Issue/Source: VIA Rail Inc. (VIA) received $188 million in covid-19 relief funding announced IN the Fall economic statement
Date: JaNuary 12, 2021
- VIA Rail’s operations, were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and saw a reduction in the Crown corporation’s revenue and ridership during this challenging period.
- In order to ensure that Canadians will continue to benefit from a safe, reliable and efficient national passenger rail service, VIA Rail received financial relief from the Government of Canada.
- Additional funding is critical for VIA Rail to recover from a significant decline in its year-over-year passenger revenues and ridership, and position itself to be part of Canada’s recovery.
- VIA Rail has developed a progressive, demand-responsive, return to service strategy that balances offering transportation options for Canadians with prudent financial stewardship, while following strict public health protocols to ensure the continued safety of its customers, which is paramount.
- VIA Rail Canada Inc. received $187.5 million in financial relief for an operating shortfall in 2020-21 caused by the catastrophic impact of COVID-19.
- VIA introduced and continues work on cost containment measures through the pandemic to offset the near total revenue loss. VIA has also aligned with government policy direction, such as providing rental relief to its tenants consistent with the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program and treating its furloughed staff consistently with the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program, until proceeding with recent layoffs for those whose recall is unlikely in the near to mid-term.
- Due to the ongoing uncertainty of the impact of COVID-19 on passenger revenues in 2020-21, Transport Canada supports VIA’s proposal to resume service based on a demand-responsive gating approach and labour flexibility, balanced with cost containment.