COVID-19 Letter to Aviation Industry - Essential Services

330 Sparks Street
Place de Ville
Ottawa, ON K1A 0N8

March 30, 2020

Dear aviation industry,

As you may be aware, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has asked that Canadians avoid non-essential travel outside Canada and that any traveler (Canadian or non-Canadian) arriving in Canada undertake 14 days of self-isolation, with the notable exceptions for workers who are essential to the movement of goods and people.

The exceptions include travel associated with the movement of healthy workers in the trades and transportation sector such as flight crews, truck drivers, railroaders, mariners, or the movement of other healthy workers across our border to go to work, which would include health care providers and critical infrastructure workers. These workers are also asked to closely self-monitor, and self-isolate immediately should they exhibit any symptoms. It is recommended that employers in these sectors conduct active daily monitoring of their staff for COVID-19 symptoms.

On 17 March 2020, Transport Canada (TC) also issued Civil Aviation Safety Alert 2020-03 (https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/aviation/reference-centre/safety-alerts.html), which provides additional and specific guidance for crew members of passenger and cargo flights, and private and commercial air operators.

Transportation workers are deemed essential in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic (https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices/221). The functions these workers carry out are critical in assisting provinces, territories, Indigenous communities, and municipalities to protect their communities, while also maintaining the reliable operation of critical infrastructure services and functions to ensure the health, safety, and economic well-being of the population.

Specifically, for the aviation sector, TC has identified essential employees in the context of the COVID-19 to allow for the continued safe and essential movement of goods, services, aircraft, people, including in the repatriation of Canadians abroad and with jurisdictions across Canada.

Essential transportation workers are defined as workers supporting or enabling transportation functions. More specifically, these essential employees are identified as persons:

  • who do not exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19, such as coughing, fever or difficulty breathing;
  • who have not travelled internationally within the last 14 days (unless for travel as part of their duties e.g., pilots, cabin crew, aircraft maintenance engineers, cargo handlers);
  • who have not been in close contact with any person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19; and,
  • who are exempt from recommendations or requirement for self-isolation where they might otherwise be applicable

I would like to reiterate that, it is recommended that employers in the transportation sector conduct active daily monitoring of their staff for any of the COVID-19 symptoms noted and that these essential aviation workers are asked to closely self-monitor, and self-isolate immediately should they exhibit any symptoms. As employers, you must be aware of the measures implemented in various jurisdictions where your employees may operate to mitigate the spread of the virus. It is your responsibility to minimize health risks to employees. The health of passengers are closely linked to the health of employees.

As you are well aware, air transport and its workforce are an important component of Canada’s overall transportation system and continuity of civil aviation in Canada. A functioning, safe and secure Canadian air transportation system is vital and necessary for the efficient and effective movement of people, and is a critical enabler of the Canadian economy, and is vital to Canada’s economic success.

As a result, I would like to underline that airline employees, such as Pilots, Flight Attendants, Air Traffic Controllers, Flight Service Specialists, Aircraft Maintenance Engineers are deemed essential to the safety and continuity of civil aviation in Canada. Annex A provides a non-exhaustive list of essential aviation employees to support the fight against COVID-19.

I appreciate your dedication and hard work as we continue to take active measures to combat the COVID-19 virus. I am confident that collectively we can continue to provide the necessary resources, services and critical workforce to enable the flow and movement of both goods and services across Canada. The effectiveness and success of this effort can only be achieved with your continued support, commitment and leadership.

Regards,

Nicholas Robinson
Director General, Civil Aviation

Annex A: Essential aviation workers

The list of essential aviation workers below is advisory in nature. This guidance is not, nor should it be considered to be a TC directive or standard. The list of essential workers may be amended, updated or modified based on any new circumstances to effectively deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

The following is a list of identified essential air transportation workers, these include:

  • Pilots – (Exempt from 14 day international travel restrictions – Healthy pilots who do not exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19 such as cough, fever or difficulty breathing who cross international borders as part of their job)
  • Flight Attendants – (Exempt from 14 day international travel restrictions – Healthy flight attendants who do not exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19 such as cough, fever or difficulty breathing who cross international borders as part of their job)
  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineers – (Exempt from 14 day international travel restrictions – Healthy aircraft maintenance engineers who do not exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19 such as cough, fever or difficulty breathing who cross international borders as part of their job)
  • Licensing Personnel – (Workers/Employees who support necessary credentialing, vetting and licensing operations for air transportation workers)
  • Ramp personnel
  • Medevac Pilots and Crew
  • Cargo/Ground Crew Handlers
  • Air Traffic Controllers
  • Flight Service Specialists
  • Fire fighters
  • De-icing Crew
  • Animal Handlers
  • Airline Operational Control Center Employees
  • Aviation Dispatchers
  • Ministers delegates
  • Aircraft Refuelers
  • Heliport operations
  • Parts manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, and repair and overhaul organisations
  • Engineering support personnel
  • Flight schedulers
  • On-and off-airport facilities workers
  • Aerial work for essential services