ARCHIVED – Operational Bulletin 313 - June 15, 2011

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Instructions on the entry of foreign airline personnel in response to the strike by certain Air Canada employees (Modified)

This Operational Bulletin has expired.

Update

On Friday, June 10, 2011, the Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW), representing Air Canada’s sales agents and customer service employees, issued a 72-hour notice to strike to Air Canada. As of June 13, 2011, 11:59 p.m., the CAW is in a legal position to strike. According to the Air Canada website, over 22,000 employees remain on duty, with 1,700 able to provide services to customers at nine Canadian airports (Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto Pearson, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and St. John’s).

Summary

Due to the threat of a strike by Air Canada workers, CIC has prepared the following guidelines for officers on entry requirements for foreign workers seeking to perform duties normally performed by Air Canada employees during the labour dispute.

Issue

The purpose of this Operational Bulletin (OB) is to provide information to officers for determining whether to issue a work permit to foreign airline personnel seeking entry to perform work normally performed by Air Canada employees.

Background

Members of the Canadian Auto Workers Union, which represents Air Canada’s sales agents and customer service employees, have served a 72-hour notice to strike on June 10, 2011, which came into effect on June 13, 2011, at 11:59 p.m. The strike affects approximately 3,800 employees working in call centres and airports across Canada. According to the Air Canada website, over 22,000 employees remain on duty, with 1,700 able to provide services to customers at nine Canadian airports (Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto Pearson, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and St. John’s).

Together with CAW, the leadership of the bargaining units for the Air Canada component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents 6,800 flight attendants, and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), which represents mechanics, baggage and cargo handlers and warehouse staff, have recently issued a joint statement to demonstrate their commitment to, and active solidarity towards preserving the current pension model. In addition, the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) also recently rejected a tentative agreement with their employer and there is the possibility that they may walk-off the job. The CUPE and the IAMAW reminded its members to advise their manager if they feel that their personal safety is at risk while attempting to cross any picket line. That being said, the IAMAW has strongly encouraged its members to support the CAW by volunteering their time to assist the CAW with picketing or other strike activities.

Through contractual agreements, Air Canada employees perform various services for other air carriers in Canada, including airport counter service, aircraft maintenance and baggage handling. As a part of their individual contingency planning and in order to avoid a disruption of services, various carriers wish to send employees to Canada to replace workers who may be on strike or who otherwise may not be performing their regular duties as a result of strike activity.

Instructions

Pursuant to section 200(3)(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR):

(3) An officer shall not issue a work permit to a foreign national if:

(c) the specific work that the foreign national intends to perform is likely to adversely affect the settlement of any labour dispute in progress or the employment of any person involved in the dispute, unless all or almost all of the workers involved in the labour dispute are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents and the hiring of workers to replace the workers involved in the labour dispute is not prohibited by the Canadian law applicable in the province where the workers involved in the labour dispute are employed;

To date, only members of the CAW (sales agents and customer service employees) are on strike and considered to be in a “labour dispute” with Air Canada.

Officers should obtain all relevant facts at the time that the work permit application comes before them to determine whether it would be possible to issue a work permit under the circumstances to other categories of aircraft personnel, such as aircraft maintenance and baggage handlers, for work usually performed by Air Canada personnel on behalf of another air carrier.

The CBSA will be advising its Regions to contact the CBSA Port of Entry (POE) Operations Division in the event that questions, concerns or cases surface. Using existing procedures, CIC officers (in Canada and overseas) will advise Case Management Branch of any application for a work permit by individuals intending to work as a replacement worker for any airline company in Canada in response to the Air Canada strike activity.

As always, officers are reminded: i) that all other applicable criteria must be met; ii) that it is the applicant’s onus/responsibility to satisfy the officer that those criteria have been met; and iii) decisions must be made based on the specific facts and circumstances of each application.

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