Flight attendants’ pay equity case clears major hurdle

Federal Court of Appeal rules pay equity case against Air Canada can proceed as court redefines ‘establishment’
By Todd Humber
|Canadian Employment Law Today

Flight attendants at Air Canada have cleared a major hurdle on the road to pay equity with pilots and technicians and have won the right to have their case heard before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

The Federal Court of Appeal overturned an earlier Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision and a Federal Court trial division decision that said the flight attendants — who are predominantly female — can’t have their wages determined by comparing them to pilots and technicians, who are mostly male.

The earlier decisions had quashed attempts to get similar pay because the attendants were “not in the same establishment” as the pilots and technicians. But the Court of Appeal ruled Air Canada treats the three employee groups as part of a single, integrated business regardless of the varying collective agreements and therefore all those employees are part of the same “establishment” as defined in section 10 of the