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Marine Atlantic’s operational demand causes decrease in employment numbers in April

With the decrease in traffic numbers because of COVID-19, Marine Atlantic confirmed employment numbers are lower compared to the number of employees who were working at this time last year. The Atlantic Vision (shown) was used for the Argentia route, but the service was suspended for 2020 earlier this month because of the lack of demand. JEREMY FRASER/CAPE BRETON POST
With the decrease in traffic numbers because of COVID-19, Marine Atlantic confirmed employment numbers are lower compared to the number of employees who were working at this time last year. The Atlantic Vision (shown) was used for the Argentia route, but the service was suspended for 2020 earlier this month because of the lack of demand. JEREMY FRASER/CAPE BRETON POST
NORTH SYDNEY, N.S. —

The lack of demand for service has resulted in a decrease in employment for people working between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. 

Like many companies, Marine Atlantic is reporting a decrease in employment in April, compared to the same month in 2019. 

The ferry service told the Cape Breton Post 987 people were paid by the company last month. Meanwhile, 1,152 employees received pay in April 2019. The decrease affects 165 people. 

“While we may require a certain number of employees for one shift, that number may change for the next shift and more or less resources may be required based upon our operations,” said company spokesperson Darrell Mercer. 

The information provided did not specifically say how many were currently without jobs from Nova Scotia or Newfoundland and Labrador. 

In August 2018, Marine Atlantic had 1,396 employees, with 774 of those working on one of the companies four vessels. The breakdown saw 744 employees from Newfoundland and Labrador, and 632 workers from Nova Scotia. There were 20 employees from other locations. 

“As our operational demands increase, so will the number of people who will be required,” said Mercer. “We fully expect demand for our service to increase as we move past COVID-19 at some point in the future.” 

Earlier this month, Marine Atlantic announced the suspension of its Argentia service for the 2020 season. The service between North Sydney and Port aux Basques will not be affected. 

Along with promoting social distance and self-isolation on its ferries, Marine Atlantic has closed its restaurant and bar services as well as its retail shops on its ferries.

Mercer doesn’t anticipate much changing traffic-wise, as the summer months approach and COVID-19 remains fresh in the public eye. 

“The uncertainty that we see right now in the weeks and months ahead, it’s hard to say where this is going to be headed in the short-term,” said Mercer, earlier this week. “We’re not expecting to see significant traffic volumes for the summer months.”

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