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GardaWorld lays off 500 screening officers at Pearson Airport

Last Updated Jan 19, 2021 at 10:39 pm EST

People line up and check in for an international flight at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

GardaWorld has laid off 500 screening officers at Toronto Pearson Airport due to a reduction in traffic.

The private security company provides screening services for 36 airports across Canada and employs over 4,300 people, according to their website.

GardaWorld says the layoffs happened on Sunday.

Travel has dropped off significantly since the beginning of the pandemic. The latest update from Canada Border Services Agency saw air travel down 91 per cent across Canada for the week of Dec. 21 to 27 over last year.

The CBSA says this is consistent with the previous weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian government recently introduced further restrictions for travellers into the country including, a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of their scheduled departure.

Travellers who receive a negative test result must still complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon their arrival in Canada.

Government officials for months have asked people to stay home and avoid non-essential travel to slow the spread of COVID-19, all the while acknowledging that they can’t block Canadians from leaving or re-entering the country.