Webinar: COVID-19: Loneliness & Isolation Fatigue – Self-Care Strategies

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it prolongs the need to maintain physical distancing practices in tandem with adherence to lockdown protocols restricting in-person interactions in order to prevent and mitigate the spread of the virus. While these measures help to keep our communities, families and workplaces safe, it brings with it unique challenges such as loss of routines, isolation fatigue and loneliness. In the face of these challenges, it is even more important for us to practice self-care strategies and to nurture the positive relationships and connections in our lives.

To support members across the country, on Tuesday, April 13th and Wednesday April 14th Homewood Health will be hosting a webinar focused on the unique challenges for individuals experiencing loneliness and isolation fatigue.

COVID-19: Loneliness & Isolation Fatigue – Self-Care Strategies, hosted by Katherine Sisak & Sophia Oumzil (English) and Jacques Lareau (French).

This one-hour session will increase participant’s awareness and understanding of the psychological impacts of isolation and loneliness while highlighting factors that can promote and preserve their health and well-being during the pandemic and beyond.

Dates and times:

ENGLISH: Tuesday, April 13th @ 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. EST facilitated by Katherine Sisak
ENGLISH: Tuesday, April 13th  @ 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. PST facilitated by Sophia Oumzil
FRENCH: Wednesday, April 14th @ 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. EST facilitated by Jacques Lareau

Please note that this webinar will be recorded and posted to our website one week following the final session.

Please join us for this special event.
Space is limited, register now!

Katherine Sisak, MSW, RSW, RP
Katherine Sisak has worked as a clinician and manager in the field of mental health and addiction for over 10 years in a variety of settings including hospitals, outpatient clinics, shelters, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs, and private practice. She has been with Homewood Health since 2016, first as the Trauma Specialist at the Homewood Health Clinic working with first responders consulting for trauma-related issues, and currently as a Clinical Manager with Disability Prevention Services. Katherine holds registration with the OCSWSSW as a social worker, and as a psychotherapist with the CRPO.

Sophia Oumzil, MSW, RSW, 
Sophia Oumzil has worked as a clinician and manager in the field of mental health and trauma in a variety of settings including hospitals, EFAP, outpatient clinics and private practice. She has been with Homewood Health in a variety of capacities since 2013, and is currently a Clinical Manager with Crisis Management Services. Sophia holds registration with the BCCSW as a Social worker.

Register Here: Tuesday, April 13th 7:00-8:00 p.m. EST

Register Here: Tuesday, April 13th 7:00-8:00 p.m. PST

Register Here: Wednesday, April 14th 7:00-8:00 p.m.EST

Layoff Notices – Cancellation of 129 Layoff Notices

The Company has advised the Union that they are in a position to rescind 129 layoff notices that were to take effect March 2, 2021. The cancellations of these layoffs will occur in seniority order and individuals will receive notice in their Air Canada emails.

Members whose layoff has been cancelled will fall into one of the four categories below:

  1. Members who were already on a mitigation SPLOA or RBP will have their layoff cancelled and return to their mitigation SPLOA or RBP.
  2. Members who bid on a mitigation SPLOA or RBP during the latest mitigation award will have their layoff cancelled and be awarded the mitigation option that they bid on.
  3. Members who were on a COVID-19 leave or other leave will have their layoff cancelled and remain on their respective leave.
  4. Members who otherwise would have been active for March 2021 will have their layoff cancelled and will receive information from Crew Planning on how to bid for a pre-built reserve block for the March 2021 block month.

For those members who have had their layoff cancelled you are also now eligible to be awarded vacation during the second bid period which closes on March 2, 2021 at 0800 EST.

As a result of these cancellations, the most junior member to remain active for March 2021 has seniority #10980, based on the posted 2020 Seniority Numbers on aeronet.

In solidarity,

Join the call to save good jobs in Canadian airlines!

Directly calling your elected representatives is one of the best ways to make your voice heard. Politicians take it seriously when citizens take the time and effort to call in to voice their concerns. And when hundreds or even thousands of us call them with the same concerns, they really start to get the message. Let’s send the Trudeau government a message they can’t ignore.


  • If you don’t get a person, leave a message!

Who to call?

  • Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland (Toronto, ON)
    • Ottawa: 613-992-5234
    • Toronto: 416-928-1451
  • Transport Minister Omar Alghabra (Mississauga, ON)
    • Ottawa: 613-992-1301
    • Mississauga: 905-848-8595
  • Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough (Delta, BC)
    • Ottawa: 613-992-2957
    • Delta: 778-593-4007
  • Or find your local MP here

What to say?

  • As a worker, I am disappointed in your government’s total betrayal of this vital industry and the people who keep it in the air
  • Airline workers in Canada have been calling for help from your government for a year and we’re still waiting to hear what your government will do to save our jobs and our industry
  • Our union, CUPE, has been reaching out to your government for the past year to request a meeting only to be ignored every single time
  • It is time for the government to stop ignoring our concerns
  • Canada is one of the only countries in the developed world without a comprehensive plan to help their airline industries weather the pandemic – this must stop
  • We need a relief package for the industry that prioritizes saving jobs and livelihoods, and that ensures there is an industry for us to return to when the pandemic is over
  • It is simply unacceptable for your government to be listening only to the executive boardrooms of the major airlines – you must listen to workers too
  • When your government needed help bringing Canadians home from abroad last year, we answered the call
  • Now it’s your turn to answer ours

Health and Safety Update

Opt-out vs. Right to Refuse Dangerous Work:
The right to refuse dangerous work seems to have become confused with a company policy – since removed – whereby workers could opt-out of operating to certain destinations or certain aircraft ahead of time. These two things are not the same and nobody has lost their right to refuse dangerous work.

Anyone who believes ahead of time that they may need to exercise their right to refuse dangerous work is encouraged to file a health and safety complaint. Filing a health and safety complaint does not remove any of your rights but may allow management to resolve the issue without it coming to a work refusal at time-of-flight duty.

The Union’s bulletin on work refusals can be obtained by sending a blank email to rtr@accomponent.ca.  You will receive an instant reply on the work refusal process.

In summary:

Workers who do not want to operate to a destination or on a certain aircraft type prior to reporting for duty can ask for a leave from crew scheduling, if available.  If the leave is not available, the scheduler will guide you to a manager to discuss any safety concerns.

Workers who arrive at the workplace for work and refuse assignment because they feel that it endangers them by putting their life or health, or that of another colleague, in imminent or serious danger retain their right to refuse dangerous work in accordance with the Canada Labour Code.

What happens to your health and safety complaints or injury reports if you go on layoff?
By reporting suspected hazards and injuries, you aren’t just making the workplace safer for yourself, but also for your coworkers – some of whom continue to fly. The committees have a vested interest in ensuring that any potential hazard is properly investigated with the goal of keeping the workplace safe for anyone who enters it.

If you are on layoff or heading onto layoff, the committees continue to treat your reports.  If it is necessary to discuss your issue, you may be contacted by phone and a message will be left if no one answers clearly stating it is the joint committee following up. We know you are off work but encourage you to donate a bit of time so that we can handle your issue with the care it deserves and ensure the workplace is safer when you return.

Masking Guidance:
The US Centers for Disease Control released information offering new advice on masks. More specifically, the information focuses on the potential benefits of increasing mask efficiency through better fit accomplished using special devices or double masking. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has not changed its guidance, but this could change.

Your representatives have raised the issue of masking policy changes and will work with the company at the committees to update information accordingly, when warranted.

The CDC information can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/effective-masks.html

The PHAC’s guidance can consulted here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks/about-non-medical-masks-face-coverings.html#a1

Transport Canada’s guidance material for masking, which has recently been aligned with the PHAC can be found here: https://tc.canada.ca/en/initiatives/covid-19-measures-updates-guidance-issued-transport-canada/covid-19-information-travellers-within-canada

New COVID-19 Variants:
Your union is aware of the UK, South American and Brazilian variants and are monitoring the information coming out of the UK, EU and North American public health authorities. The potential impact of these variants is a matter that is being brought into discussion with the company during conversations relevant to COVID-19.

At the present time genomic sequencing to identify variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus in positive test results is inconsistent from province to province, with many health authorities saying they’re working to increase their capacity.

At this time, variant status is not part of the company’s contact tracing process as it is not received from public health. The recommended measures to take for close contact or suspected contact with a positive case remain the same regardless of variant.

Please remember that the employer does not share COVID positive results, with names to the Union.  We highly encourage you to reach out and advise us should you wish the Union to know that you are COVID positive, or have been, so we can do our part through Health and Safety.  It has been one year since we started getting affected by COVID in our workplace, we must come out stronger, and need to learn as much as we can from the virus, practises and implemented policies.

Cabin Air Quality Campaign:
Since its inception 15 years ago, the Airline Division of CUPE has been a member of the GCAQE, a labour-driven organization specializing and advocating for workers’ rights to clean cabin air.

On February 15th the GCAQE launched a global campaign, supported by representatives of over 1 million aviation workers, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the European Cabin Crew Association​ (EurECCA).

The campaign includes a detailed press release and short video, available in English and French, and can be viewed by going to www.gcaqe.org/cleanair.

As a reminder, the Union’s cabin air quality bulletin can be obtained by sending a blank email to air@accomponent.ca.

FREE Cabin Air Quality Conference March 15-18 2021:
The GCAQE is sponsoring a FREE conference on cabin air quality between March 15-18. It is possible to register for specific days/sessions by going to www.aircraftcabinair.com.

This conference is typically held in London England, making it difficult for our members to participate. The Union encourages its members to take advantage of this opportunity to hear from a variety of world subject matter experts and industry players on this important issue from the comfort of their own home.

In solidarity,

Your Air Canada Component of CUPE Health and Safety Committee

Update on Pension Buybacks

The Pension Committee has received a lot of enquiries regarding Pension Buyback and how a layoff affects the timeline to initiate a buyback. Generally, all members who are laid-off and wish to initiate a buyback fall into one of these two categories:

  • If you were on a Leave eligible for a buyback and then placed directly on layoff, you will have 90 days upon your recall to buyback that leave. This only applies to you if you were laid-off directly from that leave and were never returned to the payroll in-between the leave and the layoff.
  • The other situation is those that took a Leave eligible for a buyback and were subsequently returned to work. You will have 90 days from the end of that leave to initiate the buyback even if you have now been laid-off, as you were returned to payroll for even just a few days. If you select payroll deductions as your buyback option, the deductions will begin upon your recall.

Mainline Defined Benefit Plan Members must contact HR Connex Pension at 1-833-847-3675, Option 2 to initiate their buyback.

In Solidarity,

Your Component Pension Committee