VIA Rail has been prominent in recent news over the past several weeks due to a number of Wet'suwet'en solidarity protests around the country. The protestors have created blockades on the train tracks, impacting VIA's service routes. Following the closure of several lines, VIA Rail has suspended 1,000 employees. The employees being impacted are not out of a job altogether; however, they will be suspended until further notice. A resolution is allegedly being worked upon by the various parties. 

Last week, the rail service provider announced that a number of train services all over Canada would be cancelled immediately. 

These cancellations were due to the blockades across the country that were set up along the tracks. 

Following the cancellations, VIA Rail confirmed that it would be refunding all its impacted customers, which would take up to 15 days. 

Now, the company is being forced to take things one step further and suspend the employment of 1,000 workers as a result of the service interruptions. 

According to an email sent to Narcity by VIA Rail, the CN Rail has resumed partial service between Quebec City-Montreal-Ottawa. It is also going to resume regular service in Southwestern Ontario starting on February 20. 

Though, even amidst some resumptions, the railway company has had no choice but to continue the cancellations of its services on a number of its networks until CN Rail reopens the remaining tracks for service. 

“The terms of the collective agreements will be respected with regards to the notices given to unionized employees,” said VIA Rail. 

“This general interruption is an unprecedented situation in our history. In 42 years of existence, it is the first time that VIA Rail, a public intercity passenger rail service, has to interrupt most of its services across the country,” Cynthia Garneau, President and Chief Executive Officer, explained.

Garneau went on to state that since the beginning, they have been working closely with the infrastructure owners in order to make a safe and progressive plan. 

“We have done everything to mitigate the impact on our employees and our passengers. At this point, we believe we have made the fairest and most reasonable decision with the proposed temporary suspension plan. I would like to thank all our union partners for their collaboration and comprehension,” Garneau said. 

The company closed its email by stating that they are hoping the services resume as soon as possible and that they can welcome back their employees and passengers. 

VIA Rail is aiming for a decisive resolution between the various parties and it “commends the ongoing dialogue efforts.”

In a follow-up email, the rail service provider confirmed that all employees would be receiving compensation during the notice period. 

Once they are officially suspended, they can apply for employment insurance and depending on their collective agreements, some employees could receive additional wage compensation. 

All over B.C., there have been solidarity marches and protests in support of the Wet’suwet’en people. 

Several areas, including the Granville Bridge in Vancouver, have been shut down by the protests. 

Earlier this week, Premier John Horgan’s home was surrounded by pipeline protestors.

People at the home were attempting to make a citizen's arrest on Horgan in hopes that he could not attend the provincial government's 2020 budget meeting. 

In Edmonton, a group of protesters called Cuzzins for Wet’suwet’en has been blocking trains since 7 a.m. this morning.

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