News Air Canada to temporarily lay off thousands SHARE ON: Wendy Gray, staff Monday, Mar. 30th, 2020 (Supplied by Pixabay) Air Canada is laying off 16,500 employees. The airline is struggling under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic and flight restrictions. Most of the lay-offs will be unionized employees but will affect 1.300 managers. The lay-offs are expected to begin this week and continue through May. It is expected to save the airline $500-million.