Press Release: YVR Airport Ends Ride Reimbursement Program Impacting Low Wage Workers

Low-paid food service workers, a majority racialized women, forced to spend hundreds out of pocket on transit costs


Richmond, BC – YVR International Airport suddenly on February 1st ended their transit reimbursement program which covers Uber and taxi rides for all airport staff who work outside of SkyTrain hours. This forces already low-paid food service workers to spend hundreds of dollars on ride costs in order to work their scheduled shifts at the airport, which can start or end between 1AM to 5AM.


UNITE HERE Local 40 – which represents YVR food service workers – has filed a Labour Board complaint against one of YVR’s largest food service operators, SSP Canada Food Services, for not reinstating its own long-standing practice of reimbursing staff for Uber and taxi rides outside of SkyTrain hours, which pre-dated the YVR program. YVR Airport began its own ride reimbursement program during the pandemic when food service operational hours were extended, at which point SSP discontinued its own program. SSP has not agreed to reinstate its own practice as of February 1st.


“I start my shift at the airport at 5:30AM, and I live in East Vancouver,” said Alexis Garciano, a worker at Sal Y Limon at YVR. “To get to there on time, I now have to pay for my Ubers early in the morning which is costing me an extra $100/week. I can’t change my work schedule either, because I have a son who I need to take care of in the afternoons. I’m an international student who also has to pay for my rent and tuition fees. For only getting paid $19.50/hour for my work at the airport, this added transit cost really hurts me and my family.”


YVR Airport generated $492 million in 2022 and is on track to exceed that figure in 2023. Meanwhile, hundreds of food service workers at YVR Airport earn well below Metro Vancouver’s living wage of $25.68; recent Union data shows the average food service wage to be only $18.27. A large majority of these workers are racialized women. In addition to their low wages at the world-class airport, some of these workers now have to pay up to $150 per week just to get to work.


“I’m a cook and I only accepted 4:30AM starting shifts because I was told I would be reimbursed for ride costs to the airport,” said Jennie Padilla, from Sal Y Limon at YVR. “I already have to pay for my own Compass transit card, and at times when public transit is not an option for workers, we should be reimbursed for rides needed to get to our jobs. YVR set our new earlier opening time, but now they are making the workers suffer by making us pay to get to work. Personally, it’s costing me around $25 every time I need to take an Uber to my morning shift, because no other options are available. This isn’t right, and I’m going to keep standing up for myself and for my coworkers until YVR shows us respect.”


Media Contact: Sharan Pawa,, 604-710-1693