Justin Trudeau calls the $20 million in bonuses to top Air Canada executives after a disastrous year and emergency aid drawn from taxpayers’ pockets “unacceptable”.
Elected officials from all federal parties in the House of Commons on Thursday adopted a motion from the bloc that owes $20 million in bonuses to Air Canada’s top executives after a disastrous pandemic year and emergency aid drawn from taxpayer pockets.
The day before, Justin Trudeau described the situation as “unacceptable”. “Shocked” and “outraged,” Canadians are entitled to ask “strong explanations” from the country’s largest airline, he said during the question period.
• Read also: Shameful $20 million for Air Canada CEOs
“We have signed an agreement with Air Canada which, among other things, sets out executive compensation, including stock options. However, we can see that perhaps even during Air Canada negotiations over its contracts with us, Air Canada was awarding huge bonuses. for executives, which is completely unacceptable,” the Prime Minister said.
These “motivational bonuses” were awarded to company executives for their “performance” during the most difficult year in civil aviation history.
Xavier Barsalo-Duval, an MP for the Quebecoa bloc, said on Twitter that his party would ask the prime minister to suspend the $5.9 billion federal aid plan for the company pending the payments of bonuses.
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Air Canada has laid off more than half of its employees since the start of the pandemic, or about 21,700 workers, but it has received $650 million in wage subsidies from the federal government to maintain some of its remaining workforce.
This amount makes him one of the biggest beneficiaries of the assistance provided during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While a lot of workers, whether they are people who work in airplanes or in mechanics, have already been laid off, and are going through very difficult times, the fact that CEOs are getting bonuses like this is completely unacceptable,” Trudeau reiterates at home.
The $20 million was distributed among five CEOs in various forms, but the lion’s share went to former CEO Calin Ruvenescu, who left with the equivalent of $9.26 million.
Remember, Ottawa also struck a $5.9 billion agreement to help Air Canada last April. The agreement included a $1 million executive compensation cap in effect until its debts were paid off, but the rewards were distributed during negotiations, and thus before the agreement was entered into.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, “extremely disappointed” with the actions of the company’s management, stressed Wednesday that restrictions on future executive compensation are close to her heart.
Air Canada also refused to pay for canceled flights due to COVID-19 until recently, but not without help from the $1.4 billion federal credit included in the bailout.
“We all expect Air Canada to explain itself,” Justin Trudeau repeated.
“The bonus situation at Air Canada is shameful! Conservative MP Richard Martel said. The Prime Minister relieves himself when the Tories have made it clear that taxpayer money should not be used to pay executives’ salaries or bonuses.”
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