As you’re likely aware by now, Air Canada released its mandatary vaccination policy on Wednesday which covers our members at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge. The policy was released following the federal government’s announcement on August 13, 2021 that COVID-19 vaccinations would be mandatory for federal employees and those working in federally regulated industries, including the aviation sector, no later than the end of October 2021. In addition, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced that the vaccination requirement would also extend to travelers.
The Union is aware that mandatory vaccination policies represent a variety of competing interest, rules, and sensitives. However, we are in agreement with the medical and scientific communities that vaccines are critical to providing a safe work environment for our membership and promote the continuing recovery of our industry. We continue to encourage all of our members to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their colleagues, and their families.
The Union had some concerns with the timelines applicable to cabin crew in Air Canada’s policies as the government mandate is not planned to come into force until October 31, 2021. However, upon further discussion with Air Canada it is clear that those not vaccinated with a first dose by September 8, 2021 will not be subject to flight removal until the start of the November 2021 block month.
Air Canada’s policy states that “failure to be fully vaccinated by October 30, 2021 will have consequences up to and including unpaid leave or termination”. The policy acknowledges the duty to accommodate under medical and religious grounds which we are pleased to see. We expect that those who claim either exemption will have to provide pre-existing evidence that they meet these criteria.
The Union will challenge any discipline issued to a member who elects not to comply with the vaccination policy as we believe alternative accommodations should be made. As always, the grievance procedure will be followed for any discipline issued to our members.
We had previously provided the membership with a legal opinion that we obtained with the Jazz Flight Attendant Union, CFAU. This was done in order to ensure that you have the necessary information to make your choice as to whether or not to comply with the mandatory vaccination requirement as it could have consequences to your ongoing employment. You can click “HERE“ to review again.
Now that we have Air Canada’s policy on COVID Vaccines, your Union is once again having Legal Counsel and CUPE National review the terms and will file a grievance where the policy is found to be unreasonable or discriminatory. We have received feedback from many members, both for and against the vaccine and want to once again assure you all, that we are looking at all angles and avenues to ensure that each member is respected and represented though this process.
As always, we will continue to provide updates to the membership as we move closer to the October 30, 2021 deadline.