TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 04/30/13 -- The Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) today welcomed the federal government's reform of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which the Association has been advocating for several years.
ACPA President Captain Craig Blandford applauded the changes in a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper:
"While we understand that this program may have been useful in other sectors of the Canadian economy, there is no doubt that it has been abused in the aviation industry. In our highly competitive global business, which has been subject to dramatic economic swings and nearly constant restructuring, many highly qualified and licensed Canadian pilots have become unemployed or been forced to leave the country to find work. This has resulted in the de-capitalization of Canadian aviation, through the loss of this investment in their many years of training and experience.
"The Temporary Foreign Worker Program cannot and should not be used by airlines as an ongoing subsidy from government used to gain a commercial advantage over their competitors through the avoidance of training costs. These operators must be required to make more extensive efforts to hire Canadians before they bring in foreign-licensed pilots.
"It is essential that Canadian companies be required to invest more in the skills and training of Canadian pilots. Type-rating training costs should not be used as an excuse to exclude otherwise qualified Canadian pilots. Air Canada constantly invests in the skills of its pilots as they advance through their careers and operate increasingly larger and more complex aircraft. This investment not only creates a talented professional workforce able to meet the challenge of global competition, but also make our airline one of the safest operations in the world."
Captain Blandford also suggested that Canada should explore the creation of a reciprocal program with a major trading partner to allow better labour market mobility for professional airline pilots. He offered ACPA's support for such an effort and committed to participating in the consultation process announced by the government.
Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) is the largest professional pilot group in Canada, representing the more than 3,000 pilots who operate Air Canada's mainline fleet.
Air Canada Pilots Association
Director of Communications
905-678-9008 ext. 4011
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