They are demanding compensation for amounts owed at the time of bankruptcy
In a decision issued in mid-November, the Quebec Court of Appeal concluded that the former administrators of Inter-Canadian must compensate their former employees for the amounts owed to them for work performed for the defunct regional carrier.
After years of waiting, this is good news for the former Inter-Canadian flight attendants affiliated with CUPE, who are among the employees affected by the decision. Associated with Canadian Airlines, Inter-Canadian served Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes.
The highest court in Quebec overturned the 2005 Court of Quebec decision that the former directors of Inter-Canadian (Robert Myhill, Michael Cochrane and Jay Lilge) were not liable because, technically, they were no longer considered administrators of the company when it went bankrupt in March 2000. The Court of Appeal ruled instead that the three administrators had tried to evade their obligations by adopting a shareholders’ agreement depraving them of their powers, whereas they actuallty remained at the helm of Inter-Canadian.
As such, the judges of the Court of Appeal emphasized that administrators Myhill, Cochrane and Lilge had “an obligation to ensure that wages and other debts related to services rendered by employees while they are in office be adequately covered”.
The Court of Appeal noted that rather than taking specific actions to protect the interests of their employees, the administrators chose instead to “divert to a foreign jurisdiction large sums accruing to Inter, for their personal gain”.
The Court of Appeal referred the case to the Court of Quebec, which will now determine the amounts to be paid by the former administrators of Inter-Canadian to their former employees.
Finally, the Court of Appeal ruled that the former employees are entitled to recover unpaid amounts (back wages, wageincreases, overtime, expenses, vacation days, statutory holidays, sick leave credits, employer’s pension fund contributions, deductions for the purchase of savings bonds), up to the equivalent of six months’ gross salary. The interest on these amounts also must be paid.
In addition to the former flight attendants affiliated with CUPE, former Inter-Canadian machinists and pilots will also benefit from this favourable decision. In all, nearly 600 employees are claiming compensation amounting to several million dollars.