May 17, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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“Missed opportunity” for Air Canada

"Missed opportunity" for Air Canada

The air carrier can make “modifications after the language crisis”, but has silenced its standards for proficiency in the French language.

Posted at 7:00 p.m.

Julian Arsenal

Julian Arsenal
Press

Air Canada is asking its shareholders to accept its compensation methods without opening its game to its promise to its largest shareholder, the federal government: the French occupy space in the performance appraisal of its big boss, Michael Rousseau.

The document, which was intended to set the schedule for the largest air carrier annual meeting in the country, scheduled for March 28, made no mention of the commitments made by its president and chief executive officer and the company in Montreal. Official Languages ​​Act.

“After the language crisis of last fall, we missed the opportunity to make amendments,” said Franకోois Dauphin, director general of the Institute for the Governance of Private and Public Organizations (IGOPP).

A recent proxy circular sent to Air Canada shareholders also indicates that the Montreal-based company last year limited the compensation of its senior executives in line with the terms of the financial support granted by Ottawa.

If the bonuses are discontinued in 2021, they will return this year.

Controversial autumn

Air Canada has promised that mastery over the Moliere language will be part of Michael Rousseau’s performance evaluation criteria in the wake of its controversial appearance before the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM) on November 3.

He apologized and promised to learn French after the protest by accepting that he had been able to live peacefully in Quebec, where he has lived since 2007, without speaking French, the official language of the province.

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“It’s not just his personal commitment, it’s an integral part of his performance evaluation,” Air Canada Chairman Vaughan Sorensen wrote on November 8. In a letter to former finance minister Christiana Freeland.

She recalled that the federal government now owns 21.6 million Air Canada shares in the most critical miss made to Mr Sorensen. In this case, Mr.Me Freeland, in particular, requested that Mr. Rousseau’s mastery of the French language be “added to his main performance goals.”

And it remains to be seen how this will be described.

“The goals and actions were set at the beginning of the year,” Air Canada said in an email. Details for 2022 will be revealed in next year’s circular. ⁇

The resolution on the policy of compensation in Air Canada is not binding as it is vote advice. However shareholders can use the opportunity to send a message to the company when they do not agree.

Richard LeBlanc, an expert in governance, law and ethics at York University, believes this is a “missed opportunity” for a company based in Montreal. Official Languages ​​Act.

In terms of controversy and letter MMe Freeland, these details are amazing [concernant la maîtrise du français] Not in the circular.

Richard LeBlanc, expert in governance, law and ethics at York University

In his opinion, there should be no delay in explaining how Air Canada would like to respond to federal official language requests.

In a statement sent out Monday evening, Adrian Woopshas, ​​M spokeswomanMe Freeland noted that the Trudeau government “still believes” in the relevance of remarks made by the chairman of Air Canada’s board of directors in his November 8 missive.

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Maximum allowed

In 2021, when the airline recorded an operating loss of $ 3 billion, Michael Rousseau received a base salary of $ 500,000 and the equivalent of stock and option-based awards.

Under the approximately $ 6 billion aid package agreed with the federal government in April 2021, Air Canada failed to pay bonuses to its executives and had to limit their compensation to $ 1 million. Mr Russo, however, said his remuneration had reached 3.7 million, taking into account the 2.7 million variation in his pension plan – which was not created by government restrictions.

Although he retired in February 2021, he was entitled to $ 651,000 in lieu of “consulting services” provided by Air Canada’s former boss, Colin Rovins, to his former employer until the end of the year.

The salaries of Air Canada executives are expected to increase this year. The airline said it did not need help from Ottawa, except for a $ 1.4 billion credit facility to reimburse customers whose flights were canceled.

After a one-year break, the annual bonuses must be returned.

Learn more

  • 2500
    Record number of complaints received by the Office of the Official Languages ​​Commissioner after Michael Rousseau’s speech at the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal last November

    Source: Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages