Coronavirus Update 40

With the expected return of Delhi as a destination, and as many of you continue to report struggling with increased onboard service, mask problems, we wanted to provide an overview of the kinds of work and things the union is actively advocating for on your behalf.

Our membership has been clear: the increased service does not work given the pandemic realities we continue to face onboard. Thank you to all our members who heeded our requests to not just inform the Union, but also file the correct and appropriate reports with the company.

Remember that if the company is unable to resolve your health and safety complaint, you have the right to refer it to your joint workplace health and safety committee for investigation (see reporting section below). Some of you may have complaints that are at this stage now, and your representatives are working hard to review your concerns at the committee level.

As a Union we continue to hold calls and meetings with management as appropriate to communicate your concerns and comments. While these may not always yield results, it is nonetheless part of our role in representing you and we take care to ensure it is diligently carried out.

We also engage Transport Canada Civil Aviation in bi-weekly calls. These are an opportunity for your union to seek clarity on regulatory issues as well as to voice the concerns of the membership. Perhaps most importantly, they form part of the public consultation into new government initiatives. These meetings rarely result in swift change, but they do yield results over time. A good example would be greater clarity ,both in the interim ministerial orders as well as TC guidance material, as to masking requirements, reasonable use of exemptions and the powers of cabin crew to enforce rules onboard.

Lastly, your representatives on the IFS Policy health and safety committee continue to present and advocate the employee perspective in corporate risk assessments. Recently, the five union policy committee members filed a health and safety complaint into the methodology and use of risk assessments at the company.

One of the biggest challenges of health and safety these days is constant return of workers from long-term leaves and layoffs. It’s hard to ensure that everyone has all the information they need or that they know where to find it. A bulletin sent one week may never be seen by 500 cabin crew who start work the next.

To address this, your Union health and safety team has been working on a COVID-19 info reference sheet to guide members towards the various documents, processes and resources. It will be available shortly under the “resources” tab on  and will be included in all recall bulletins.

Government route suspensions and returns due to COVID-19:
Currently both Delhi and Casablanca routes are suspended because of a Transport Canada NOTAM. However, it is expected that the NOTAM for Delhi will be lifted on the 21st of September.

The Union and company have met multiple times since service was suspended to DEL to discuss challenges that crews experienced and plan for a successful relaunch. The policy health and safety committee has also engaged in two risk assessments for DEL specifically as well as a review of risk for focus destinations in general.

The Union and company do NOT agree on the following:

  • The need to reduce service in general, but especially on our Delhi routes which have been a challenge for crews.
  • The need, at least at time of re-launch, for a designated washroom on this route pending evaluation and feedback from crews.  This is extremely important to the membership, and we have heard you loud and clear, we advised this was a must for our crews on this route, the Company is not in agreement.

The Union continues to press the company to ensure that previously raised concerns are addressed, crews are well supported at the DEL station once service resumes, and that layover accommodations are in line with local and company safety protocols. The company will be issuing a bulletin with information specific to Delhi prior to launch and management will have support at the aircraft for departures and arrivals during the first two weeks of operation.

We have also discussed with the Public Health Agency of Canada how destinations are flagged for suspension as well as how they determine it is safe to resume service. Some details that were clarified include:

  • Multiple data points are considered by the PHAC when advising of route suspension., as well as to compare with data from other destinations/routes, and for variants of concern and interest.
    • local epidemiological data at destination (case averages) is monitored for disproportional increases.
    • rate of importation of cases to Canada is monitored through
      • pre-departure molecular testing
      • arrival molecular testing.
      • Affected (notified) flights
      • Provincial contact tracing data.
    • Data are cross referenced for inconsistencies (red flag). Ex. No passengers testing positive prior to departure, but many testing positive on arrival could indicate fraudulent test certificates at destination.
    • compare with data from other destinations/routes
    • monitor for variants of concern and interest.
  • Different data points are used by the PHAC to advise of route resumption since there is no active flight data. These include:
    • Data from passengers on multi-leg journeys from the destination.
    • Local epidemiological data at destination has to have significantly decreased.
    • Computer modeling is used based on existing data to predict case counts.
    • Possible additional measures yet to be announced by the government and/or company

Finally, our members have raised many concerns about the veracity of testing and vaccination certificates from some destinations. PHAC and TC advise that the ArriveCan app has been updated multiple times and that artificial intelligence scans all uploaded documents and catches a significant number of documents ahead of travel. This is in addition to verifications by airlines and cross-referencing of general data as mentioned above. The Union has strongly advocated for rapid testing prior to departure in order to narrow the margin of error for testing.

If you have concerns about operating to DEL during the first two weeks of operation, it is important to reach out to crew scheduling and ask to speak to a safety manager.  During the first two weeks of operation, those who did not bid the route will be provided a 519 unavailable no fault with the option of doing makeup or reverting back to their regular reserve status or block (in the case of draft).

A kind reminder that reporting is important. Remember that the employer is tasked by law to attempt to resolve your health and safety complaint with you as soon as possible. If you do not feel that your complaint is resolved, or if you haven’t had a response from the employer in over 30 days, you can refer your complaint to the joint health and safety committee for investigation. Remember that all responses will be sent to your company email. You can refer to your committee either by clicking the link directly under the text box with the manager’s response, or simply by emailing any one of the committee members.

The Union’s most recent bulletins on reporting can be viewed here:
Reporting Bulletin
FAQ Bulletin

Reaching the Union:

Non-emergency issues:
The Union endeavours to answer all non-urgent emails within 1-2 business days.

Urgent issues that cannot wait until the next business day:

Emergencies that require immediate response (arrest, work refusal, health): or 1-866-758-3037
The emergency line is staffed 24/7 by operators at answer plus who will process calls and forward them to the appropriate party within the Union. Note: NON-Emergency issues will NOT be responded to immediately. Please ensure to provide the following to the operator:
– Base
– Employee number
– Full name
– Rouge or Mainline
– Brief description

In Solidarity,

Coronavirus Update 39

As we unfortunately see a rise in cases of COVID-19 cases on flights as well as  amongst employees, we would like to remind you of some union initiatives as well as provide guidance should you fall ill.

For Rouge members, a version of this bulletin specific to your workplace will be issued shortly.

Mask Compliance:
Mask usage onboard remains one of the primary methods of source control. Masks protect others, so when customers don’t comply it puts you at increased risk. It’s for this reason that you have a requirement to report non-compliance to Air Canada/ Air Canada Rouge using a disruptive passenger e-report. This helps your H&S committees do their work and provides valuable data to the company and Transport Canada so that the problem can be monitored.

NOTE: The most recent IFS news stated that an individual e-report should be filed for each infraction. This is neither practical nor realistic for crew members who are routinely experiencing non-compliance in the high double-digits on many flights. Your Union will repeat its previous message, which also reflects discussions at the company health and safety committees: Any report is better than no report. If necessary, itemize multiple cases on the same flight taking care to make note of the flight number, seat, date and general description of the behaviour. Disruptive passenger e-reports contain many sections for information that you may not have. Complete what you know and submit.

The Union is also asking you advise us here of compliance issuesMask non-compliance form This will allow us to monitor the situation and to ensure we also have clear information on problematic routes and destinations.  This information will NOT be shared with the company in detail, and it does not replace the formal reporting process.

Resources and guidance including when it is appropriate to request compliance can be found on ACAeronet > ePub > COVID-19 Tile > Face covering policy

If you fall ill with COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms:

  1. You must not come to work if you feel ill. Use the company’s COVID-19 wellness check tool Main Page > More News > COVID-19 Updates>Wellness check tool
  2. Ensure to book off and take appropriate precautions if you develop symptoms and to contact if you could have been in contact with any company personnel within the 14 days leading up to illness. This will allow their team to notify any affected workers so that they can also take appropriate precautions. We strongly suggest copying the union .
  3. Ensure to file a work-related injury/illness e-report if you have reason to suspect you became ill due to an exposure at work (ex. If you were notified of an exposure on a previous flight). Only reported illness is tracked and investigated by the h&s committees.
  4. File for workers compensation / WIP if applicable.
  5. On layover, call Medaire (ML) or Allianz (RG) who will evaluate you and provide guidance and medical care if necessary.

A reminder that reporting is crucial to the health and safety process. The Union recently released two bulletins in response to many questions and comment from members. They can be consulted at the links below.

Reporting bulletin

Reporting FAQ bulletin

The Union continues to uphold its members rights by supporting them and has filed an appeal at the Canada Industrial Relations Board to a work refusal decision of no danger related to certain recent service increases.

The Union reminds its members that the right to refuse dangerous work is an individual right and decision. Further information about the work refusal process can be found by emailing and consulting chapter 2 in the FAM.

In Solidarity,

Unacceptable Staff Shortage – Update and Grievance Filed

As a follow-up to our bulletin, sent on Saturday, regarding IFS Management working flights, we are writing to advise that we have filed grievance CHQ-21-15 – Work of the Bargaining Unit. A copy of the grievance form can be accessed by clicking HERE.

The Union alleges that Air Canada has violated the Collective Agreement by assigning managers to do the work of the bargaining unit. In total 13 pairings were operated by managers over the weekend, in addition to pairings operated by our members on special assignment. This all occurred while over 4,500 bargaining unit members remained on layoff status.

The Union will continue to monitor for management assigned pairings, but encourage members to advise their Union immediately if they are assigned onto your flight. In addition, we continue to monitor short-crewing and drafting and will continue to push for further recalls.

Please remember that if you do have a manager onboard, that they are not permitted to perform onboard service. As per Company policy, any adjustments or deviations from service standards must be documented in an onboard service report (eOBR).

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

CHQ-21-13 – COVID-19 Leave of Absence, CLC section 239.01(1)

The Government of Canada implemented temporary measures to ensure that federally regulated employees can take the time off work they need in the face of the current spread of COVID-19.  The measures include statutory amendments to the Canada Labour Code to address significant disruptions in the workplace as a result of the pandemic.

Section 239.01(1) of the Canada Labour Code provides that “every employee is entitled to and shall be granted a leave of absence” if they are “unable or unavailable to work for reasons related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).”  The Code provides that federally regulated employees are entitled to the following leaves:

1. Personal Leave
Federally regulated employees are entitled up to 4 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave in the event they have contracted or might have contracted COVID-19, have underlying conditions that would make them more susceptible to COVID-19 or they are self-isolating for reasons related to COVID-19 (Code, s. 239.01(1)(a)).

2. Caregiving Leave
Federally regulated employees are entitled up to 42 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave if they must care for a child under 12 years of age and/or they must care for a family member who requires supervised care due to the reasons specified in the Code (Code, s. 239.01(1)(b)).

To take a COVID-19-related leave, an employee must notify their employer in writing as soon as possible of the reason for the leave and the length of leave (Code, s. 239.01(8)).  The Code does not require that employees provide a medical certificate or supporting documentation to substantiate the leave.

As federally regulated employees, members are entitled to and shall be granted a COVID-related leave of absence.  Air Canada has breached its statutory obligations under the Code by denying leave to members who have notified the company of the reason for their COVID-19-related leave via the company’s “e-Leave” online kiosk.  The union has learned that members receive an auto-generated response denying leave.  In denying the members to their entitled leave, the company is demanding that members disclose “supporting documentation” to substantiate the leave.  The union believes that the demand for documentation is unwarranted given the plain and clear language of the Code.

The union understands that the stress and anxiety that members are already experiencing because of COVID-19 is exacerbated by the company’s denial of your entitlement to COVID-19-related leave and Air Canada’s gratuitous and unjustified demands for confidential information.  The union has filed a policy grievance (Click HERE to view) and is seeking a cease and desist order against the company for continuing to breach its statutory obligations under the Code and against Air Canada’s broad and excessive demands for confidential information.

If you have applied for a job-protected unpaid leave of absence due to COVID-19 and Air Canada has denied your request, please contact me by replying to this email or emailing

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

CHQ-21-11 – Vacation Pay Credits while on Off-Duty Status, CHQ-21-12 – Vacation Assignment Upon Recall from Layoff and Seniority Violations, & Stat Holiday Increase – National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

CHQ-21-11 – Vacation Pay Credits while on Off-Duty Status
The Union has been in discussion with the Company over the recent decision where the Company chose to recognise your vacation period as time off while on ODS and in receipt of CEWS/CERB, however they do not agree that this comes with pay.  Meaning, you may have been awarded your full allotment of vacation, and you may have taken it, however if you opted for CEWS or CERB, the employer determined they would not be paying you for the vacation days.  The Union strongly disagrees with this, and as we were not able to come to a conclusion, and as we have seen so many members deducted for this vacation period, we have filed the attached grievance (CLICK HERE).

CHQ-21-12 – Vacation Assignment Upon Recall from Layoff and Seniority Violations
The Union was also in discussion to try and work with the employer to get our members the right to bid on vacation when they returned from their layoff.  The Union even offered to assist in the process to ensure we could expedite this with all the recent recalls.  The Company advised they could not move forward with this, and thus we needed to file a grievance, CLICK HERE to view.  The Union feels strongly that these are unprecedented times, and you should be able to bid based on your seniority and not just be assigned random dates upon your recall.

Stat Holiday Increase – National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
The Company has advised that all members, Air Canada Mainline and Air Canada Rouge, will be awarded an additional vacation day due to the recent announcement of the Federal Statutory Holiday.  Ensuring that the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools is never forgotten. The new national day will honour survivors, their families, and communities. It will also ensure that public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

If you have already been awarded vacation, it will be added to your current award.  If you have already completed your vacation allotment for the year, you will have a single vacation day added to your schedule.

Leave for Traditional Aboriginal Practices
For those who may not be aware, here is the section in the Canada Labour Code that deals with Leave for Traditional Aboriginal Practices:
Leave for Traditional Aboriginal Practices
Leave — five days
206.8 (1) Every employee who is an Aboriginal person and who has completed three consecutive months of continuous employment with an employer is entitled to and shall be granted a leave of absence from employment of up to five days in every calendar year, in order to enable the employee to engage in traditional Aboriginal practices, including
   (a) hunting;
   (b) fishing;
   (c) harvesting; and
   (d) any practice prescribed by regulation.

Division of leave
(2) The leave of absence may be taken in one or more periods. The employer may require that each period of leave be not less than one day’s duration.

(3) The employer may, in writing and no later than 15 days after an employee’s return to work, request the employee to provide documentation that shows the employee as an Aboriginal person. The employee shall provide that documentation only if it is reasonably practicable for him or her to obtain and provide it.

Definition of Aboriginal
(4) For the purposes of this section, Aboriginal means Indian, Inuit or Métis.
2017, c. 33, s. 206

If you have any questions or concerns, as always please reach out.

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE