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Nav Canada recently made the decision to eliminate permanent jobs as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant negative impact on global air traffic and on the aviation industry. To adapt to the new realities of air traffic levels, the company is also taking steps to safely streamline operations and will be launching level of service reviews for certain aerodromes.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company had 5,100 employees nationwide. Including the previous reduction in staffing of temporary employees in the spring and early retirements, the company has reduced more than 720 jobs or 14 per cent of the workforce. Nav Canada will continue to monitor air traffic activity across the country and adapt its operations and workforce accordingly as necessary.
“Undoubtedly, the company is in the midst of the toughest moment in its history. Nav Canada is not immune to the economic downturn and severe financial impacts the aviation industry is experiencing,” said Neil Wilson, president and chief executive officer.
Cost containment strategies commenced as soon as the pandemic was declared. Prior to the Sept. 22 layoffs, Nav Canada reduced management compensation, deferred retroactive wage increases with bargaining units and offered a voluntary retirement program to minimize cash outflows. Nav Canada has also benefited from the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy program.
Nav Canada is working closely with labour unions to adapt the size of its workforce in response to the persisting low air traffic levels. The cuts are across all departments and include most of the current cohort of operational students.
The company will also close its flight information centres in Winnipeg and Halifax. Pilots and dispatchers will continue to receive the same vital information they need, including flight-planning services, in-depth interpretive weather information and enroute flight information, which will be provided by the remaining flight information centres. Air traffic services will not be impacted by this change.
Nav Canada must continue to fulfill its commitment to efficiently run Canada’s air navigation system, ensuring that the services supplied align with market demands. In the coming weeks, aeronautical studies will be launched for multiple aerodromes to assess the level of service required to provide safe and efficient operations for our airline, air cargo and general aviation customers.
Aeronautical studies apply a safety-focused and Transport Canada regulated process, which Nav Canada has followed in support of its globally recognized safety record for more than 20 years. This rigorous, systematic approach provides for full consultation with all affected stakeholders, with the key factor being safety.
“The aviation industry is contracting and faces profound changes. We continue to monitor the impact of the pandemic and will continue to take steps as they are necessary to align service with traffic levels while maintaining the integrity of the air navigation system,” said Wilson.
The recent changes will not have any operational impact on the safe delivery of air navigation services across the country.