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Old 03-20-2010, 09:10 PM   #1  
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Default Air Canada Stands By Pilot

From Associated Press:

TORONTO
Air Canada is standing by a pilot whose co-workers refused to fly with him, fearing he was suicidal and accusing him of threatening to ditch his aircraft in the Atlantic Ocean.

The airline insisted this week that a dispute between the unnamed pilot and chief steward Hugh Bouchard aboard a Toronto-Paris flight in July 2008 amounted to nothing more than a minor conflict between staff and a healthy, competent pilot.

Public safety was never compromised but the dispute went to Federal Court.
I
n court documents Bouchard said the pilot threatened to ditch the plane over the Atlantic, saying "he had nothing to lose as he was being fired anyway."

Airline spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said Thursday that the incident was investigated at the time, and the ensuing report made no reference to the pilot making a threat to ditch the plane.

However, the report did reflect Bouchard's claim the pilot had said: "If I lose my job, I have nothing to lose."

"This was not a depressed person speaking," Fitzpatrick said. "It was said in the midst of a personnel dispute, and you can easily imagine many scenarios where someone might use this very common phrase, which has many meanings."

An investigation at the time turned up no safety issues with the pilot, who is still flying for Air Canada, Fitzpatrick said.

Still, a month after that flight, four other flight attendants adamantly refused to set foot on a plane headed for Paris captained by the same pilot, based on Bouchard's concerns.

That forced Air Canada to scramble a reassembled support crew onto the flight.

An independent federal safety officer was brought in to probe the work stoppage.

The safety officer talked to the flight attendants, union representatives, managers and others who knew the pilot, and found only the attendants had any concerns about him.

The officer then chalked up the incident to a normal workplace dispute, and decided the attendants had no right to refuse to work.

As a result, she decided there was no need to investigate whether the pilot's mental state did in fact pose any danger.

Air Canada, which took the view that conflicts can arise at any time and the attendants should have used the carrier's resolution process, agreed the pilot posed no threat.

However, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents the attendants, challenged her findings in Federal Court.

Judge John O'Keefe sided with the union.

O'Keefe found the investigator was wrong to conclude the conflict between pilot and steward was a "normal condition" of employment.
Instead, O'Keefe ruled this month, the investigator should have first decided whether the pilot's alleged mental state did in fact constitute a danger that justified the attendants' refusal to work.

Air Canada said it was not planning an appeal and no disciplinary action was ever taken.
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Old 03-20-2010, 09:51 PM   #2  
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Imagine that. Two different sides with two different stories with two different people coming to two different opinions (is it EVER really a finding of fact?) about a SINGLE event.

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Old 03-23-2010, 11:34 AM   #3  
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Sounds like every other dispute gone to far. Any word on if AC pilots will get the right to fly to age 65 soon?
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Old 03-24-2010, 06:28 PM   #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingAirPIC View Post
Sounds like every other dispute gone to far. Any word on if AC pilots will get the right to fly to age 65 soon?
It's currently working it's way through the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal...
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Old 03-25-2010, 05:46 PM   #5  
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I thought that had been settled last year. Did the two pilots appeal then?

The ICAO and FAA ruling regarding two pilots over 60 flying together, or in the case of the ruling not flying together, would have put this whole thing to bed I would have thought.
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Old 03-25-2010, 05:59 PM   #6  
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Originally Posted by KoruPilot View Post
I thought that had been settled last year. Did the two pilots appeal then?

The ICAO and FAA ruling regarding two pilots over 60 flying together, or in the case of the ruling not flying together, would have put this whole thing to bed I would have thought.
Excerpted from the "Fly Past 60" website:
FlyPast60 Index Page

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal issued a decision in August, 2007 that was overturned by the Federal Court by way of judicial review on April 9th of this year.
The court disagreed with the Tribunal on several grounds and quashed the portion of the decision related to the interpretation of Section 15(1) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Specifically, the Court stated that Section 15(1)(c) of the Canadian Human Rights Act violates Section 15(1) of the Charter.
Consequently, the case was referred back to the Tribunal for completion on the two portions of the decision not addressed by the Tribunal in its original decision, namely, whether the violation by Section 15(1)(c) of the CHRA of Section 15(1) of the Charter is saved by Section 1 of the Charter ("reasonably demonstrated as prescribed by law in a free and democratic society"), and whether if it is saved, the collective agreement provision for mandatory retirement might be justified under the provisions of Section 15(1)(a) of the CHRA, namely, bona fide occupational requirement.
The Tribunal originally advised the parties that it would render its subsequent decision by mid-June, but it is now late August and we are still waiting for the decision.
Regardless of the outcome of the subsequent Vilven-Kelly decision of the Tribunal, the Tribunal will proceed with the hearing of all the subsequent Complainants. Originally the subsequent hearing was scheduled to commence July 20th, but by reason of the delay of the Tribunals second Vilven-Kelly decision, that hearing has now been set to commence on October 5th. The Tribunal has allocated two weeks for that hearing, commencing July 20th, 2009. There are currently 69 additional Air Canada pilot complainants, with over 120 complaints (against both Air Canada and the Air Canada Pilots Association).
Although it is highly unlikely that all of these cases can be completely heard in the two weeks alloted, the parties have agreed to bifurcate the proceedings into two parts: liability (and potentially, the remedy of reinstatement, if liability is found), and monetary damages.
It is expected that the hearing will center almost exclusively on legal argument. Most of the facts relevant to the evidence of the complainants will likely be submitted by way of an agreed statement of facts.
Neither Air Canada nor ACPA has yet to complete the procedural requirements for this hearing, as both are waiting for the rendering of the subsequent Tribunal decision in Vilven-Kelly, prior to submitting their "Statements of Particulars," that outline their proposed legal argument and the evidence that each intends to adduce, if any, in support of those arguments.
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