De Havilland Pause Sparks Relief Demand

The union representing production workers at De Havilland Canada is demanding federal government involvement to support those losing their jobs at the company’s Q400 assembly plant in Toronto. As we reported in January, De Havilland has run out of orders for the turboprop airliner and will pause production until business picks up. The decision was formally announced by the company on Thursday. About 500 workers are affected and the union says the situation illustrates the need for sector-specific support fo the aerospace industry. “We need the strongest possible government plan to support these economically vital jobs and protect our highly skilled aircraft manufacturing workers immediately,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

Complicating the situation at De Havilland is that the lease on its current manufacturing plant runs out this year. De Havilland is owned by Longview Aviation Capital, which has plants in Calgary and Victoria. It has already started moving out of the current plant, at the former owner Bombardier’s campus at Downsview. Bombardier sold the valuable property in 2018 and it’s expected to be developed for housing and commercial uses. Longview hasn’t said where the Q400 plant will go, noting there are plenty of places across the country that would welcome it.