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AC pilots challenge federal legislation in court

Air Canada’s pilots are asking the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to rule that federal legislation passed last week, forcing them to fly and accept a contract imposed through arbitration, contravenes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Captain Paul Strachan, president of the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) said: “Our pilots are professionals with the freedom to associate and bargain collectively under the Canada Labour Code. The Harper government’s bill clearly violates their rights and should be struck down by the courts.” In its application to the court, ACPA also argues that the legislation forcing them to fly conflicts with their legal obligations under the Canadian Aviation Regulations, which prohibit pilots from flying if they have any reason to believe they are unfit to properly perform their duties. Captain Strachan stated: “All professional pilots have a moral, legal and ethical responsibility to assess their own fitness for duty before taking control of an airplane containing hundreds of passengers, all depending upon the pilots for their safety.” And he continued: “The legislation attempts to override that responsibility and compel pilots to fly by threatening them with fines of up to $1,000 if they do not report for duty. This is not only a legal issue, but also a public safety issue that should concern all passengers.” ACPA is asking the court to declare the legislation unconstitutional and order that any contract imposed under arbitration is null and void. The complete application to the court is available at www.acpa.ca . “We are confident that the rights afforded to all Canadians under the Charter will be upheld and the court will restore fundamental justice,” Captain Strachan said.

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