Manitoba told of New Flyer layoffs after announcing $50M loan to parent company

Less than a month after the Manitoba government announced a $50-million loan to help the Winnipeg-based NFI Group address supply chain issues, it was informed that the company had permanently laid off 30 employees.

The employees laid off were from New Flyer, a bus manufacturing company that’s an NFI Group subsidiary, a spokesperson from NFI confirmed on Tuesday. The province was told about the layoffs on Jan. 6.

“These decisions are never easy, as they impact our people and their families, but we hope that these reductions are temporary, and we anticipate that we will grow our workforce in Winnipeg later in 2023 as we recover from the current supply disruptions,” the spokesperson said in an email.

NFI said it was “severely impacted” by the pandemic, as well as supply chain problems and rising inflation.

The spokesperson said the company has seen a net loss of $230 million, had to eliminate 2,000 positions globally and closed or downsized a number of facilities since the beginning of the pandemic.

On Dec. 23, the province announced it was giving a short-term repayable loan to the company.

Company leadership said in an email late Tuesday, after this story was first published, that the layoffs were finalized the day before the loan was announced.

At the time, Premier Heather Stefanson tweeted the company, which employs 2,400 people in the province, “is key to Manitoba’s economic growth as we move forward toward a greener economy.”

NFI’s spokesperson said the company hopes the funding from the province, which is expected to be finalized by the end of January, will help strengthen the company’s financial position and support ongoing operations.

Employers who intend to terminate a group of 50 or more employees within four weeks must notify the provincial government, according to the Manitoba employment standards code.

No other employers have given notice that they are terminating employees since December, the provincial spokesperson said.