Interim Component Vice President

We wanted to advise that Component Vice-President Theresa Mitchell has gone on a temporary medical leave. As such in consultation with CUPE National, we have selected Carolyn Bugnon, the Vancouver Local 4094 President to replace her as the interim Component Vice-President. In addition, Local 4094 Vice President Alison Kjertinge will be the acting President while Carolyn is absent from the Local.

We wish Theresa a speedy recovery and appreciate Carolyn stepping forward!

In solidarity,


Early Retirement Incentive Program

Your Union is happy to advise that through the Joint Planning Committee process, the Union and Air Canada/Air Canada Rouge have agreed to an Early Retirement Incentive Program. This program consists of pension improvements payable from the Air Canada Pension Plan as well as enhanced travel privileges to those eligible and granted an early retirement through this program. It is being offered to CUPE members as well as members of CALDA, IAM, and Unifor.

You are eligible for this program if you are under age 65 and participate in the Defined Benefit (DB) component of the pension plan and have more 20 years of qualifying service.

The Pension improvements payable from the plan are as follows:

  • Temporary Pension: Employees eligible to an unreduced pension as of August 1, 2021 are entitled to receive an additional temporary pension payment up to age 65. The temporary annual pension is equal to $400 for each year of allowable service accumulated in the Plan and will be payable in monthly installments until the first month you reach age 65.
  • Unreduced pension from 55/85: Employees not eligible to an unreduced pension because they have not yet attained age 55 and a total of 85 points (sum of age and qualifying service), will be eligible to an unreduced pension from the date they would have attained the age of 55 and a total of 85 points (without accumulation of service) instead of an unreduced pension payable from age 65.

To be eligible for either of these temporary improvements you must elect to retire on June 1, July 1, or August 1, 2021.

For full details on the Early Retirement Incentive Program including program eligibility, please check your Air Canada e-mail or CLICK HERE.

An in-depth FAQ including examples is also available on HR Connex under the COVID-19 Mitigation Banner or by CLICKING HERE.

Assuming you retire or terminate your employment from Air Canada under the early retirement program, your estimated pension benefits will be calculated for you to review. They will be posted in an eTool found on HR Connex by May 3, 2021 at the latest. You will also see your pension benefits under the current plan rules. This will allow you to compare between this temporary program and the current plan rules. Information on how to access the eTool will be provided as soon as it is available.

How to Apply
If you are interested in participating, you will need to apply through the eTool which will be posted on HR Connex on May 3, 2021 at the latest. You must submit your online application before the end of the day on May 14, 2021.

Shortly after May 14, 2021, an email will be sent to you to confirm if your application for the Program has been approved and you will be advised of next steps.

Once you have applied to this Program, your decision is final and irrevocable, unless the Company denies your application.

We would encourage all members to read all the available information provided before seeking further clarification. The Union is available for general guidance or clarification; however, we do not have access to your specific pension metrics and eligibility to provide individualised advice. For that information you should reach out to Air Canada. For any pension related questions, you may contact HR Connex Pension (Alight). For any non-pension related questions, you may contact the Air Canada Employee Care Team (ECT). They can both be reached at 1-833-847-3675.

We know that this phase of your career can be one in which decisions must be made.  They do not have to be difficult ones. We strongly encourage eligible members to review the program in detail before deciding. Imagining your new life post retirement can be an exciting time.  We believe that if you are going to take a good look at this offering that you do so armed with the knowledge and information that you require.   An opportunity like this may not come around again for some time but if you are going to ride off into that beautiful sunset, we recommend that you talk to family, friends and financial advisors to ensure that it is right for you.  EAP is also available as needed with services to assist you with these types of decisions.

On behalf of your entire executive, we thank you for your patience in this process.  Please reach out anytime.

In solidarity,


Joint Planning Committee

Under the Canada Labour Code, layoffs that exceed 12 months are considered a termination of employment and certain provisions of the Code begin to apply. To be clear this does not affect your five-year recall rights provided under the Collective Agreement.

In December 2020, Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge applied to the Minister of Labour for a waiver of the Group Termination provisions of the Canada Labour Code pertaining to members who were laid off in June 2020. The Employer felt it did not need to follow the Canada Labour Code provisions due to the pandemic. CUPE along with other Air Canada unions filed objections to this application.

We were advised late last month that both Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge’s waiver applications were denied by the Minister of Labour. Per the Code requirements, Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge posted the Notice of Group Termination in all of our crew rooms. As the waiver has been denied, the Employers are mandated to form a joint planning committee with your Union.

The joint planning committee is formed to develop an adjustment program to try to eliminate the necessity for the termination of employment, to minimize the impact of the termination of employment on the redundant employees and to assist those employees in obtaining other employment.

We will update you with additional information in the weeks ahead as we move through the joint committee process.

In solidarity,


Mitigation Update

We have spent the past two days attempting to work with the Employer on a mitigation plan, that would include an SPLOA with weekly Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) payments. Furthermore, your Union asserted that all members facing layoff should receive the weekly CEWS payments.

They refused…

Although we fully support targeted airline financial assistance from the federal government, we are quite frankly enraged that our Employer is refusing to access the current funding available to specifically help our members. We cannot understand why they choose not to participate in the CEWS, yet all other major airlines in Canada are making it work for their inactive workforce.  WestJet, Swoop, Encore, Sunwing, and Air Transat have continued to make use of the CEWS program since the spring 2020 because they know it is the right thing to do for their Employees and their families.

Air Canada has consistently requested that our members write letters to the Federal Government to plead their case for financial assistance. You all have assisted your Employer in many ways and yet your Employer refuses to assist you in your time of need. It appears to us that our members are being used as pawns in a game of Tug-of-War with the government.

We have heard that CEWS is “very expensive” to the airlines. We have heard that maintaining benefits, pension and accruing vacation was too costly. Your Union requested many different forms of CEWS. We looked at all options with the Employer to get money in your pocket through CEWS.

Air Canada has continually stated that CEWS is a short-term solution. If this is anticipated to be a short-term mitigation, then why not offer a short-term CEWS leave?

Although the Company refused CEWS, they will be moving forward with the mitigation as outlined in the Collective Agreement. Please see below some general information and important dates:

The Company will be releasing its mitigation package later this evening or tomorrow morning. The selection process will be open until Monday, January 18, 2021 at 08:00 EST. 

The Options available to members at Mainline and Rouge are as follows:

  • Resignation with C3 Travel and Benefits Programs
  • 3-month Special Leaves of Absence (February 2021 to April 2021 inclusive)
  • 3-month Reduced Block Program (February 2021 to April 2021 inclusive)


All members are eligible to bid on the Mitigation Programs; however Special Leaves of Absences and Reduced Block Programs will be awarded by seniority to those who would otherwise not be placed on Layoff Status.  Meaning, you cannot hold an SPLOA or RBP program if you are not able to hold flying for February 2021.  Those members on COVID Leaves may bid for a mitigation SPLOA.

Once the mitigation program is complete, those members deemed surplus will receive layoff notices by January 20, 2021 at 23:00 EST.  It is our understanding that the planned flying will be built around the remaining members’ home bases. This includes all four Mainline bases and both Rouge bases.

Recalls from layoff status are done in order of master seniority regardless of originating airline as per Article 17.16 of the Collective Agreement. Recall rights for both Mainline and Rouge are for five (5) years from the date of layoff.

Once again, our members continue to bear the brunt of the continued setbacks that the airline industry is facing. These upcoming layoffs are a direct result of the federal government’s lack of action to support the industry. The very least our employer could do is take part in the programs being offered to support our members.

In solidarity,