IFAD ImageOn International Flight Attendant Day, Canada’s flight attendant union is calling on the federal government to come forward with a plan to safely reopen the industry, which has been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Workers deserve to hear how and when the Trudeau government will help our battered industry rebound,” said Wesley Lesosky, President of CUPE’s Airline Division, which represents 15,000 flight attendants at nine Canadian airlines. The majority of CUPE’s members in the airline industry have been laid off since the pandemic grounded most flights in March 2020.

For its part, CUPE believes COVID-19 safety protocols, including provision of PPE, adherence to ventilation controls, and mandatory masking for passengers and crew should continue until all cabin crew have had the opportunity to be fully immunized, and until senior public health officials declare the pandemic is over.

CUPE continues to support pre-boarding rapid testing as one of the best ways to create a safe cabin environment for crew and passengers. However, research and real-world evidence clearly show that pre-boarding temperature screening is ineffective at detecting COVID-19 positive cases, and should be abandoned.

“We acknowledge the rules and public health concerns vary from province to province,” added Lesosky. “That’s why we’re calling on the federal government to show leadership and begin charting a path alongside other levels of government, in order to begin safely reconnecting our communities and bringing back good jobs in this industry.”