Victory for former Aveos employees against Air Canada
Ten years after Aveos closed its doors, the 2198 employees in Montreal, Winnipeg and Mississauga who lost their jobs can finally claim victory. In a judgment rendered this morning, Justice Marie-Christine Hivon of the Quebec Superior Court agreed with their arguments and ordered Air Canada to compensate them for the damage they suffered.
Gilbert McMullen, the representative of the class members, was pleased with the decision:
“The judge recognized that Air Canada violated the law for several years after the closure of Aveos, allowing it to make colossal savings on the backs of workers. Today, justice has been served for these thousands of employees.”
The judgment orders Air Canada to pay compensation to the former employees for both pecuniary loss (i.e., loss of income and pension plan) and non-pecuniary loss (i.e., stress, anxiety, frustration, loss of self-esteem, insomnia, divorce, suicide attempts, etc.). Spouses of employees can also be compensated.
Although it is difficult at this time to estimate the total amount that Air Canada will have to pay as a result of the members’ claims, the lawyers of the representative estimate that it will be in the tens of millions of dollars.
A long legal saga
The class action was authorized by Justice Jean-François Michaud in May 2018. It includes all workers who were employed in Air Canada’s Montreal, Winnipeg and Mississauga overhaul and maintenance centers when Aveos closed on March 18, 2012, as well as their spouses, heirs and beneficiaries. The plaintiff alleged that Air Canada violated the Air Canada Public Participation Act. Until it was amended by Parliament in June 2016, this act required Air Canada to maintain overhaul and maintenance centers in the cities of Winnipeg, Mississauga and the Montreal Urban Community.
Claims process to come
A claims process will be submitted to the court in order for class members to claim compensation. In the meantime, lawyers for the class members invite former employees to join the mailing list to be kept informed of important developments, including the claims process once it has been approved by the court.