From Atop Parliament Hill

By ALPA Staff

This is shaping up to be one of ALPA Canada’s busiest years in Ottawa. ALPA can expect the momentum created by increased pilot engagement, membership growth, and collective bargaining over the months Parliament has been in session to continue through September when Parliament resumes and beyond.

As it’s become customary during the summer months when parliamentarians are back in their constituencies working the “barbeque circuit” and focused on issues closer to home, there’s much speculation concerning whether a cabinet shuffle will occur and on the timing of the next federal election.

While Canada does have fixed election dates (the next one is on Oct. 20, 2025), Parliament is currently led by a minority government and relies on a coalition of support from other parties in the House of Commons to pass legislation. Should the government lose this support, Canadians would find themselves back at the polls. Whether an unscheduled election comes to pass, ALPA Canada will continue to work with legislators in Ottawa, regardless of political stripe, to protect pilot jobs, support the viability of the airline industry, and ensure the health and safety of its members.

ALPA Canada Priorities Front and Centre

ALPA Canada’s work to advance key ALPA priorities is always front and centre when engaging with Canada’s legislators and decision-makers. ALPA Canada leaders continue to focus on increasing their participation in discussions with government and other industry stakeholders by building upon their established relationships and seeking out new connections. As a result, ALPA Canada’s prominence as a leading nongovernmental aviation safety organization and labour union continues to grow.

Since last year, ALPA Canada leaders have continued to address the impacts of legislation, regulations, policies, and programs on the airline industry and ALPA members with the federal government.

ALPA Canada is focused on promoting key pilot issues and providing solutions on how to move these issues forward with members of Parliament and senators so that they’re informed and can act accordingly.

Ongoing discussions with government officials include pilot supply, training and licensing, temporary foreign pilots, the implementation of flight- and duty-time regulations, ongoing collective bargaining issues and priorities, and other issues affecting the profession.

Advocating for Pilot-Partisan Policy

In addition to meetings on Parliament Hill, one of the most effective ways ALPA Canada engages with legislators is through Calls to Action. Last November, ALPA Canada launched a Call to Action to demand that airlines in Canada fill flight deck seats with Canadian pilots before any request to hire foreign pilots is made to the federal government. Members overwhelmingly responded by tweeting and sending letters to Canada’s ministers of Employment, Transport, and Immigration, and their local member of Parliament. ALPA’s message was loud and clear—hiring temporary foreign pilots undermines collective bargaining rights and labour standards—and ultimately led to a successful outcome.

And in support of the greater labour movement, ALPA Canada pilots participated in the Canadian Labour Congress Parliament Hill Lobby Day in February. ALPA members led the discussions with Canadian legislators on several issues, including anticipated government legislation that will amend the Canada Labour Code to prohibit the use of replacement workers during a strike or lockout in federally regulated sectors.

Related to this, and because of ALPA Canada’s hard work to flag problems with the maintenance of activities process in the Canada Labour Code, ALPA members also addressed how some airlines have weaponized and exploited the deficiencies of the current process. The government has indicated it will take action to improve and update the process to ensure that it’s working smoothly.

While ALPA applauds the government’s commitment to introduce the legislation before the end of this year, it’s a long time coming and will take some months before the legislation comes into effect. ALPA Canada will continue to engage with the government on this issue to make certain the changes to the Canada Labour Code ensure fair collective bargaining.

Legislation and Regulations at a Glance

Last November and December, ALPA Canada participated in sessions regarding the government’s consultations on legislation to prohibit the use of replacement workers in federally regulated sectors and on improvements to the maintenance of activities process under Part I of the Canada Labour Code.

Capt. Tim Perry, ALPA Canada president, attended in-person consultation sessions with the minister of Labour, his staff, departmental officials, and other industry stakeholders. ALPA Canada subsequently provided a written submission to the Labour Department to support ALPA’s position at the table during consultations.

Parliamentary Committees

ALPA Canada leaders have routinely participated as witnesses to provide expert testimony for studies conducted by various Standing Committees in both the House of Commons and Senate. ALPA Canada’s participation is a key activity that ensures ALPA’s collective voice is heard and the pilot perspective is represented.

Last October, ALPA Canada’s president appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure, and Communities to provide comments to the committee on behalf of ALPA Canada members for its study on the Anticipated Labour Shortages in the Canadian Transportation Sector. In March of this year, the committee’s report was presented to the government in the House of Commons. Perry’s testimony is referenced a number of times in the report, including his comments on foreign pilots: “Tim Perry, president of Air Line Pilots Association Canada, underlined that collective bargaining rights must not be undermined by Canadian companies relying on temporary foreign workers, foreign wet leases, and improper partnerships with foreign operators.”

Advancing the Pilot-Partisan Agenda

Looking ahead at the advocacy agenda, ALPA Canada will be hosting a Parliament Hill Day in conjunction with its Canada Board meeting in September. The ALPA Canada Parliament Hill Day is an opportunity for pilot leaders from across air carriers to participate in raising the profile of ALPA as the largest pilot union and nongovernmental aviation safety organization in the world while increasing awareness of the issues affecting the piloting profession through meetings with members of Parliament.

ALPA Canada will also host a reception as part of Parliament Hill Day to give members the opportunity to interact with parliamentarians from all political stripes in a more relaxed and informal setting.

Work Continues

ALPA Canada leaders and staff remain focused on communicating pilot priorities to Canada’s legislators. ALPA Canada continues to work tirelessly in Ottawa and across the country on behalf of all members to continue to voice their concerns and advocate for a safe, competitive, and sustainable industry moving forward.

ALPA Canada Intercedes on Behalf of Pivot Crewmembers

In April 2022, five Pivot Airlines crewmembers were detained in the Dominican Republic after discovering and reporting suspected contraband on their aircraft. After nearly eight months, they were finally released and returned home to Canada on December 1. During their detainment, ALPA Canada worked diligently with Pivot Airlines and other unions to pressure the Canadian government to take action to get the crew released. ALPA Canada leaders spearheaded interventions in Parliament, and ALPA pilots took collective action by writing to their members of Parliament and the prime minister and minister of Global Affairs to make the Pivot crewmembers’ return happen.

Become an ALPA Constituency Advocate

Make your voice heard in Parliament by becoming a Constituency Advocate. ALPA’s Government Affairs team will provide you the tools you need to advocate directly with your elected officials on ALPA priorities before Parliament. Learn how to request and conduct meetings with your member of Parliament in your home constituency. Your elected officials want to hear from constituents, and you can provide a valuable perspective on important topics as a trusted subject-matter expert. When matters of aviation safety, security, collective bargaining, or issues impacting your livelihood are debated in Parliament, it’s critical that members of Parliament have the benefit of your expertise as an ALPA advocate. Contact to learn more.

This article was originally published in the August 2023 issue of Air Line Pilot.

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