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

Coronavirus Update 5

Dear members of both Mainline and Rouge,

Further to our previous communication we wish to advise you of the following:

Potable Water:
It has come to the Union’s attention that certain flights have recently been dispatched without any running water. Faced with a public health situation in which thorough handwashing with soap and water have been repeatedly cited as the most important and effective way to protect oneself and others from contracting the 2019-nCoV (Coronavirus), it is categorically unacceptable for any aircraft to be dispatched without a fully functional water system.

It is the Union’s position that any aircraft without a fully functional water system ought to be immediately removed and not positioned for operation until such time as the issue can be corrected – regardless of aircraft type.

The Union strongly discourages its members from accepting a non-functional water system in exchange for any form of supplemental compensation.

Should you be faced with a non-functional water system on any aircraft:

  • IMMEDIATELY contact the Union. We consider this an urgent situation and it is appropriate to contact us via and/or the emergency line:


For a reminder of the onboard tools available to you, as well as reputable sources of information see our Update #1 by clicking HERE.

To review public health resources that do not require a trip to the clinic or ER, see our Update #2 by clicking HERE.

For a reminder about proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) see our Update #3 by clicking HERE.

Notification of passengers with suspected illness:
As stated in our Update #3, in the event that someone falls ill after transiting through our network, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) will inform the company. The company will in turn ensure that the employees who would have come in direct contact are informed. This includes cabin crew.

To date it is confirmed that neither of the 2 Toronto coronavirus cases arrived on Air Canada flights, nor the confirmed case in B.C.

Should you fall ill or become injured while away on layover:
The Union has inquired and AC Occupational Health in consultation with Medaire will continue to follow the regular mid-cycle book-off process. However, at destinations affected by the 2019-nCoV (which may change as the situation develops) Medaire will make every effort to avoid sending employees to hospitals or clinics – and instead arrange for care to come to them.

Should you fall ill on layover with a fever or respiratory symptoms, the company has informed us there is a possibility you may be quarantined by local officials until such a time as it is confirmed you do not have the coronavirus. The company may have little control over this and will do its utmost to ensure any affected employee is supported. As this situation develops, this may apply at various destinations that are being affected. As always, we encourage you to reach out to the Union for assistance in such a situation by emailing  or calling the emergency line listed above.

Accommodation and extra supplies:
The Union has inquired about which destinations the company is offering accommodation for concerned employees and boarding extra supplies. We have been informed that this is evaluated on a daily basis, depending on the current situation at our various destinations.

Regular supplies will continue to be boarded on all flights. Members who wish to have extra supplies will find surgical masks and large pump-bottles of alcohol-based hand sanitizer in the crew centres that they may use to refill their own smaller containers, including those provided by the company. Please be considerate of others when taking supplies.

Currently the Union is awaiting clarification regarding accommodation and supplies for flights to/from Hong Kong as well as certain other destinations raised by our members.

Your Rights:
Many members have inquired about their rights. As is always the case, employees have a right to a safe workplace. This includes the FOUR FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS of health and safety. You can read the Union’s full bulletin on this by clicking HERE.

  • The right to know
    • You have a right to know about anything that may affect your health or safety. If you have a concern – speak up and ask your questions! Remember to always keep the union in the know by copying
  • The right to participate
    • You can participate in ensuring a safe workplace and assisting your committees by reporting any suspected hazards or concerns about health and safety. To file a health and safety complaint: ACAeronet > Safety > Submit a report/SIMS at Mainline or use AQD Rouge.
  • The right to refuse dangerous work
    • Every employee always has an individual right to refuse work if they feel it puts their life or their health in imminent or serious danger. For more information, see the end of Chapter 2 in your manual and download the Union’s bulletin by sending a blank email to
    • Remember that the gateway for work refusals is to contact crew scheduling, who will put you in touch with a safety manager.
    • Know that in the law step 1 of the work refusal process is between yourself and the company – and does not involve your Union H&S reps. They become involved at step 2 if the employer is unable to resolve your concerns – and their non-presence at step 1 should not be interpreted as a lack of representation. HOWEVER, if you are being denied your right to refuse – or if your rights are in any other way being violated – it is appropriate to contact the Union.
  • The right to no reprisal
    • Both the company’s non-punitive safety reporting policy as well as the Canada Labour Code Section 147 guarantee no discipline for employees exercising their duties and/or rights when it comes to safety.
    • You cannot be disciplined for exercising your right to refuse dangerous work, when it is done in good faith. You also cannot lose pay (you may be reassigned to alternate duties).

We are committed to representing you but can’t do it alone. As we will be speaking to the company on a daily basis, your comments, questions and concerns will be that much more important over the coming days.

We cannot stress enough the importance of communicating your concerns, questions and frustrations directly to the union by emailing, but also filing a health and safety complaint with the company (ACAeronet > safety > submit a report/SIMS at mainline or in AQD at Rouge). This is very important as it enters the concern into the company’s h&s database and stats used by both management and your health and safety committees.

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE