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

Tattoo and Piercing Award – CHQ-19-05 & CHQ-Rouge-19-07

The Union is happy to share a further positive grievance outcome this week for two policy grievances filed at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge related to personal grooming standards.  In March 2019, the Union grieved the Companies’ personal appearance policies, which prohibit cabin personnel from having visible tattoos and piercings on duty, other than one pair of matching stud earrings. The grievances proceeded to a hearing with our Chief Arbitrator William Kaplan on April 21, 2021, and his award was issued yesterday. Please CLICK HERE to review the full award.

The Union alleged that the Companies’ tattoo and piercings policies are unreasonable and discriminatory. Additionally, the Union alleged the absolute prohibition on visible tattoos and piercings has resulted in disciplinary consequences without just cause.

The arbitrator found that tattoo and piercings policies, in their present form, are not necessary to advance the Companies’ business interests. As such, in order to ensure compliance with the Collective Agreement, and the Canadian Human Rights Act he ordered that the Companies amend their tattoo and piercings policies to permit the following:

Henna Tattoos: Visible henna worn in connection with any religious, cultural or celebratory reason.

Tattoos: Discreet tattoos that are not offensive and have no connection to nudity, hatred, violence, drugs, alcohol, discrimination, or harassment, may be visible so long as they are not on the head (with the exception of directly behind the ears) or the neck (with the exception of the nape of the neck). All other tattoos may not be visible.


  • A maximum of three (3) earrings per ear in plain gold, rose gold, silver, diamond, wood or pearl
  • Earrings must be limited to studs or hoops, as follows:
    • Stud(s) no larger than a quarter inch in diameter
    • Any hoops will be plain, in gold, silver, rose gold or wood and not be larger than a Canadian dime
    • Spacers/gauges/plugs/tunnels or any other ear stretchings are not permitted


  • A single piercing in one nostril, limited to a stud or hoop:
    • Stud in gold, silver, rose gold or a gold, silver, rose gold post with a precious stone
    • Plain hoop in gold, silver or rose gold, that fits flush or snug against the nostril

In addition, the arbitrator ordered the removal of all discipline strictly relating to tattoos, henna tattoos and piercings issued against individual members and that the individual grievors be made whole.

We expect in the coming weeks that the Companies will adjust their grooming policies to comply with this award. We hope this award will significantly reduce the stress and anxiety our members felt towards covering their discreet tattoos and removing their additional piercings.

In solidarity,