As Canadian flight attendants are required and willing to fly to help Canadian passengers, the Airline Division of CUPE is asking the federal government to enforce minimal health and safety standards on Canadian aircrafts to protect its 15,000 members.

“Our members are on the front lines of this global crisis, and the federal government must tell Canadian airlines that they need to do more to protect them, and fast,” said Julie Roberts, President of the Airline Division of CUPE.

At this point, the following minimal standards should be imposed:

  • Reducing physical contact between flight attendants and passengers and in-flight service items. is critical.
  • Non-essential in-flight service to passengers needs to be minimized. Flight attendants should only be interacting with passengers for urgent matters, like medical situations or security situations.
  • Increased availability of personal protective equipment, including medical grade gloves, long-sleeve isolation gowns, N95 masks, and face shields for every flight attendant.
  • Properly stock every flight with adequate disinfectant and potable water, and to properly disinfect every plane after every flight.
  • Airlines or airports or should have specially trained personnel assigned to do the pre-flight screening of passengers for COVID-19 symptoms.

“The situation is evolving quickly and other health and safety measures might need to be taken shortly to protect passengers and crew on board Canadian airlines,” said Julie Roberts.

The Airline Division and its members can count on the full support of CUPE.

“Flight attendants are getting Canadians safely back from abroad, and where they need to be to keep our country going. The federal government must act now to protect their health. Waiting is not an option,” said CUPE National President Mark Hancock.

“In a public crisis of this scale, the health and safety of flight attendants is paramount. They run the risk of getting sick by flying to help others. The federal government has the obligation to protect them by implementing these measures now,” said CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury.

CUPE’s Airline Division has more than 15, 000 flight attendants in its ranks. They work at Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge, Air Transat, Sunwing, CALM Air, Canadian North, WestJet, WestJet Encore, Flair Air, Swoop, Cathay Pacific et First Air, Air Georgian and PAL Airlines.