May 20, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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Bonus paid by Air Canada | Let the NDP go

Bonus paid by Air Canada |  Let the NDP go

(Ottawa) The NDP is not giving up on the issue of bonuses paid to Air Canada executives.

Joel-Denis BellavensJoel-Denis Bellavens

Despite senior Air Canada officials announcing Sunday night that they were giving up their bonuses, the NDP is calling on the Trudeau government to tighten the screws so that all executives do not qualify.

NDP MPs Peter Julian and Alexander Bouleriz wrote in a letter to Finance Minister Christiaan Freeland that the Trudeau government should impose tough conditions on senior management emotions in advance.

Photo by Sean Kilpatrick, archives of the Canadian Press

Peter Julian

On Sunday, Air Canada announced that its senior executives had decided to withdraw their controversial bonuses in 2020.

“The current General Vice Presidents and the President and CEO of Air Canada have chosen to voluntarily surrender their 2020 bonus and stock appreciation rights,” the airline said in a statement. In addition, Colin Rovins, former President and CEO of Air Canada, “will return his bonus value and his stock appreciation rights for 2020 to the Air Canada Foundation.”

But this statement did not mention the other members of the management, whose total bonus was more than $ 8 million in the $ 10 million bonus program.

“Special bonus.” […] The approval of the Board of Directors to the officers of Air Canada is not entirely acceptable. You are directly responsible for this situation and it is your duty to demand a full refund of these bonuses, ”the elected New Democrats confirmed in their letter.

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They said the government could have avoided such a controversy by launching a wage subsidy program for companies and not paying any amount as a bonus to the top executives of the companies.

“We have made it clear to your government that the payment of the Emergency Wage Subsidy (SSUC) will only serve to protect workers’ jobs and wages and will be subject to strict conditions, especially by prohibiting wage increases. Executive salaries, share purchase and distribution of dividends to shareholders.”

“Despite our repeated requests, your wage subsidy program is riddled with loopholes that could harm honest leaders and workers. Air Canada has taken advantage of the wage subsidy by laying off thousands of workers. ”They argued.

Air Canada emphasizes that “every taxpayer has no funds from the dollar and sector financial support” set up by the federal government to finance bonuses intended for Air Canada employees or Air Canada officials.

In early 2020, senior executives and 3,200 managers voluntarily agreed to deduct a total of $ 11.5 million from their base salary. The company said the decline could be offset by stock appreciation rights.

But the NDP was of the opinion that Air Canada should be called upon to order.

“Your government approval attitude is directly responsible for what is happening at this time. If you stipulate from the outset that the ban on paying bonuses to executives will result in an emergency wage rebate, you can prevent the misuse of public funds. Profitable companies and leaders need to pay back their salaries, ”Mr Julian and Bouleris confirmed in a letter to the minister.

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“If Air Canada officials take advantage of these loopholes, it is your responsibility to close them by demanding a refund of these bonuses.”

With the Canadian Press