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

COVID-19 Update – The Importance Of Good Hygiene

As the COVID-19 coronavirus makes its way to more countries around the world, proper hygiene will play an even bigger role in ensuring the health and safety of you, your colleagues and our customers.

To highlight how effective hygiene can be, estimates show that proper and frequent hand washing alone, was shown to reduce transmission of SARS by 30-50%[i].

Hand Washing:

The company’s policy differs from the Union’s official position that operating aircraft should have fully functional water systems. On certain routes aircraft may be dispatched with partially inoperative water systems. In these cases, extra bottled water and hand disinfectant wipes are provided as mitigation. Many of you have expressed concerns, partly because it isn’t practical to wash hands using bottled water, which requires two crew members: one to pour while the other washes.

REMEMBER: Two crew members taking the time needed to properly use the methods provided for hygiene will inevitably affect service; this is an unavoidable and perfectly acceptable consequence of you making your personal hygiene a priority – and therefore the safety and health of your colleagues and passengers.

As a matter of reference, hand washing water should take a minimum of 20 seconds, or approximately the amount of time needed to sing happy birthday twice at a medium tempo.

The following video from the U.S. Centres for Disease Control explains all you need to know about hand washing:

Cough / Sneezing:

We all have the odd urge to sneeze or cough as a result of things like allergens, strong odours, or eating certain foods. As a rule of thumb, you should never cough or sneeze into your hands which may then touch surfaces and spread disease.

It is preferable to cough into a paper towel or tissue and then promptly dispose of it in a waste bin. If no tissue is available, use the inside of your elbow. In either case, ensure to clean your hands immediately afterwards.

Hamilton Health Sciences has prepared the following video:

Reporting to work sick:

To put it bluntly: no one wants to work with you when you’re sick. Now more than ever, it is important that we all accept the only appropriate thing to do when ill is to stay home.

The issue of sick notes has been discussed with the company, and management has committed to only requesting them in cases where they feel they are absolutely necessary and justified. If you have concerns about booking off, which may include members on CAMS at mainline, or who have a history of absenteeism at Rouge, speak to your local union office for advice.

The Union sometimes hears from members who have no more sick days/hours left. Remember that often neither do your colleagues, and it is unfair to come to work and get them sick as well. You will get better faster, allowing you to make up lost hours sooner, by staying home and resting.

Employees who believe they may have contracted an illness while at work are advised to file the appropriate reports and seek the required medical follow-up in order to protect their workers’ rights. Send an email to for further information.

Suspected Communicable Disease:

It will inevitably happen that someone onboard a flight – crew or passenger – demonstrates signs and symptoms of communicable illness. In such cases it is not only appropriate, but a required SOP to follow procedures for suspected communicable disease as outlined in chapter 6 of your FAM/PUB.

Following the protocol for suspected communicable diseases not only helps protect crew and passengers but is key to supporting the overall public health battle to contain diseases such as COVID-19.



In solidarity,

Your Air Canada Component of CUPE Health and Safety Committee