Coronavirus Update 30

As of tomorrow, 21NOV2020, the Canada Border Services Agency is discontinuing the paper traveller contact information form.

This means that as crew you will have two digital options to choose from:

  1. The ArriveCan app on your mobile device
  2. The web based ArriveCan form

Both can be accessed here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/arrivecan.html

For your convenience, we have attached the CBSA’s instructions to this email.  (Click HERE to view)

The company has also just released a Globe bulletin with further details.

ArriveCAN mobile application 

For this option you will need either an iPhone with iOS 12 or above, or a device running Android OS6 or above.

If your device doesn’t meet this criteria, you will need to use the web-based form.

The app will store your basic information so that you do not need to enter it every time you return from a flight, and it functions on airplane mode allowing you to fill out the required information prior to arrival.

On arrival, the border officer will confirm the data you submitted using the app, and provide you a 3-digit code to enter into a box in the app. This will validate your exemption, which will be confirmed by a blue E with a checkmark.

ArriveCAN web-based form

The ArriveCan web-based form can be completed at any point prior to your pairing. Access it from the ArriveCan portal (see link above).

Print your receipt and show it to the border officer when returning to Canada, who will take it and mark you as exempt in the CBSA’s database.

We suggest confirming with the border officer that the exemption code has been entered into your file.

In solidarity,

COVID-19 Vaccinations

I would like to share the following press release that went out today which advocates for Flight Attendants to be considered for optional COVID-19 vaccinations.

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Canada’s Flight Attendants Seeking Early COVID-19 Immunization

VANCOUVER, British Columbia–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Canada’s flight attendants are asking Health Minister Patty Hajdu to consider their job classification for optional early immunization once a COVID-19 vaccine is approved in Canada.

In a letter sent Thursday, Wesley Lesosky, President of the Airline Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), asked Hajdu to recognize the essential role of flight attendants throughout the pandemic, and their working conditions which put them at elevated risk of infection.

For that reason, Lesosky believes flight attendants meet the criteria under the federal government’s Preliminary guidance on key populations for early COVID-19 immunization, and should receive early access if they choose.

“While we want to be clear that at-risk populations and health care workers should receive absolute priority, we also believe flight attendants clearly meet the government’s stated criteria for early immunization,” wrote Lesosky.

Much like other frontline workers in public transit and ferry systems, flight attendants have helped to keep Canada’s essential transportation networks working through the pandemic.

Flight attendants do not have the ability to physically distance in the workplace which, combined with interprovincial and international travel and daily close contact with hundreds of people, puts them at an elevated risk of infection. “We think it is important for the government to acknowledge the fact that flight attendants were some of the first in Canada to encounter and become infected COVID-19 in the workplace,” Lesosky noted.

CUPE’s Airline Division represents over 15,000 flight attendants at nine different airlines across Canada.

Read the full text of Lesosky’s letter here.

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Please also see the letter that was sent to the Honorable Patty Hajdu whereas we ask that the government consider flight attendants as “those contributing to the maintenance of other essential services for the functioning of society” and “those whose living or working conditions put them at elevated risk of infection” under the government’s Preliminary guidance on key populations for early COVID-19 immunization.

We realize that the area of vaccinations is an individual choice, and it is clear that not all will be comfortable taking the vaccine.  We would never be in support of mandatory vaccinations.  Your Union will always stand on the side of your individual rights and freedoms. This is an ask to the Government to have you considered a candidate in the early stages of immunization if you wish to participate.

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

COVID-19 Vaccines & Canada’s Flight Attendants

Today, in my capacity as Airline Division President, I wrote to Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu, on behalf of the over 15,000 flight attendants, represented by CUPE at nine different airlines across Canada, regarding the news of multiple effective COVID-19 vaccines on the horizon.

I implored her to ask that the government consider flight attendants as “those contributing to the maintenance of other essential services for the functioning of society” and “those whose living or working conditions put them at elevated risk of infection” under the government’s Preliminary guidance on key populations for early COVID-19 immunization.

It is important for the government to acknowledge the fact that flight attendants were some of the first in Canada to encounter and become infected with COVID-19 in the workplace.  Since the beginning of the pandemic, flight attendants have performed essential work under extremely trying circumstances. We answered the government’s call to bring Canadians home from abroad, in spite of the personal risks involved. Flight attendants have performed a vital role in keeping this critical industry in the air.

Flight attendants clearly meet the government’s stated criteria for early immunization and it is important that they consider this information as they determine their priorities for early immunization.

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

Policy Grievance – Wage Rate and Benefits for Members Recalled to Rouge – MEDIATION UPDATE

I am writing to you today with an update on policy grievance CHQ-20-13 – Wage Rate and Benefits for Members Recalled to Rouge (click HERE to view).

As a reminder, the grievance was filed in response to the employer’s plan to recall Cabin Personnel – Flight Attendants and Pursers/Service Directors – on layoff from Mainline to Air Canada Rouge’s operations.   The Collective Agreement requires that these Cabin Personnel be provided with “their Air Canada Mainline wage rate with Air Canada Mainline benefits” while at Rouge (Article 17.04.02).  The purpose of this provision was to ensure that Mainline Cabin Personnel wage rates were protected if they were recalled to Rouge.

The grievance proceeded to mediation today before Chief Arbitrator Kaplan. Your entire ACCEX was present at 9am to open discussion. There were signification discussions with the Arbitrator and unfortunately at this time a settlement has not been reached.  The Union anticipates scheduling further date(s) to address the grievance and will keep you updated.

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

Coronavirus Update 29

As you know, the Airline Division of CUPE and the Air Canada Component of CUPE continue to advocate for the Federal Government to implement a testing strategy that includes, but is not limited to, rapid pre-departure testing.  This is paramount to ensure our members, our priority, are looked after and placed in a more secure safe setting.  As the COVID-19 positive passengers continue to get on our flights, this is an additional measure to ensure the Government is doing all it can to ensure your right to a safe environment.

Every week, we have discussions with Transport Canada and the various other federal agencies and air travel sector Unions to discuss matters related to COVID-19. As recently as this Tuesday, October 20, 2020, your Union was advised that the medical branch of Transport Canada Civil Aviation is working on a draft document to facilitate coordination of a testing strategy, which would take time since it involves coordination with the provinces. On Tuesday, October 13, 2020 we were advised by the agencies that while work continues with regards to testing, we shouldn’t expect change soon since the bulk of resources have been devoted to getting the second wave under control in Canada.

It was therefore very surprising to find out, via the media none the less, that the Federal Government has, in partnership with the province of Alberta, decided to launch a pilot project at Calgary International Airport for arrival-based testing.

In the absence of further information, the Union cannot pronounce itself other than to say that the trial does not appear to reflect a pre-departure regimen that is needed to maintain a higher safety aspect in the cabin, YOUR work environment. It is the Union’s belief that proper testing, prior to departure, would provide greater confidence to customers about the in-flight portion of their journey and offer a superior level of safety to our members.

In Solidarity,