Reforms Will Help Ensure Canadian Airline Pilots Benefit from Available Aviation Job Opportunities
OTTAWA—The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) today hailed the Canadian government’s recent announcement that it is overhauling the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). On Friday, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) Minister Jason Kenney and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Minister Chris Alexander released their report, “Overhauling the Temporary Foreign Worker Program: Putting Canadians First,” detailing comprehensive reforms to the program. These changes include eliminating unnecessary and discriminatory pilot-hiring practices and requiring that companies seeking to hire foreign pilots submit a plan to transition to a Canadian workforce.
“By making these sweeping reforms, the Canadian government has demonstrated its commitment to restoring the TFWP to its original stated purpose: ‘as a last and limited resource for employers when there are no qualified Canadians to fill available jobs,’” said Capt. Dan Adamus, president of ALPA’s Canada Board. “ALPA commends the ESDC and CIC for helping ensure that Canadian pilots benefit from Canadian aviation opportunities.”
For years, ALPA has aggressively led efforts to tighten the rules governing the program under which Canadian airlines are able to augment their crews with foreign pilots on a seasonal basis. Most recently, ALPA has been fully engaged in ESDC’s extensive review of the program, which culminated in the report. As one of the main stakeholders from government, labour, and industry, ALPA has actively participated in the review to ensure Canadian pilots’ interests are considered in reforms to this and other programs under which foreign pilots are hired.
The TFWP changes for airlines go into effect on July 1, 2014, and now eliminate an employer-created requirement that pilot applicants be type-rated (i.e., trained) on a specific type of aircraft before they are hired. “ALPA has long advocated for this change because the type-rating requirement effectively disqualified most otherwise qualified candidates, and enabled those airlines to save on training costs, thus giving them an unfair economic advantage,” Capt. Adamus explained.
Among the other key changes welcomed by ALPA, airlines seeking to hire foreign pilots must now submit a transition plan documenting their efforts and commitment to increase the number of Canadian pilots they hire. They also must meet a number of advertising requirements and submit a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application a minimum of three months before the first day of work. The LMIA replaces the Labour Market Opinion as a more rigorous screening mechanism for employers seeking to hire temporary foreign workers. In addition, the costs for administering the TFWP will be borne entirely by employers who use the program. As a result, airlines will have to pay a $1,000 LMIA fee for every temporary foreign pilot position they request in their application.
While the TFWP reforms mark significant progress in ALPA’s efforts to safeguard our members’ jobs, Capt. Adamus emphasized, “We will continue to work to bring well-trained, highly qualified Canadian pilots, who are currently unemployed, back into the cockpit.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world, representing over 51,000 pilots at 31 U.S. and Canadian airlines, including the 2,700 Canadian flightcrew members who fly for Air Transat, Bearskin, Calm Air, Canadian North, CanJet, First Air, Jazz Aviation, Kelowna Flightcraft, and Wasaya. Visit the ALPA website at