As you may recall, on July 28, 2021, your Union filed a policy grievance CHQ-21-13 – COVID-19 Leave of Absence (To view click HERE) and subsequently filed a motion for an interim order directing Air Canada to cease and desist from:
- denying members’ statutory entitlement to take COVID-19-related leaves under section 239.01 of the Canada Labour Code;
- demanding members provide documentation to substantiate the COVID-19-related leave in violation of section 239.01 of the Canada Labour Code and Canada Labour Standards Regulations; and
- refusing to process COVID-19-related leaves beyond September 25, 2021, in violation of the Canada Labour Code and Canada Labour Standards Regulations.
This morning we were advised by our Chief Arbitrator, that the Union’s motion was granted as follows:
…the union’s application for interim relief is granted to the extent, and subject to the comments above, that the company may not request additional documentation beyond that required in the written declaration, which, as set out, must include sufficient reasons for the requested leave meaningfully tied to the requirements of the Code.
Chief Arbitrator Kaplan accepted that additional documentation is not necessary to consider COVID leave requests, which is how the requests were processed before July 2021. Chief Arbitrator Kaplan found:
There is an apparent legislative intent to not require excessive, burdensome documentation to facilitate entitlement to these leaves in the attenuated and stressful circumstances of a global pandemic that has affected people so profoundly. The Code clearly seeks to achieve a balance between efficiency and transparency; a balance between the interests of employees and employers. Additional documentation is not necessary to consider these requests – as was earlier the case. Depriving leaves now could cause individual irreparable harm…
A full copy of the decision can be accessed by clicking HERE.
For members that require a COVID-19 Leave, you should continue to review the policy (click HERE for a copy) and request your leave through the eLeaves kiosk with sufficient reasons that are meaningfully tied to the Code requirement. However, you will no longer be required to provide additional documentation beyond the written request.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to the Union if you encounter further issues in requesting a COVID-19 Leave.