Senior Air Canada officials announced Sunday that they were waiving their bonuses after they caused controversy in Ottawa, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau describing the bonuses as “unacceptable”.
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“The General Vice Presidents and the current President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada have chosen to voluntarily return their bonuses and their rights to the praise of the 2020 stock,” the airline said in a statement.
The carrier’s 900 employees were given a total of about 10 million in bonuses, of which over 8 million were given to middle managers. The airline said it had handed over a portion to Colin Rovines, a former chief executive officer who left Air Canada in February.
The latter agreed to waive the amount and donate its value to the Air Canada Foundation.
“I donate all my bonuses and entitlements to the 2020 share capital gain in the Air Canada Foundation in support of my confusion, misinformation and frustration of the public with these compensation programs. I know these funds will come in handy during these difficult times,” he told Mr Rovins.
The airline also argues that “funds from the single taxpayer dollar and Canadian public sector financial assistance will not be used to finance bonuses intended for Air Canada’s employees or managers.”
Deputy Prime Minister Christiana Freeland and Transport Minister Omar Alghabra welcomed the move.
“Although Air Canada has been able to avoid this situation completely, we recognize that this is a step in the right direction on behalf of the five senior executives in terms of bonus and reimbursement units.
“Canadians are right to expect companies to act responsibly when receiving financial assistance from the government during an epidemic – especially when it comes to executive compensation,” they said.
Senior executives and nearly 3,200 managers also agreed to a total of 5 11.5 million reductions in their base salary. According to Air Canada, a decline that can be offset by stock appreciation rights.
Recall that the Black Cubacois passed a House of Commons meeting on Thursday to denounce the bonuses given when the company faced major difficulties in halting air traffic during the COVID-19 epidemic.