Montreal-based CAE has announced that it has taken measures to protect its financial position in response to the COVID-19 crisis and mitigate the impact on its employees. The measures include temporarily suspending its common share dividend and share repurchase plan, as well temporarily laying off 2,600 of its 10,500 employees and placing another 900 employees on a reduced work week.

CAE also announced that, in an effort to help save lives, it is developing an easy-to-manufacture ventilator which will provide life support to patients in intensive care. "CAE continues to support its customers as the training services we provide are considered essential around the world.” said President and CEO, Marc Parent.

He explained, “Our Civil Aviation operations are most affected by the unprecedented disruption of the global air transportation system. At the same time, our Defence & Security operations are less impacted because CAE provides mission critical services worldwide."

Parent added, "Our employees have always been at the core of CAE's success, we regret the hardship these temporary measures will cause those affected, especially during these difficult times, and we are grateful to all our employees for their contribution and dedication."

In only 11 days CAE’s Healthcare engineers and scientists designed a simple, maintainable, easy-to-manufacture ventilator prototype to provide life support to patients in intensive care. CAE is currently sourcing components in order to begin production of the ventilator as soon as it is approved by Health Canada.

Parent said, "Once this prototype is approved by public health authorities, we are looking at manufacturing thousands of units in our Montreal plant and in other sites over the next few months.