Canadian ALPA Pilot Leaders Convene for Biennial Group C Caucus Meeting

On October 2, Canadian ALPA pilot leaders convened in Ottawa, Ontario, for the biennial meeting of ALPA’s Group C Caucus. The Canada Board hosted the more than 50 pilot group leaders representing 2,800 Canadian ALPA flightcrew members who fly for nine Canadian carriers. During the meeting, local council reps, MEC officers, Canada Board officers, and ALPA staff networked, shared information about issues of mutual concern, and discussed the Association’s strategic priorities in Canada.

The group kicked off the day with a tour of the facility where law enforcement officers in the Canadian Air Carrier Protective Program (CACPP) go through rigorous training to become highly specialized in-flight security officers (IFSOs) who protect crews, passengers, and aircraft from “curb to cabin.” During the tour, the ALPA group received an overview of the program and participated in several live IFSO training demonstrations. The CACPP was established by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in partnership with Transport Canada and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) in the aftermath of 9/11 to ensure “the protection of Canadians and Canadian interests at home and abroad.” ALPA continues to work with the RCMP, Transport Canada, and CATSA to enhance civil aviation security.

The meeting opened with reports from the Canada Board officers. Capt. Dan Adamus (JAZ), Canada Board president, updated the group on top priorities the Board—working with ALPA staff and a cache of well-trained pilot volunteers—continues to advance, including foreign pilots operating in Canada, flight time/duty time, jumpseat access, and user fees and taxes. He also reported on pending legislation and the Canadian Labour Congress with which ALPA has long been affiliated. Capt. Brad Small (TSC), vice president, gave an overview of ALPA’s Air Safety Organization and the ongoing efforts in Canada in the areas of aviation safety, security, and pilot assistance. He also briefed attendees on the Air Safety Forum held by ALPA in July and the IFALPA Annual Conference held in April. Capt. Georges Dawood (JAZ), secretary-treasurer, reported that the Canada Board is on track to finish the year in the black. He also discussed the recent Board of Insurance Trustees Committee meeting, emphasized the value of the benefits provided by the committee to Canadian ALPA members, and encouraged greater member participation in these programs.

The full agenda also included a panel discussion, “Government Affairs: How to Best Affect Change,” which was moderated by Al Ogilvie, ALPA Legal & Government Affairs representative. The panelists—Phil Benson, lobbyist for Teamsters Canada; Stephanie Machel, former chief of staff to several Cabinet ministers; Michael Robbins, director of ALPA’s Government Affairs Department; and Derek Vanstone, Air Canada vice president, corporate strategy, industry and government affairs—shared their perspectives on political advocacy. They also gave candid advice for building relationships with members of Parliament, Cabinet ministers, and their staffs, as well other government officials to advance the Association’s legislative goals.

Attendees then broke into seven groups to discuss a broad range of issues of importance to Canadian pilots. Each team developed a five-minute pitch to government, outlining their concerns related to the issue and their recommendations for change. Using the panelists’ tips, the teams made their pitches to Ogilvie and Robbins, who played the roles of minister and chief of staff. The lobbying exercise was very successful—participants engaged in lively discussions and presented their cases with solid facts, statistics, and sound proposals—and will serve as the basis for ALPA to expand its pilot partisan advocacy initiatives in Canada.

The Group C Caucus meeting closed with dinner at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. In opening remarks, Capt. Adamus recognized Transport Minister Lisa Raitt’s chief of staff and senior communications advisor and several other invited guests who joined the group. He also recognized two ALPA volunteers who were in attendance—Capt. Ray Gelinas (JAZ) and retired Capt. Nick Rapagna (TSC)—for their dedicated service to the Association and the advancement of the piloting profession.