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NAV CANADA announces workforce reductions and looks to streamline operations

September 22, 2020 – Ottawa – NAV CANADA today made the difficult 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 CEO.

Cost containment strategies commenced as soon as the pandemic was declared. Prior to today’s 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 en-route 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 Neil Wilson, President and CEO.

Today’s changes will not have any operational impact on the safe delivery of air navigation services across the country.   

Quick Facts

  • A private, non-profit corporation, NAV CANADA provides air traffic control, airport advisory services, weather briefings and aeronautical information services for more than 18 million square kilometers of Canadian domestic and oceanic airspace.
  • Under the Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization Act, NAV CANADA recovers its operating expense through service charges from its customers on a breakeven basis.
  • NAV CANADA’s customers include airlines, air cargo operators, air charter operators, air taxis, helicopter operators, and business and general aviation.
  • Aeronautical studies will be launched to assess levels of service in Saint-Jean QC, Castlegar BC, Churchill MB, Dauphin, MB, High Level AB, Peace River AB, Brandon MB, Fort Nelson BC, Fort St John BC, Inuvik NWT, Lloydminster AB, Norman Wells NWT, Port Hardy BC, Prince Albert SK, Red Deer AB, Sept-Îles QC, Dawson Creek BC, Fort McMurray AB, Flin Flon MB, The Pas MB, Buffalo Narrows SK, Kuujjuarapik QC, Blanc Sablon QC, Natashquan QC, and Sydney NS. The terms of reference for these studies will be posted on navcanada.ca in the coming weeks.
  • Aeronautical studies consider all relevant factors, including traffic volume, mix and distribution throughout the day; weather; airport and airspace configuration; surface activity; and the efficiency requirements of operators using the service. Formal consultation with stakeholders is central to all aeronautical studies.
  • NAV CANADA’s safety record is irrefutably one of the best in the world amongst air navigation service providers. We have achieved this record based on a regulated decision-making approach with safety at the very core of all that we do.


NAV CANADA is a private, not-for-profit company, established in 1996, providing air traffic control, airport advisory services, weather briefings and aeronautical information services for more than 18 million square kilometres of Canadian domestic and international airspace.

The Company is internationally recognized for its safety record, and technology innovation. Air traffic management systems developed by NAV CANADA are used by air navigation service providers in countries worldwide.

For further information, please contact:

Brian Boudreau
Manager, Media Relations                        

Media Information Line: 1-888-562-8226