The COVID-19 landscape continues to evolve, and we were made aware that Air Canada will be implementing a new process. This process involves voluntary COVID-19 testing for crew members. The testing will first be made available in YVR at Occupational Health Services starting on July 15th and by July 22nd it should be available to all bases except for YYC. Calgary is to be confirmed at a later time. The testing will be provided Monday to Friday from 08:00-12:00.
In preparation for the new procedures for members travelling into Hong Kong we have attached a copy of a bulletin that we issued recently, click HERE to view.
Once it is fully implemented, full-time working crew, as well as crew who have recently been recalled and are preparing for their flights, are eligible for this testing should they wish to access it. Employees who are on lay-off status will not be part of this testing.
As you can imagine we had many questions. We had numerous discussions with Air Canada so that we had a clear picture of what was transpiring and could report back to you.
One of the first questions we had was what kind of test it would be. We were advised that it would be a PCR or Nucleic acid-based test performed via a nasal swab. According to the Government of Canada this test is the gold standard used in Canada and abroad to diagnose active COVID-19 infection. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/covid19-industry/medical-devices/testing/serological.html
We had concerns about the privacy of the medical information obtained as a part of this testing and whether or not their practices were in compliance with privacy legislation in Canada. We were assured that the storing of the information will be handled as per The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). For more information about PIPEDA please see the following link: https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/privacy-topics/privacy-laws-in-canada/the-personal-information-protection-and-electronic-documents-act-pipeda
We had questions about how the information obtained would be used, if at all. We were told that the information taken for the test will only be used for the test. The information will be stored for up too 7 years as per PIPEDA. Any Information relating to a positive test will be sent to the appropriate Public Health Agency. The results will not be made available to anyone else other than OC Health.
We asked Air Canada if there was a company policy relating to this and it was provided to us. The policy can be found HERE.
Air Canada will be providing more information via a Q and A document relating to how long the test will take, how to book a test, who shares the results and how long it will take for those results, among other things. We will be consulting with legal counsel on all elements of this new process to ensure that your rights are protected. More information will be made available as soon as we receive it. Our main focus is, and will always be, the health and well-being of our membership and their families.