Trudeau mum on possible assistance for Air Canada

OTTAWA-- Less than 24 hours after Canada's biggest airline revealed plans for a huge downsizing of its workforce due to COVID-19, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated he wants to see what can be done to help the ailing company-- however stayed mum on information.

Speaking with reporters outside his Rideau Cottage house Saturday, Trudeau acknowledged the tight spot dealing with airline companies and the travel industry during the COVID-19 crisis.

However even as he offered peace of minds that Ottawa would continue to deal with companies and industries hardest hit by the crisis, precisely what help Air Canada can anticipate to get from government stays uncertain.

” We will have discussions with Air Canada as we will with airline companies throughout the sector to attempt and see how the best way to make it through this specific pandemic is,” Trudeau said.

” We understand that airlines are extremely hard hit by this pandemic and we will be there to deal with them to see how finest we can assist.”

Trudeau avoided concerns about whether help might be available in the kind of a bailout, a federal stake in the company’s equity or whether Ottawa would want to aid with the company’s pension and health advantage obligations. He devoted just to speaking to the company to attempt to identify what help could be possible.

Air Canada will lay off more than half of its 38,000 employees next month as it grapples with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline estimates about 20,000 of its staff members will be impacted.

The layoffs, which will take place June 7, will impact a minimum of 19,000 staff and could go as high as 22,800.

The nation’s biggest airline company– along with its competitors– has seen need for air travel vaporize amidst continuous border shutdowns and confinement procedures, prompting Air Canada to ground some 225 planes and slash flight capacity by 95 per cent.

Air Canada’s move was revealed after Trudeau extended the $73-billion Canada Emergency Situation Wage Subsidy through completion of August previously on Friday.

The airline company did benefit from the federal wage subsidy program to rehire over 16,000 employees at first laid off in March due to the pandemic. Now the business states workers who are laid off will no longer fall under this program and will have to apply instead for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which pays $2,000 a month to employees who have actually lost their tasks due to COVID-19.

Trudeau noted airlines and other huge companies struggling through the pandemic can likewise access a bridge financing program being offered to business with a minimum of $300 million in earnings so they can stay open, keep employees on their payrolls and avoid bankruptcies.

He made a point to note this is “not a bailout” however rather a fund that uses loans to business to assist them get through the crisis.

” We are still working with business to see who is taking that up and how the format of it will be worked out,” he stated.

The federal government will continue to work with Air Canada to try to identify the best method to survive the crisis, Trudeau said.

” I believe we all know this pandemic has hit exceptionally difficult on travel industries and on the airlines especially, that’s why we’re going to continue dealing with airlines, consisting of Air Canada, to see how we can assist even more than we have with the wage subsidy.”

Meanwhile, Trudeau said Health Canada has actually authorized the very first medical trial for a prospective COVID-19 vaccine at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.

The National Research Council of Canada will deal with the producers so that if these vaccine trials achieve success, Canada can produce and distribute it within the nation.

Dr. Scott Halperin, director of the Canadian Center for Vaccinology at Dalhousie University, stated the approval for the phase one clinical trial was amazing news.

Halperin said it’s expected the very first study utilizing less than 100 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55 would likely get underway within the next 3 weeks.

“In those research studies the main function is take a look at the safety of the vaccine and how well it’s tolerated by the individuals who get it,” stated Halperin.

He stated the volunteers would be followed over the next six months and if they show a safe immune action to the vaccine, researchers will rapidly transition into a broadened stage two research study before the very first phase is even completed.

“That will assist speed things along since otherwise it could take years to go through the procedure,” Halperin stated.

On Tuesday, the National Research Study Council of Canada announced that it would work with a Chinese business to try to establish its potential vaccine for COVID-19 faster.

CanSino Biologics, is already performing human clinical trials for the vaccine that will be evaluated by the Halifax lab.

Trudeau likewise announced cash for the Red Cross on Saturday, vowing $100 million to assist deal with COVID-19 relief, as well as work they do every year assisting jurisdictions impacted by floods and wildfires.

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