Former Aveos workers win their battle against Air Canada
Aveos union members on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in 2012. The Superior Court rules that Air Canada violated federal law by not keeping its maintenance centers in operation.
Air Canada violated federal law by not keeping its aircraft maintenance centers in Montreal, Winnipeg and Mississauga operational when Aveos collapsed a decade ago, Supreme Court rules Quebec in a pithy judgment rendered Thursday in favor of thousands of former workers.
Air Canada has taken no reasonably serious steps to comply with the law at the following the closure of Aveos, writes judge Marie-Christine Hivon, who finds a continuous violation of the law between March 2012 and June 2016.
Nearly 2,200 former workers are affected by the outcome of this class action lawsuit. The vast majority of them were based in Montreal.
In a video message posted on his Facebook page shortly after the judgment was delivered, the union representative during the closure of the Aveos company, Jean Poirier, said he was very, very moved.
” We won! We won against Air Canada. We won the whole cause. David won against Goliath. A 14-year battle, folks. »
— Jean Poirier, union representative during the closing of the Aveos company
He asks the shareholders of Air Canada – who could appeal the judgment – to start on new bases and settle the case.
In her 154-page decision, Judge Marie-Christine Hivon condemns the air carrier to pay them compensation for loss of income and employment, as well as for the loss of social benefits.
Air Canada will also have to compensate them for the stress, questioning, loss of self-esteem, insecurity, feeling of injustice and loss of enjoyment of life. He will also have to pay the individual claims of those who have suffered additional moral damages such as psychological problems and insomnia, family problems, divorces and suicides.
However, Judge Hivon finds that the former employees of Aveos have not demonstrated that the failure of Aveos was caused by bad faith or the willful fault of Air Canada. It thus rejects the claim for punitive damages of $110 million.
In a written statement sent to The Canadian Press, Air Canada says it has always acted in good faith in this case, noting that the court concluded that the company did not cause the bankruptcy of Aveos and rejected the damages. punitive.
As to the possibility of appealing the judgment, the carrier says it will consider it before deciding on next steps.
Under the Air Canada Public Equity Act, the company had an obligation to maintain its hubs in Montreal, Winnipeg and Mississauga, a task that x27;it had subcontracted to Aveos, which went bankrupt in March 2012. The federal government changed the law in June 2016 to ease this obligation.
For the court, it is clear that the use of subcontracting did not release Air Canada from complying with its legal obligation when the subcontractor ceases its activities. és.
Similarly, the amendment to the law was not retroactive and did not have the effect of clarifying the meaning always had the law, contrary to what the company pleaded.