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Aveos former employees who were laid off following the company’s insolvency have taken an important step in their quest for justice. In a judgment dated May 15th, 2018, Justice Jean-François Michaud of the Quebec Superior Court authorized a national class action filed against Air Canada on their behalf.
The class action seeks compensation for several thousand persons, namely workers who were employed at Air Canada’s overhaul and maintenance centres in Montreal, Winnipeg and Mississauga when Aveos closed on March 18th, 2012, as well as the spouses, heirs and assigns of these workers.
The class members’ representative, Mr Gilbert McMullen, alleges a violation of the Air Canada Public Participation Act. Until amended by Parliament in June of 2016, this Act required Air Canada to operate maintenance and overhaul centres in Winnipeg, Mississauga and in the Montreal Urban Community. The Superior Court and five judges of the Quebec Court of Appeal unanimously concluded that Air Canada had indeed contravened this Act. The class action also alleges that Air Canada acted in bad faith, including by deliberately provoking the collapse of Aveos, an issue that may give rise to punitive damages.
Justice Michaud wrote: “The Court considers that Mr McMullen has demonstrated a serious colour of right (…). The allegations of violation of the Act are supported by the chronology of events and reveal that Air Canada has significantly reduced maintenance and overhaul activities at the Centers. These facts were found by Castonguay J. and the Court of Appeal.”
While it is difficult at this time to assess the amount that Air Canada may be required to pay, the plaintiff’s attorneys estimate that it could reach more than $100 million.
For more information on the action, to get a copy of the judgment or to register to our mailing list, see the dedicated web page.