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

Coronavirus Update 27

The Union wishes to update you regarding the following COVID-19 contact tracing issues:

Notification of exposure mid-pairing
Following consultation with the Union, the company revised its contact tracing process effective September 1st, 2020. After implementation, many concerns were raised by our members.

The Union is pleased to inform that the company has agreed to a recommendation from the Montreal Workplace Health and Safety Committee to make the following changes effective immediately to its contact tracing process:

  • Members notified of a confirmed case onboard a flight they operated will be returned to home base in the most efficient way possible (they will not have to complete their entire pairing).
  • Whenever possible, the affected employee will be provided the option to deadhead. This may not always be possible due to minimum crew requirements.

Notification of a COVID-19 case in the workplace
Following discussions between management and the Union, it is confirmed that in the event that the company is notified of a confirmed COVID-19 case in the workforce, contact tracing will be actioned immediately according to established guidelines from the PHAC.

This involves notifying any employee who may have had contact up to 48 hours prior to the ill individual experiencing symptoms (the pre-symptomatic contagious period), or 48 hours prior to a positive test in the case of someone who is asymptomatic.

Notification Delays
The Union has received your concerns regarding periodic delays in notification between the time a flight is posted to the website, and when our members get called by the company.

Upon detailed review with both the PHAC as well as management from Corporate Safety and In-Flight Service, please note the following:

  • As soon as the company is notified of a flight with a confirmed case, they immediately confirm the flight and passenger data for accuracy and action the contact tracing process if it all checks out.
  • There are sometimes major discrepancies/issues between information provided by the federal and provincial health authorities leading to necessary follow-up. The Union has reviewed lengthy communication detailing the fact that this can take a fair bit of time for the Company to rectify, as they must work with up to 3 different levels of government.
  • Examples of details that would be considered major red flags requiring verification include: reported seat assignment that doesn’t exist on the aircraft type, a name/seat assignment that doesn’t match the manifest, a flight number that doesn’t match the cited destination, a flight number that doesn’t match the direction Ex CDG-YUL vs YUL-CDG etc.

Should members see a flight listed and be concerned that they have not received a call from the company’s contact tracing team, the Union and company now have a process in place to seek clarification. Please contact us directly so that we can assist.


In solidarity,

CUPE Communiqué – Rapid testing the best path to recovery for Canada’s airlines: CUPE

Vancouver – The Airline Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) says that rapid testing represents the best option for Canada’s airlines to get on the long road to recovery after the economic fallout of COVID-19.

“Short of a vaccine, the ability to have fast and efficient testing is the surest bet to get our industry back in the air and our members back on the job,” said Wesley Lesosky, President of the Airline Division.

CUPE’s Airline Division, which represents 15,000 flight attendants at nine different airlines in Canada, supports the announcement that some airlines in the country are securing rapid tests in order to ensure the safety of in-flight staff, the flying public, and the general public.

However, CUPE believes that the federal government should ultimately be responsible for administering tests at airports across the country, in the short and medium term until an effective vaccine for COVID-19 becomes available.

“Our industry is in crisis, but this is one simple tool the government can use to help make flying safe for workers and the public, and save tens of thousands of jobs in the process,” said Lesosky.

Bill C-4 Follow Up

As a follow-up to the bulletin we issued on October 1, 2020 (Click HERE to view), Bill C-4 received Royal Assent on Friday, October 2, 2020, following passage in the Senate. We are pleased that this bill has been passed offering our members COVID-19 Leave options.

We were in regular communication with Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge as we heard from so many members who needed to know when the policy that aligns with these programs would be published.  Air Canada has provided their official COVID-19 Leave policy and an FAQ document. These documents can be found on Aeronet in the HR Connex portal under the COVID-19 Mitigations Tab at the top of the page. They can also be found by clicking HERE for the Policy, and HERE for the FAQ document.  The Air Canada Rouge policy will apparently mirror the Mainline policy and should be available soon.  Your Union has followed up and will continue to do so until the policy is posted for all members.

If you intend to apply for the benefit provided by the Federal Government, it is important that you review the criteria of these benefits fully. We continue to work with CUPE National and are engaged in efforts to have a liaison with Employment and Social Development Canada who specialises in the unique nature of our workforce and to help navigate applications for these benefits.  We will provide updates on this as soon as they are available to us.

If you have not already applied for the COVID-19 Leave, and you meet the eligibility requirements, you can do so by submitting a request through the eLeaves tool at Air Canada Mainline or by emailing Chelsea at if you are working at Air Canada Rouge. If you have any questions about this leave or the implications relating to pension, benefits, etc. we recommend that you read through the Q and A document as it is quite comprehensive. If you have remaining questions you can reach out to your Local Office.

In solidarity,

As A Matter Of Fact – Tip Of The Week – Safety Pulse Survey

Here’s a great way to have your say about general safety issues during COVID times.

Last week Air Canada launched its biannual Safety Pulse Survey, which is used to gather important safety information directly from its employees.  We encourage you to participate, as the survey is confidential and in the past we have seen positive change based on our members concerns. You can find a link to the survey in your Air Canada email. The deadline to complete the survey is by 15:00 EDT on Wednesday, October 14, 2020.

Company Policy Regarding US Flights

On September 18th the company abruptly announced that it was changing its policy regarding US flights effective the October block month such that our members will no longer be able to opt out of flights to US destinations regardless of how they bid.

Unlike the lengthy and proper discussion prior to implementing the “opt-out policy” back in July, the Union was provided almost no advance notice before this announced. There was no consultation.

The company’s memo stated “Following our Flight Path behaviour of Safety First, Always, we’ve since implemented measures on-board our aircraft to ensure the safety of you, your colleagues and our customers. These measures include passenger screening, mandatory masks on board and customer temperature screening, in addition to making the necessary PPE available to all crew members.

We did a quick fact check and to be perfectly clear – all of these protections were already in place prior to the policy coming into effect. The company’s statement that these are recent improvements simply isn’t true.

Late March / Early April TC instates requirements for screening of passengers at check-in
20APR2020 Masks are mandatory onboard
05JUN2020 Temperature checks for passengers implemented at gates
12JUN2020 All current PPE was in place
15JUL2020 Policy comes into effect

What does the data say about the US situation?

The pandemic is an evolving situation and the Union felt it was prudent to verify the situation at the US destinations scheduled for October service.  What we found is that the US is experiencing dramatically different infection rates depending on State and even city lines.

Since the company’s policy was implemented on 15JUL2020 the U.S. National 7-day average infection rate has fallen from 61,892.00 to 43,111 (28SEP2020).

We looked into the 7-day infection rates per 100K inhabitants for all the US destinations we are flying to in the month of October.  For the October block month there are layovers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Orlando. There are flights (no layovers) to Fort Myers, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale.

Currently some fall close to the range of levels being seen in Ontario and Quebec. However, Los Angeles, Orlando, Tampa and especially Las Vegas continue to trend well above levels being seen at any of our Canadian, and many other international destinations grappling with the virus.  It should also be noted that Quebec is currently at the start of a partial lockdown due to its daily infection rate.

For your reference, as of 29SEP2020 here are the figures (source New York Times):


What is the Union doing?

The Union continues to impress upon the company the importance of recognizing the fact that things are not back to normal, no matter how much we would all like them to be. Layovers include hazards that extend beyond the aircraft where it is easier to control the overall environment. We will continue to encourage responsible and safe methods for the re-opening of air travel. However, this must take into account the different circumstances we all face, which affect our individual susceptibility to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Forcing a blanket policy that “things are safe” won’t accomplish this and undermines our collective efforts to instill confidence in the travel industry, both amongst employees and customers.

What can you do?

We would like to remind you that you have a variety of PPE available to you from the employer, for use while at work and on layover. You can find the PPE guide on ACAeronet > ePub > PPE tile

The safest option on layover is to remain on the hotel premises, to always keep your physical distance between others to 2m +, wear a face covering, limit the duration of contact with others, avoid group activities, and wash your hands frequently for 20s+ or use a hand sanitizer.

You always have the right to KNOW, PARTICIPATE, AND REFUSE DANGEROUS WORK. We encourage all our members to file a health and safety complaint e-report. It really does help us help you when things are officially reported as it generates statistics and documents the many specific examples you have.

Information about the right to refuse dangerous work can be obtained by emailing

In solidarity,