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.