Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement of new travel restrictions for all international arrivals and the cancellation of several flight routes, Wesley Lesosky, President of the Airline Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), made the following statement:

“We appreciate the urgency and the need for measures to prevent the spread of new variants in Canada. But we need the government to work with us, instead of against us. Instead, almost one year into this pandemic, the government still has no plan to help airlines in Canada recover or even survive. Let’s be clear: these measures will put more people out of work right away and further jeopardize the viability of the sector for the long run.

“Restrictions have to be accompanied by solutions. The recent approval of the Spartan PCR rapid test is positive news, and we need the government to move quickly to put it to use in this sector to save jobs and make flying safer.

“Mr. Trudeau needs to ask himself why he is sitting idle while workers in this sector call ‘mayday’ and while thousands of Canadian jobs are lost.”

CUPE represents 15,000 flight attendants at nine Canadian airlines, three-quarters of whom are already laid off, wondering if there will be an industry to return to once the pandemic is over.