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Alberta

WestJet to lay off more than 3,300 workers under restructuring plan

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CALGARY — WestJet Airlines Ltd. says it will lay off 3,333 employees as part of major restructuring amid the coronavirus pandemic that has devastated the travel industry.

The company says it will consolidate call centre activity in Alberta, restructure its office and management staff and contract out operations at all but four of the 38 Canadian airports where it operates.

WestJet CEO Ed Sims says the changes are “unavoidable” as the Calgary-based company contends with “the biggest crisis in the history of aviation.”

The pandemic has seen the airline park two-thirds of its fleet after border shutdowns prompted it to suspend most of its schedule — including all international trips — in late March.

The company says a priority in selecting airport partners will be preferential hiring interviews for some of the 2,300 WestJet airport workers now facing layoffs.

WestJet, which went private after Toronto-based Onex Corp. bought the publicly traded company, had employed 14,000 workers just before the pandemic struck in March, but now has a payroll of only 4,500.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 24, 2020

The Canadian Press

Alberta

Southern Alberta hailstorm caused almost $1.2B in damage: insurance bureau

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EDMONTON — The powerful hail storm that pounded homes, vehicles and crops across parts of southern Alberta last month caused almost $1.2 billion in insured damage.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada says the hail, rain and wind that hit Calgary, Airdrie and Rocky View County on June 13 were part of the costliest hailstorm and the fourth most expensive insured natural disaster in Canadian history.

Hail as big as tennis balls shredded vinyl siding, pounded roofs, smashed windows and flattened crops.

Celyeste Power, a vice-president with the bureau, says insurers are still processing claims.

The bureau says damage caused by hail and wind is typically covered by home, commercial and comprehensive auto insurance policies.

It notes that the Alberta government is offering some support for people who experienced overland flooding in flood-prone areas.

“Albertans know too well the stress, turmoil and financial hardships that severe weather events can cause,” she said Wednesday in a release.

“Of the 10 most costly disasters in Canada, six of these have hit Alberta. Fortunately, Albertans are resilient and continue to come together in difficult times like these.”

The most expensive insured natural catastrophe on record is the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire, which cost almost $4 billion.

The next highest loss was the 2013 flooding in southern Alberta at $3.5 billion.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2020

 

 

 

 

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta RCMP Officer attacked with own baton

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From Cold Lake RCMP

Cold Lake RCMP officer recovering after aggravated assault

A 44-year-old male is in custody in Cold Lake following yesterday’s violent attack on the RCMP officer trying to effect his arrest.

At 5:30 p.m., Cold Lake RCMP located a stolen vehicle in the Walmart parking lot and the responding officer made an effort to deal with the vehicle and arrest the male who was believed to be responsible.  The male allegedly assaulted the RCMP member by punching the member in the head.  The RCMP member’s baton was taken by the male and the member was struck in the head numerous times with the baton.

The male fled on foot with the RCMP baton. The male smashed the window of a different, occupied vehicle in an unsuccessful attempt to steal it.  He then threatened another driver with a knife and the baton and fled southbound on Highway 28 in the newly stolen Trailblazer.

Cold Lake RCMP initiated a pursuit and managed to cause the stolen Trailblazer to become disabled.  The male was arrested on scene without further incident.  The RCMP baton was recovered in the vehicle.

The RCMP member has been treated at the hospital for non life-threatening, but serious injuries and is recovering at home.

The male remains in police custody and will be facing charges as this investigation continues. An update will be provided when available.

“I want to thank the community members who came forward to assist our RCMP member and to provide valuable witness evidence in relation to this terrible incident” says Sergeant Ryan Howrish of the Cold Lake RCMP.  “An incident like this highlights the unpredictable and dangerous situations we face on a daily basis.”

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july, 2020

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