Dear Sisters and Brothers:
All employers in the aviation sector have been dramatically affected by government directives enacted as part of the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The steps taken to date include recommendations that Canadians avoid all non-essential international travel, including to the United States, and directing all international travel to just four Canadian airports. To offset the adverse impact on the air transportation sector, the federal government has provided $331 million to aid the air transportation sector, given the national importance of air transportation. We are awaiting details about how this money will be used.
During these unprecedented and extremely challenging times, our members have been asking many questions in this ever-changing environment.
In an effort to assist our members, below are important answers to frequently asked questions. As developments arise in this continuously evolving environment, additions or changes will be updated as they become available.
Q1: Are we being laid off?
A: Many airlines and aviation service providers have announced reductions of their workforce. For some of our members this has resulted in a reduction of hours worked, for others it has led to lay-offs, while members who are Air Canada employees have been placed on off-duty status (ODS). Protocols for lay-offs are outlined in your collective agreement, and you should speak with your Chief Shop Steward, or the Senior Steward for details. Air Canada members should contact their General Chairperson or Shop Committee to answer your questions about your particular circumstances.
Q2: How do I get my Record of Employment (ROE)?
A: You should contact HR to ensure an ROE has been issued. We recommend you also ask whether your employer issues ROEs electronically or in paper form.
The employer has up to five calendar days after the end of the pay period in which an interruption of earnings occurred to issue ROEs.
If an ROE is issued on paper, the employer has to issue the ROE within five calendar days of: the first day of an interruption of earnings; or, the day the employer becomes aware of an interruption of earnings.
If you are having issues getting your ROE, contact your Chief Shop Steward or your Shop
Q3: I am now without work due to COVID-19. Which benefit do I apply for?
A: As of April 6, 2020, you will need to sign up for the new Canadian Emergency Wage Benefit. For
the next 16 weeks, or until Oct.3, 2020, regular EI benefits are suspended and those who have lost their job due to COVID-19 need to apply for this benefit. There is a schedule for signing up based on your birth month.
Please note that if you’ve already signed up for regular EI benefits, you do not need to re-apply. If you’ve received a payment from the regular EI program, it will be adjusted to equal $ 500 per week.CERB payments will be made on a monthly basis and are taxable income.
If you are on maternity leave, parental leave or compassionate care leave, there will be no changes to your payments, and you don’t need to do anything.
You cannot hold other employment while receiving payments from CERB.
Q4: I need more information about the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit. Where do I go?
Q5: What happens if I’m off on long-term disability benefits?
A: You should continue receiving your benefits, however, please refer to your collective agreement
for specific details.
Q6: I still need to go to work, what kind of PPE am I entitled to?
A: The kind of PPE you should be provided depends on the nature of your work. The IAMAW is
asking employers to provide a broad range of PPE, such as disposable gloves, face shields,
masks, hand sanitization stations, and antibacterial wipes. We are also asking employers to
ensure frequent sanitization of equipment and work surfaces, ensure physical distancing is in place where possible, and limiting the number of individuals in a given workspace at a given time, where possible.
Q7: What is the union doing to advocate for members and manage this crisis?
A: The IAMAW is in regular contact with employers to clarify changes in working conditions and how that impacts our members. We have also lobbied the government on providing direct financial aid to the air transportation industry, ensuring PPE is available for our frontline workers, and for financial assistance for those who are no longer working.
We are also keeping an eye on developments, issuing notices, and providing resources for ourmembers.
Q8: I keep hearing conflicting information. Which sources of information can I trust?
A: Because the current situation caused by COVID-19 is very fluid, governments and organizations are taking action or making recommendations based on the latest information available. The IAMAW is keeping abreast of all developments that have the potential of impacting our members.
For up to date information, visit the following links:
We also recommend that you visit your Local Lodge websites.
Q9: I’m hearing about a wage subsidy program intended to help employers keep people
working. Will my employer take part in this?
A: It’s difficult to say which employers intend to apply for this program, however, we have taken the position that in cases where this benefits our members, we will ask employers to enroll in the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy program.
Please be aware that the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy program is only intended to cover 75% of the first $58,700 of a worker’s wages, which amounts to $847 per week. It is not intended to cover 75% of a worker’s full wages or salary.
If the employer you work for is enrolled in the emergency wage subsidy program and you are receiving a portion of your wages through this program, you will not be eligible for CERB.
Q10. I’m an Air Canada employee and the company will enroll in the wage subsidy soon.
Should I apply for CERB in the meantime?
A: It is acknowledged that some members of the IAMAW will find it more financially advantageous to remain on off-duty status under the current arrangements.
Members of the IAMAW will be provided with an option to remain in employment and receive wages under the CEWS program or to remain on off-duty status without pay, and apply for CERB.
Further details how members will choose between options still need to be finalized.
If you are unsure about the suitability of these programs in your particular circumstances, please contact your General Chairperson or Shop Committee.
In difficult times such as these, we must all stand together, support one another, build
solidarity and know we are stronger when united.
Please stay healthy and safe!
Fred Hospes, President & Directing General Chairperson
Transportation District 140, IAMAW