Published January 20, 2023 at 8:00 AM EST


Sunwing Airlines didn't have enough pilots to fly presold flights over the holiday season.

Sunwing Airlines Labor market impact assessment (LMIA) on December 9 as a major factor in widespread disruption to passengers during the holiday season.

At a recent meeting of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, airline representatives said they had received more than 7,000 complaints from passengers seeking compensation and reimbursement of related costs.

The airline canceled 67 flights between December 15th and 31st. This was due to the unusual winter weather, but staff shortages also played a big role.

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Passengers from Saskatchewan were particularly hard hit when Sunwing canceled all flights to and from Regina and Saskatoon on December 29. Sunwing Airlines was unable to secure enough pilots to serve these airports after its foreign worker application was rejected.

According to Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union representing more than 16,000 aviation employees, Sunwing hired 63 pilots through the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) in October to help them work during the busy winter season. I was planning to fly a plane.

The unions strongly opposed Sunwing getting the positive or neutral result it needed. October 14, 2022, uniform sent a letter to the director of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), the union said it did not believe Sunwing could provide sufficient evidence that it had run out of investigations to hire full-time workers who were qualified or could be qualified. They said Sunwing had not proven that they could fill the positions or lack trained Canadian pilots to fill them, and that the airlines were looking hard enough. Said there wasn’t.

What are LMIAs?

The LMIA is a document that Canadian businesses or employers must complete as part of their application. hire temporary workers from overseas. The document outlines why companies urgently need workers, the efforts they have made to hire Canadians or permanent residents instead, and the impact of hiring foreign workers on the Canadian workforce. Employers must demonstrate that there are not enough Canadians or permanent residents with sufficient skills, training, or work experience to fill the position.

This document will be sent to the ESDC to determine whether the introduction of TFW will have a positive, neutral or negative impact on the Canadian workforce. Companies can proceed with hiring foreign workers if the LMIA is deemed positive or neutral.

Why was my LMIA rejected?

Advertising requirements

According to a letter from Unifor, Sunwing failed to comply with advertising requirements and thus did not meet the positive LMIA eligibility requirements. According to the company, on Oct. 3 and he searched Canada Jobbank on Oct. 6, he found that the company did not advertise open vacancies in the Canadian government jobbank.

To qualify for the LMIA, employers typically must post their vacancies on jobbank.ca and make them accessible to all Canadians for a minimum of four weeks. Also, at least he must be able to prove that he used two other recruitment methods. Some employers are completely exempt from advertising requirements.

Union says there is no shortage of qualified pilots in Canada

Additionally, Unifor said Sunwing is looking to hire pilots through TFWP due to a shortage of manufactured labor. The union said pilots had reduced their monthly flying hours during the pandemic and had not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels.

He also said it was unlikely there would be a shortage of pilots who could meet the job requirements needed.

TFW wage rates would have been higher than union pilots

Unifor claimed that Sunwing was willing to pay TFW a higher rate than Canadian pilots under the collective bargaining agreement. They said an advertisement obtained through SmartWings indicated that the captain would be offered a fixed amount of US$9,500 per month and US$5,000 per month in cash. That’s more money than the highest-paid captain makes, despite having less experience, under the union’s collective bargaining agreement.

Additionally, for unionized positions using TWFP, employers must:

  • Advertise and offer the same wage rates established under collective bargaining agreements.
  • We offer TFW the same conditions as Canadian and Permanent Resident workers.
  • We encourage employers to actively work with union representatives to recruit Canadians and permanent residents.

Sunwing has disputed union claims that the airline wanted to hire TFW as a cheaper alternative to domestic pilots.

“The claim by Unifor Local 7378 that Sunwing Airlines plans to hire seasonal foreign pilots as a ‘cheap alternative’ to hiring Canadian pilots is simply not true,” said Len, president of Sunwing. Corrado said. canadian press in November.

Sunwing is an airline and tour group that typically specializes in southern destinations and reduces service during the warmer months due to lower demand in the summer. Corrado said hiring pilots as TFWs for the holidays would allow airlines to have enough manpower for the winter months.

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