The Future Looks Bright for ALPA Canada Members

By Rob Lynch, ALPA Senior Communications Coordinator
Andrew Shostack, assistant director of ALPA’s Representation Department, front, leads the ALPA Canada Board in a thorough review of the governing body’s strategic plan.

To close out 2017, leaders from ALPA Canada’s 11 pilot groups made their way to Ottawa, Ont., for the 15th annual ALPA holiday reception and a special ALPA Canada Board meeting to discuss strategic planning.

“Fifteen years ago, there were approximately 1,500 Canadian members who flew for five airlines,” said Capt. Dan Adamus (Jazz Aviation), ALPA Canada president. “Today, with the pilots from Air Georgian, Encore, and WestJet who joined in 2017, ALPA now represents more than 5,000 pilots in Canada who fly for 11 airlines. And I’m confident that the number will continue to grow in 2018.”

The reception, held in early December, provided pilots with an opportunity to network with fellow pilot leaders, government officials, and other industry stakeholders, including Members of Parliament, senators, and representatives from Canada’s aviation sector and several airline managements.

Capt. Tim Canoll, ALPA’s president, addressed the group, reflecting on his trip to Calgary, Alb., a year ago to kick off the card collection campaign with WestJet pilots and echoing Adamus’ message of ALPA’s growth in 2018. Discussing the importance of working together, Canoll noted, “If you think about your individual roles in the Canadian aviation industry, be it with an airport, as a legislator, or as a regulator or as some other element of the industry, combined we are much mightier together than we are individually.”

From left, Capt. Dan Adamus (Jazz Aviation), ALPA Canada president; Capt. Tim Canoll, ALPA president; and Jim Facette, president and CEO of the Canadian Business and Aviation Association, attend the recent ALPA Canada holiday reception in Ottawa, Ont.

The following day, ALPA’s Canada Board—the master executive council chairs of ALPA’s 11 Canadian pilot groups and three officers—took part in a special meeting to conduct strategic planning and begin charting a new course for its ever-increasing members.

To start the meeting, Adamus; Capt. Brian Shury (Jazz Aviation), ALPA Canada vice president; and Capt. Rod Lypchuk (Jazz Aviation), ALPA Canada vice president administration and finance, discussed the work ALPA’s Canada Board has been conducting on behalf of its members. They highlighted the Safer Skies initiative—a joint effort of more than 9,000 pilots belonging to the Safer Skies Coalition—which has focused on the serious safety concerns regarding fatigue risk management systems (FRMS) as proposed by Transport Canada. ALPA’s recent lobbying efforts have included engaging with Members of Parliament and the tabling of a petition with almost 10,000 signatures in the House of Commons. The petition called on the government to further address the issues of pilot fatigue and FRMS. These efforts dovetailed with the Canada Board’s increased news media outreach and revamped social media efforts.

During the meeting, a member of the Air Canada Pilots Association’s (ACPA) Master Elected Council discussed with participants the collaboration between ALPA and ACPA and ongoing efforts to build on that relationship.

“Collaboration like this is great for the pilot community,” noted Adamus. “While there is still an incredible amount of work to be done, we’re having conversations now that were completely unheard of even just a few years ago, and this is what’s best for the profession. For far too long, pilot groups worked in individual silos, which ultimately has been a major contributing factor in the degrading of our profession.”

In reviewing the strategic plan, members discussed the role and purpose of the Canada Board, focusing on how it’s perceived by members and the work it does for its members.

A positive growth trend has reinforced ALPA’s increased strength within the airline industry and has allowed the Canada Board to identify opportunities for collaboration and to advance the careers of Canadian ALPA members.

“It’s an exciting time in Canada as more pilot groups continue to recognize that whether they’re unrepresented or independent, we as professional pilots are stronger and safer when we work collaboratively and speak with one voice,” acknowledged Adamus.

With the Canada Board’s new and improved methods of communication, and a plan to advance its mission “to work collectively as the leading advocate and representative for the Canadian professional pilot, with a focus on safety”—the centerpiece of its strategic plan—ALPA’s Canada Board is well positioned in 2018 to achieve increased safety, security, and viability for the Canadian aviation industry and the piloting profession.

This article was originally published in the January 2018 issue of Air Line Pilot.

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