days until our Collective Agreement expires, we are preparing, we are united and we will make change.

Remembering the Brave Flight Crews of 9/11

“Number three in the back. The cockpit’s not answering. Somebody’s stabbed in business class. And I think there’s mace—that we can’t breathe. I don’t know. I think we’re getting hijacked.”

Those were the words of Flight Attendant Betty Ann Ong as she alerted American Airlines ground personnel to a hijacking onboard Flight 11, on the fateful morning of September 11, 2001.  Another Flight Attendant on that same flight, Madeline Amy Sweeney, reported the hijacking to a manager at Boston Logan International Airport.

Meanwhile, a flight attendant on Flight 175, believed to be Robert John Fangman, reported the hijacking to an airline operator in San Francisco. The plane was flown into the South Tower of the World Trade Center shortly after that call.

A similar call was made to American Airlines by Flight Attendant Renee A. May onboard Flight 77 just before the plane was crashed into the Pentagon.

The flight crew and passengers onboard San Francisco bound Flight 93 fought to regain control of the plane after disabling the plane’s automatic pilot and making several calls to officials and family members on the ground. This was the only plane to have been successfully diverted from its intended target, which was presumed to be the U.S. Capitol, and it instead crashed into a field southeast of Pittsburgh.

The story of the incredible sacrifice of the flight crew on the four flights that were hijacked on September 11, 2001  – American Airlines Flight 11, American Airlines Flight 77, United Airlines Flight 93, and United Airlines Flight 175 – is essential to the history of the day. Today we pay tribute to those 36 courageous flight crew members who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, and in doing so saved countless others.

In solidarity,

Component Update – August 2023

Deadheading Procedures

The Union has received many reports of members being asked to sit in the flight deck or in cabin crew seats in the cabin.  We felt it was important to reiterate the Company policy on this.

The following can be found in ePub:

Oversold Flights

Deadheading Crew members must not volunteer to deplane in cases of denied boarding.  Customer Sales & Service Agents have been instructed not to approach deadheading crew members and to refuse those who volunteer.

Flight Attendant Seats

Deadheading crew members will not, under any circumstances, including AOG priority (Aircraft On Ground), occupy a Flight Attendant seat.

Flight Deck Seat

Selection and approval of Flight Deck observer seat occupants resides with the Captain.  The Captain may offer the observer seat to a deadheading crew member in over-sale situations. However, the deadheading crew member is not obliged to use the Flight Deck seat and can refuse the offer in which case a customer seat will be issued.

Canada Workers Benefit Payments

As you may be aware, the Federal Government has issued the first automatic advance payments of the newly enhanced Canada Workers Benefit.  The Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) is a refundable tax credit to help individuals and families who are working and earning a low income.

The CWB has two parts: a basic amount and a disability supplement.

You can claim the CWB when you file your income tax return.

Starting in July 2023 and based on the 2022 taxation year, the CWB will provide advance payments equal to 50% of the CWB across 3 payments under the Advanced Canada workers benefit (ACWB). This initiative puts more money in the workers’ pockets to help cope with the rising cost of living.

Anyone who received the CWB in 2022 will receive the advanced payments, there is no need to apply.

Below is a quote from this government announcement:

“The Canada Workers Benefit tops-up the income of up to 4.2 million hardworking Canadians—because no one working full-time should be struggling to put food on the table or to pay their rent. With the first quarterly Canada Workers Benefit payments going out tomorrow, we’re delivering important support to some of our lowest-paid and often most essential workers at a time when they need it most.”
– The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

The Full press release can be found here:  Low-income workers to receive first enhanced Canada Workers Benefit payments  –

For our Mainline Air Canada members on the first eight steps of the wage scale, up to and including 49 – 54 months, you would be eligible for the low-income earner supplement based on a Reserve MMG of 75 hours.

Pay Step of 49 – 54 months: $46.14 x 75 hours x 12 months = $41,526 gross, prior to deductions

For our Air Canada Rouge members, all of you would be eligible for the low-income earner supplement based on a Reserve MMG of 80 hours or block holder MMG of 75 hours.

For the top pay scale, 5 years: $40.58 x 75 hours x 12 months = $36,522 gross, prior to deductions

For the top pay scale, 5 years: $40.58 x 80 hours x 12 months = $38,957 gross, prior to deductions

Please note that the income threshold is based on Net Income.

Net income level where the recipient is not eligible to receive the Canada workers benefit
2022 tax year– Canada workers benefit


A famous quote from Mahatma Gandhi comes to mind: ‘the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members’.  Our EAP Committee recently put out an excellent bulletin relating to the cost of living and the tools available to members who are struggling to make ends meet.  It can be found here:

If you are struggling and need support, please reach out for help. These are difficult times.  We are a collective and want to be here to support all our colleagues. Please reach out to us at if you have any other questions about this.

In solidarity,

Anti-Union Myth Busting

Our colleagues at ALPA have ended their ten-year framework early and have commenced bargaining.  We anticipate that there will be much discussion in the public forum relating to Unions and their right to strike and their overall value to society. We strongly believe that Unions are the cornerstone of fairness and justice in society. We have many challenges but overall, Labour Unions have brought more benefits, fair wages, and justice to the middle class than any other organization.

We recognize that in the past we have seen grudges and some difficult conversations in relation to the inequity of B1 passes. This created an environment in some circumstances in which our Union and the Pilots Association had some hard feelings between them.

Having our Unions and the Association pitted against one another only serves one purpose, to divide and conquer. We would like to embark on a mutually beneficial and supportive relationship with all the Unions at Air Canada and ALPA. We will stand together with our colleagues at ALPA to wish them every success as they move towards this round of bargaining.

We know that each of you are eager for the Union to get to the table, and to finally get some gains.  We will need the support of all our Air Canada brothers and sisters at that time, and right now they need ours.  Let’s endeavor to let them know we are with them on this, and we trust they will be with us when the time comes.

We have all been at a party or a family gathering, and the subject of Unions comes up.  There are those who believe that Unions have no value. To counter the comments you may be fielding, we leave you with some points brought to you by the Canada Labour Congress in relation to Anti-Union Myths.


Ever wanted the perfect response to counter anti-union myths?

Union members hear trash-talk about unions all the time. It’s okay to talk back. Read our myth-busters below. And bust away!

Unions negotiate for collective agreements – not strikes. No union wants a strike, but they are sometimes necessary when there is no other way to reach an agreement. To union members, a strike means sacrifice – for themselves and their families. Workers won’t go on strike unless the issues involved are so great they are worth the sacrifice. Unions always conduct membership votes before taking strike action and a strike occurs only when it has been approved by a clear majority.

In collective bargaining, strikes are the exception rather than the rule. We repeat: the exception. About 97% of all union contracts are settled without a strike, but this fact never seems to make the headlines.

But now that you mention it, unions also absolutely defend the right to strike. The right to withhold one’s labour in unison with fellow workers is crucial to maintaining a democratic society. As workers, we trade our labour in order to provide for ourselves and our families. If we do not have the right to withdraw those services, we no longer have anything with which to negotiate – and not much of a democracy, either.

The Globe and Mail made this argument on May 6, 1886! Now, over 125 years later, it is still one of the most common arguments against unions. Hmmm… Without unions, in 1886 or now, how many Canadian workers would have been granted a decent wage or have leisure to enjoy it? You can’t have prosperity or social justice when two-thirds of the people are broke. Thanks to the wage levels established by the labour movement, even unorganized and anti-union workers have benefits today.

Globalization and the growing power of big business make unions more important than ever. Unions negotiate collective agreements and improve working conditions, wages and benefits – without unions, employers would treat workers however they want.

No union contract requires an employer to keep a worker who is lazy, incompetent or constantly absent or tardy. What the union does is make sure dismissals are for “just cause” – for real reasons– and not personality clashes between supervisors and employees.

Yes, employees can’t be fired as they once were when they were considered not to be as useful or productive to their employer. Women who have a union can’t suffer discrimination from their boss because the boss fears they may get pregnant, for example. In that way, unions do protect people’s jobs. That’s the purpose of a union.

Hah! Comparing “Big Unions” to “Big Corporations” and “Big Government” is a favourite trick of the media and other groups like the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. “Big” and “powerful” are relative terms. In actual fact, most Canadian unions are quite small, and together they represent less than 31% of the country’s workforce. Even the largest unions, in terms of size and resources, pale by comparison with transnational corporations such as Domtar, Suncor Energy, Canadian Pacific or General Motors.

In Canada, few politicians ever dare interfere with “free enterprise”. Business can set their prices, sell their products and throw their money into anything, from advertising to a new executive washroom, without supervision or restraint. Governments will usually give them money or tax breaks to do this. But go figure: politicians feel differently about unions. Unions require legal certification, formal backing from a majority of the workers they represent and a long, complicated legal process before they can call a strike. Governments intervene in strikes, force workers back to work, freeze salaries, reopen collective agreements and jail union leaders. Do you ever see governments try those tactics on companies?

Unions are made up of all kinds of people. They’re human. They negotiate for what they can in a world dominated by business in which we all have ringside seats to the profiteering by oil companies, supermarket chains and banks. If unions were half as powerful as they are said to be, they would be able to organize millions more Canadian workers. They would be winning more of their strikes and increasing their members’ wages and benefits a lot more than they actually are.

What is a reasonable wage demand? One that meets the workers’ needs? One based on the employer’s ability to pay? One that’s tied to productivity? Or one that the business media thinks is responsible? The fact is that nobody has yet devised a workable formula for determining wage increases that would be considered “reasonable” by the workers, by their employers, by the public, by the press and by the government. One group or another will always be unhappy. Besides, most employers – except occasionally when in genuine financial stress – still refuse to open their books to union negotiators. Unions are thus denied access to the data on profits, productivity, and labour costs they must have in order to formulate “reasonable” demands. The only alternative in our private enterprise society is for unions to go for as much as they think their members are entitled to. To some segments of our society, anything they try to negotiate is too much.

People who may be hurt or even just inconvenienced by public sector strikes should make an effort to look at other sides of the dispute to determine if workers’ demands are justified. If they are justified, then public pressure should be directed at governments to offer fair settlements, rather than force unions out on strike because it might be politically convenient – or, once a strike is taken, impose “back-to-work” legislation or other strike-breaking laws.

We hope that these myth busters will serve you at some point in the  future. Together, the Air Canada Unions and ALPA represent almost 30,000 employees.  United with a common goal we will achieve fair wages, fair working conditions and respect for our contributions to the company. When our turn at the bargaining table comes, we can hope that meaningful and effective support from our Union colleagues will carry us forward to a successful outcome.

In solidarity,

Summer Travel and Crew Responsibilities Reminder

As summer is upon us and the increased holiday travel period is here, we felt that it was time to revisit the priorities of your role onboard the aircraft. We are expected to be mindful of service and the needs of our passengers, however our primary function is on board safety and security.

It is important to remember that during the boarding process you are not required to set up the galley at all – in fact, ePub suggests you should be visible in the cabin rather than congregating at the rear of the cabin or standing in the galleys. We have heard from some members that they prefer to show up at the airport early so as not to be rushed. We understand that the workplace can be such a pressure cooker and we respect your right to choose. The fact is that we are all under a great deal of pressure, Mental health is important. We wanted to ensure that you understand that you aren’t required to start any preparatory activities until the posted check-in time.

We are all responsible to stand up for safety. Protect both yourself and your crew by performing the following duties as outlined in your S.E.P. Manual and the Collective Agreement:

1) Your typical duty period starts 1 hour prior to departure on narrow-body flights, however on widebody flights you will be required to report earlier up to a maximum of 1:30 prior to departure.  Please refer to ePub, “Availability & Reporting for Duty” to find out the reporting time for specific widebody aircraft types. The employer is within their right to have you start earlier than 1 hour prior to departure (up to a maximum of 1:30 prior), as per Article B5.03, and this time is compensated as per Article 5.08 (pre/post ground duty pay).  You are not required to start any duties prior to the start of your duty period – not at the communications centre, not on the bus to the airport, not on the aircraft.

2) At the communications centre you are required to log into Globe, check in, and print your self-briefing material for your pairing. You should check your file folder for communications and transmittals. If there is a safety transmittal, you are required to read and insert this prior to boarding the aircraft if using a paper manual. If using an electronic manual you must ensure your device has the most up-to-date version of the FAM and that it is charged to at least 75%. You are then required to log into ePub and acknowledge receipt of the new transmittals/inserts.

3) You are required to complete all safety checks and procedures prior to boarding passengers. Some of these duties are:

  • Attend a safety briefing with your entire crew. Ensure the pilots brief you on flight conditions, taxi time, etc.
  • Have up-to-date publications (FAM & OAM) and a valid Cabin Crew Dangerous Goods Training Certificate.
  • Ensure Emergency Positions & Equipment checklist is filled out, reviewed, and submitted to the Captain.
  • Stow your baggage in designated cabin crew stowage compartments (if there are any service items in your way, call to have them removed).
  • Ensure your seat belt is working correctly (sit and fit): securely anchored, fully retractable, not twisted or frayed, inertia wheel operative, seat belt / harness adjusted to fit and stowed.
  • All safety and emergency equipment is available and ready to use.
  • Ensure that P.A. is functional.
  • Water tanks are full and waste tanks have been serviced.
  • Safety features cards should be checked to ensure they correspond to the aircraft.
  • Safety demo equipment (video and manual) is available and ready to use.
  • All circuit breakers should be checked to ensure they are operative.
  • Verify that there are no suspicious items onboard, including in the cabin, in the galleys, as well as the galley equipment and lavatories.
  • If a Medipak is boarded, make sure it is in its specified location and confirm with the Captain.
  • Ensure white tamper evident seals are in place in the lavatories.
  • Ensure galley equipment is secured and operative.
  • Ensure door areas are clear and available for emergency use.
  • Ensure cabin curtains are open and secure.
  • The Company also suggests you verify that there is no grease on any of the oven racks and no paper products in the ovens.

Every time you get on board, ask yourself this question… safety or service first?

The contents of this bulletin have been shared a few times with you.  The reason for this is that we must be mindful of the value that our work represents and always remain focused on safety. Look after one another, report safety and security issues as required and remember the one crew concept. It is there to ensure that safety will remain our guiding principle. The reality is that by working together, not reporting each other, and communicating in meaningful ways that will bring us all closer to our goal of asserting our value and negotiating for what is rightfully ours.

In solidarity,

Sick Leave Substantiation Update

There have been recent changes in practice which compel us to send out new information relating to sick leave Collective Agreement provisions and practices. There is a long history of arbitrated decisions about sick leave. This is an area in which the Union works to ensure that the Company does not violate the Collective Agreement and attempts to change long-standing practices. Most recently we were required to file numerous policy grievances. To view our recent bulletins issued, please click on the links below:

Sick Leave Substantiation Update

Sick Leave Policies Update – Two (2) More Policy Grievances Filed

We have had historic arbitral decisions which gave us clarity and guidance on some practices. The Union filed a policy grievance in 2010 relating to procedures while booking off. Arbitrator William Kaplan provided an award which was favourable for the Union.  A copy of Arbitrator Kaplan’s full award (CHQ-10-16) is attached HERE.

The Union grieved Air Canada’s requirement that sick Members stay home and be available to receive a telephone call from Air Canada or risk the removal of pay credits.  The Union further grieved Air Canada’s practice of asking Members when they planned to book back on, or whether they planned on booking on for their next flight. Chief Arbitrator Kaplan’s decision was released on November 12, 2010.

Chief Arbitrator William Kaplan’s Decision
Chief Arbitrator William Kaplan allowed the Union’s grievance, deciding that this message could not be delivered to Members by Air Canada and Shepell.  He noted that this requirement to be available for the call under threat of loss of credits was “completely inappropriate”, “hardly conducive to the rehabilitation of the employee”, and contrary to the Collective Agreement. Further, Chief Arbitrator Kaplan accepted the Union’s argument that Air Canada is not legally entitled to ask Members whether they foresaw being able to work their next flight.  Members who place a 6-hour hold, as well as Members who do not, could no longer be asked this question by Air Canada or Shepell.

Air Canada cannot:

  • Require that you stay home when you are booked off to be available to receive a telephone call, under threat of forfeiture of pay credits, or
  • Ask you whether you expect to operate your next flight.

Second “Book Off” Decision
Previously, in YVR-09-73, the Union grieved Air Canada’s practice of requiring medical substantiation where a member – who did not have excessive absenteeism, particular attendance patterns, and did not book off after a leave request was denied – booked off from a Sydney flight.  Air Canada said that it requested substantiation “due to the high number of book offs associated with the Sydney flights.”  In August, following a hearing on this grievance, Arbitrator Kaplan issued a cease-and-desist order.  “Blanket Requests” for substantiation are not legally allowed. This means that you cannot be asked to substantiate your book off simply because you booked off during a holiday period, or because a particular flight might have a higher-than-average number of book-offs.  Air Canada can ask you for medical substantiation, but the request must be based on your individual circumstances.

Air Canada can ask you for medical substantiation if they determine that you:  

  • Have a particular attendance/book-off patterns
  • Book off following a denied leave request or in circumstances deemed suspicious
  • Booked off with less than four hours before departure

The recent development that we speak of above is that Air Canada is now advising those who call in to book off that if their absence is five days or more that they may be asked for a medical note to substantiate their absence. That change completely flies in the face of our previous arbitral awards and we completely disagree with their approach to this. We are grieving this, however in the interim if you are required to provide a medical certificate and want to protect your pay credits, we suggest that you provide one. You can provide it under protest. Please report to your Local Union office any requests for medical substantiation that you deem to be unreasonable. We want to keep track of these instances and include them with our grievance filings.

Please keep in mind that as per the most recent updates to the Canada Labour Code that medical certificates can now be provided by health care practitioners, not only physicians. As per the legislation:

An employer may require that the employee provide a certificate issued by a health care practitioner certifying that the employee was incapable of working for the period of their medical leave with pay. The employer may only require this when the employee has used 5 or more consecutive days of medical leave with pay. The employer must do so in writing and employees must provide the certificate to their employer no later than 15 days after the employee’s return to work. Part III of the Code defines a health care practitioner as a person lawfully entitled, under the laws of a province, to provide health services in the place in which they provide those services.

What Medical Information Is the Company Entitled to Ask For?
In our view local management is entitled to request a note to substantiate the use of sick leave if an established pattern of book off exists based on the individual circumstances of the member. For example: If you book off after your request for a leave was denied, if you book off with less than four hours to departure or if your absenteeism is deemed to be excessive.

These notes need only to state when you were unable to attend work, and when you were fit to return to work, and must be dated during your book off.  You should submit the original note from your health care practitioner, clearly marked with your name and employee number, to your local base management within 15 days of booking back on, ensuring that you keep a copy for your records.

The note must be dated during the time of the book off and should cover the entire timeframe of the book off.  If you had to pay a fee for the medical certificate, you should also submit an expense form to your manager to be reimbursed.

Article 9.06 of the Collective Agreement States:9.06 MEDICAL CERTIFICATE – An employee may be required to provide a medical certificate to substantiate any utilization of sick leave. In application of this clause, the Company may require medical certificates for periods of illness of three (3) consecutive days or less. Any cost for medical certification in accordance with this clause shall be borne by the Company”

Summary of Your Rights From These Arbitrations

What If the Book Off Is For 7 days or Longer?
More detailed information may be required for an absence from work of 7 days or longer.  Keep in mind that as per Article 9.02 of the Collective Agreement “9.02.02 For the purpose of this Article, “day” shall mean a twenty-four (24) hour period or part thereof”

Medical information should be sent to Occupational Health only and never to your Cabin Personnel Manager.

The Company’s Occupational Health Service (OHS) is only entitled to ask for information relevant to the medical issue causing your book off or preventing your early and safe return to work.  They are entitled to the prognosis (i.e. what you can or cannot do) not the diagnosis (the specific ailment which is afflicting you).  The request for information must be relevant to the illness causing your absence and be reasonable.  For example, if you were booked off due to a broken arm, it would most likely be irrelevant and unreasonable for the Company to request that you schedule an MRI exam prior to booking back on. However, it may be reasonable for them to request a copy of your latest X-ray results, to prove the bone has mended.

If you are in doubt about what medical information you should release to Occupational Health Service (OHS), your doctor should be your first point of contact. He/she is best able to judge if the information requested by OHS is relevant to your return to work.  Your doctor is best placed to determine if you are fit to return to your job, and what, if any, your limitations are.

Continuous Book Off
Some members have asked what a continuous book off is.  Our newest members are navigating the perils of booking off and we want to ensure that they are aware of this.  The process is as follows:

A Continuous Book off is when a member books off, books on, and then books off again without a scheduled duty in between. If the member does not provide substantiation from a health care practitioner to show that the two book offs were for different illnesses, this will be counted as a continuous absence. If and when you do get the substantiation, it should indicate that each book off was due to a separate/different reason.

We know that the last thing any members need is to be pestered when they are sick and trying to get well. The most important thing is that you get well.  We hope that this bulletin has provided some guidance. If you have any questions about booking off, we strongly encourage you to reach out to your Local Union office. They are your best advocate and support when navigating this process.

We have had members ask how many sick days members are entitled to. As per the Canada Labour Code, all employees who complete 30 days of continuous service will earn three days of paid medical leave, after which they will accrue one day of paid medical leave per month, to a maximum entitlement of 10 paid days per year. Our Collective Agreement for our Mainline members provides for 12 days of sick leave, which is a greater benefit. There is no ability to “stack” this sick time. This means that we are entitled to 12 sick days annually at Mainline.  Our members at Air Canada Rouge have also benefited from this language, and have moved from hours to days, and are given 10 days annually. We trust that this bulletin has answered some of your questions about sick leave. Please reach out if you are unsure about any of this information as we want everyone to feel confident when utilizing their sick leave entitlements.

In solidarity,