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

Surplus Update 1

The final numbers for Off Duty Status for April 2020 were provided by the Company last night following the second ODS bid. The total CUPE Members off duty next month is approximately 6,800 members.

Approximately 400 new members volunteered for ODS during the second bid. The Company also advised that there had been a further reduction to the planned flying for April 2020, which would require them to convert more members to ODS. Instead of placing more members involuntarily on ODS, they informed us they would be using the new volunteers from the second bid and not bring anyone off involuntary ODS.

Please see the following approximate breakdown of ODS for April 2020:

  • All 1549 Rouge members involuntarily placed on ODS
  • 3340 Mainline members voluntarily placed on ODS including those previously on SPLOAs from bid 1
  • 400 Mainline members placed on ODS from bid 2
  • 1540 Mainline member Involuntarily placed on ODS


We have commenced discussions on mitigations for May 2020 onward and hope to have more information on this by Friday. We will keep all posted as we get more information.

We are hopeful that we will be able to mitigate all layoffs through the mitigations offered through the Collective Agreement as well as further suggestions made by the Union to the Employer.

Information for those on Off-Duty Status (ODS)
The Union has been receiving a lot of emails regarding ODS, and more specifically about Employment Insurance (EI) and the newly announced Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB). The Union’s expertise is not geared towards these programs; however, we have attempted to gather pertinent information to assist you. As your ODS doesn’t begin until April 3rd at the earliest, you should not apply for either program yet as it is likely that clearer guidance from the government will be released this week.  Please note that these are high level guidelines and specific questions should be addressed to Service Canada.

Employment Insurance (EI)
If you are on ODS for April, whether voluntary or involuntary, you may apply for EI Regular Benefits. However, there is currently a large backlog of claims and it appears like new claims will also be assessed for the CERB.

In most cases you must have worked a minimum of 420 to 700 insurable in hours in the las 52 weeks to qualify for regular EI benefits. Flight time credits are doubled for the purposes of EI, for example a 75-hour block is reported as 150 EI insurable hours.

Air Canada or Air Canada Rouge will prepare your Record of Employment (ROE) and submit it electronically to Service Canada. You do not need to wait for your ROE to apply.

The maximum EI benefit is 55% of your salary to a maximum of $573/week in 2020.

If you apply for EI benefits, be sure to sign up for direct deposit to get your payments as quickly as possible. To apply for EI online follow this link:

Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB)
The Federal Government has announced the CERB, which is a new benefit that provides financial relief to workers who have ceased work for reasons relating to COVID-19. Federal authorities responsible for the CERB have not yet released program details. Important details about how the program will operate, and how it will intersect with Employment Insurance are still unknown.

To qualify for CERB benefits, applicants must (a) be a resident of Canada, (b) be 15 years or older, and (c) have had a total income of at least $5,000 (combined) in 2019 or in the 12 months immediately preceding the application, from any of the following sources:

  • Employment income,
  • Self-employment income, and
  • Maternity or parental leave benefits.

The CERB will pay out $2,000 per month for the next 4 months. The application form will be available on April 6th and we will be sure to provide an update to this bulletin as more information becomes available.

Please see a Q&A from CUPE National on the CERB:

In solidarity,