Echo Hotel Aviation HR Briefings

This briefing series provides clear practical advice to employers in the aviation sector to navigate all aspects of the employment cycle.

The articles listed below are intended to provide readers with general information. They should not be regarded or relied upon as legal advice or opinion.

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Preventing impaired flying: Transportation Safety Board recommends alcohol and drug testing following investigation of Carson Air Ltd. in-flight breakup

December 15, 2017

In November 2017, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) published its investigation report relating to the in-flight breakup of Carson Air Ltd. flight 66. In the report, while unable to determine the exact cause of the breakup, the TSB concluded that alcohol intoxication “almost certainly played a role in the events leading up to the accident.” As a result of this finding, as well as a number of recent incidents involving impaired pilots, the TSB recommended a “comprehensive response to inappropriate drug and alcohol use in aviation.” In the TSB’s view, drug and alcohol testing may be one aspect…

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Preventing impaired flying: Where do we go from here?

January 12, 2017

By Larissa Volinets Schieven and Steven P. Williams The recent arrest of an intoxicated Sunwing Airlines pilot, who made it as far as the cockpit before passing out, has garnered significant attention, and left many wondering how commercial air carriers can best ensure impaired pilots don’t make it to take-off. Last week, Federal Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, sent a letter to commercial air carriers expressing his concern over the incident, and reminding carriers of their “obligation to ensure that flight crew members are fit to fly” and their “responsibility to have procedures in place to identify and manage hazards…

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Prohibition against pyramiding does not apply where premiums serve different purposes

December 9, 2015

Employers often provide shift premiums as additional compensation to employees that work weekends, evening or overnight shifts. For unionized workplaces, collective agreements will often prohibit the payment of two or more premiums for the same period of work pursuant to different articles of a collective agreement, provided that the compensation is for the same purpose (referred to as “pyramiding”). If a collective agreement is silent on the issue, there is a common law presumption against pyramiding resulting in only the greater of the two premiums being paid. The recent decision of the Manitoba Court of Appeal in Winnipeg Airports Authority…

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Security Clearance Refused Where Employee Has Possible Criminal Ties

November 25, 2015

In a recent decision, the Federal Court of Canada commented on the scope of Transport Canada’s power to grant or refuse to grant security clearance under the Aeronautics Act. Charlebois v. Canada (Attorney General) (in French only) (September 22, 2015) confirmed that the Minister of Transport can refuse to grant or renew a security clearance to work in the aviation sector where the individual applying for the clearance poses a risk to aviation security. In Charlebois, the employee was a pre-flight mechanical engineer for an airline operating out of Mirabel Airport in Montreal. He had been employed by the airline…

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B.C. Supreme Court enforces training bond agreement – rejects duress

October 7, 2015

Organizations in the aviation industry often use training bond agreements when providing training to employees. Training costs can often be prohibitive if the employee is required to pay such costs up front. Training bond agreements will generally operate to have the employer pay the costs of training on behalf of the employee, and then recoup those costs from the employee over time in smaller amounts that are more manageable for the employee. The employer obtains the benefit of having properly trained employees, while the employee obtains the benefit of the training which is often transferrable. A recent decision of the…

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Probationary employees and dismissal – “suitability” standard applies

October 2, 2015

For organizations operating in the aviation industry probationary periods for new employees are common. The probationary period enables an employer to not only assess the employee’s skills, but also their character. This in turn permits the employer to determine whether the employee will work in harmony within the organization if hired permanently. During the probationary period an employer is permitted to dismiss a probationary employee without notice and without giving reasons, provided that the employer acts in good faith in its assessment of the employee. This is a much lower bar than the just cause threshold required for the dismissal…

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Airline’s marketing runs afoul of Canada’s “anti-spam” law

September 4, 2015

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (“CRTC”) recently announced that Porter Airlines Inc. (“Porter”) agreed to pay $150,000 for alleged violations of Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL). The payment by Porter is part of a larger voluntary undertaking by which Porter will implement a number of corrective measures to ensure compliance with the law. The voluntary undertaking is the culmination of a CRTC investigation alleging that between July 2014 and April 2015 Porter engaged in a number of violations of the Act. These alleged violations included: sending commercial e-mails that did not contain an unsubscribe mechanism; sending commercial e-mails that failed…

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Canada Industrial Relations Board permits employer communications regarding representation vote – no undue influence or irreparable harm

August 24, 2015

A recent decision of the Canada Industrial Relations Board (“Board”) provides guidance to aviation organizations regarding their conduct during a representation vote. In WestJet, an Alberta Partnership, (July, 2015), the issue before the Board was whether WestJet should be prohibited from communicating with pilots regarding an organizing campaign and representation vote initiated by the union, the WestJet Professional Pilots Association. The union alleged that communications by WestJet would have undue influence over pilots affected by the vote and impact the outcome of the vote. It sought an interim order under section 19.1 of the Canada Labour Code (“Code”) prohibiting such…

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SCC rules on discrimination in flight training case – blind application of decisions of foreign authorities may result in liability

August 18, 2015

Organizations in the aviation industry are often required to comply with a host of laws and regulations often from multiple jurisdictions. Where there are conflicts in such laws, questions may arise relating to the legal risks that the subject organization may be exposed to. It is in this context that a recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada will be of particular interest. In Quebec (Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse) v. Bombardier Inc. (Bombardier Aerospace Training Center) (July, 2015) one of the issues was the extent to which Bombardier could be liable…

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SOP # 15-2 The Interview

August 11, 2015

Bad hiring decisions are costly. Proper time invested in the interview process will increase the likelihood of making hiring decisions that benefit the organization. An objective interview process will assist in the defence to human rights claims and will establish a framework to make informed hiring decisions. STEP ONE Determine the essential job requirements – are there technical / functional capabilities or behavioural competencies that are required? These are the ‘must haves’. Once you have determined the ‘must haves’ you can create a list of ‘nice to have’ requirements to further refine the selection process and interview questions. Each requirement…

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