Air Canada’s layoffs, the prime minister reiterated that the government will continue to financially support businesses as much as possible, noting that the wage subsidy was recently extended until the end of August to help businesses keep employees on their payroll.
“This is a pandemic that has hit extremely hard in all sectors of the economy and it is something that we are all trying to figure out how to get through in the best possible way,” he said, noting that airlines and the tourism sector have been hit even harder.
“That’s why we’re gonna keep working with airlines, including Air Canada, to see how we can help even more than we have with the wage subsidy.”
Trudeau announced today $100 million in funding for the Canadian Red Cross to ensure that the organization can continue to respond to COVID-19 matters while also preparing for potential floods and wildfires.
According to the prime minister, Health Canada has recently approved the first Canadian clinical trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine at the Canadian Center for Vaccinology at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.
“The National Research Council of Canada will be working with the manufacturers so that if these vaccine trials are successful, we can produce and distribute it here at home,” Trudeau said.
“Research and development take time and must be done right, but this is encouraging news.”