Grounded Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Grounded Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Air Canada says senior executives to voluntarily return 2020 bonuses

Public disappointment cited for return of some of the packages handed executives

Air Canada says its senior executives have chosen to return their 2020 bonuses in response to “public disappointment.”

The airline company says in a news release the president and CEO, as well as executive vice-presidents of Air Canada, have volunteered to return their bonuses and share appreciation units.

Former president and CEO Calin Rovinescu, who retired in February 2021, says he will also donate his share to the Air Canada Foundation.

The statement does not include middle managers, whose bonuses made up more than $8 million of the $10-million bonus program, among those who are volunteering their bonuses.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland signalled her displeasure Wednesday over the multi-million dollar packages handed out to the airline’s executives as the company negotiated a federal bailout, calling the bonuses “inappropriate.”

The airline last Monday disclosed its annual proxy circular to shareholders that gave the bonuses to people the investor document called instrumental in the airline’s survival over the past year as air travel plunged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Air Canada’s leadership team is completely focused on Air Canada’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and preparations to welcome back furloughed colleagues and travelling customers as soon as possible,” Sunday’s statement says.

“The airline looks forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders, notably the Government of Canada on many fronts, including the safe re-start of our industry.”

In April, the airline and government agreed to a $5.9 billion loan package that includes money to help refund passenger tickets, but also capped executive compensation at $1 million until 12 months after the loan is fully repaid.

The government also paid $500 million for a six per cent stake in the country’s biggest airline, which Freeland said was done to ensure taxpayers could benefit once Air Canada’s revenue rises when regular travel resumes.

In early 2020, senior executives and 3,200 management employees voluntarily agreed to total reductions of $11.5 million in their base salaries, subject to compensation through share appreciation units that might allow employees to recover some of the forgone salary if the share price rises higher in December 2022 than December 2020, the company says.

Freeland and Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said Canadians “are right to expect responsible corporate behaviour — particularly with respect to executive compensation — from companies receiving government financial support during the pandemic.”

“While this situation could have been entirely avoided by Air Canada, we acknowledge this step in the right direction by the top five executives to repay 2020 bonuses and share appreciation units they received,” they said in a joint statement Sunday night.

—The Canadian Press

RELATED: Freeland says feds will voice concerns to Air Canada over executive bonuses

Air TravelFederal Politics

Just Posted

Undated Google maps image of Aldergrove Community Secondary School (file)
Aldergrove gets first electric school buses in Langley

Two battery electric buses are being purchased this year

Aldergrove Canada Day parade took place in 2020 with COVID protocols in place. (Aldergrove Star files)
Canada Day parade in Aldergrove set to go ahead

Aldergrove Star mistakenly reported that Township’s virtual July 1 celebrations included parade

Mosquito control contractors have been applying the bacterial larvicide by ground since late April. (Black Press files)
Pest control experts keeping mosquitoes at bay along the Fraser River

Bacterial larvicide has been used along the shores in Maple Ridge, Langley, and Pitt Meadows

Bella Jun claimed the prize for select female dog at the Westminster Dog Show. (Special to The Star)
Aldergrove breeder earns two top honours at Westminster dog show

Woodside’s German Shepherds, Arabella and Bella Jun, earned best in breed and select female

Langley City's economy is poised to enter a new phase when the SkyTrain line arrives in the downtown core. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Zumba, spin classes set to return soon in Langley City

B.C.’s restart plan means more rec offerings

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Seth Rogen’s vibrant orange sculpture was sold for $7,000 above Vancouver Art Gallery’s initial estimation at auction Tuesday. June 15. (Heffel Fine Arts)
Vase made by Seth Rogen sells for $12,000 at Vancouver auction

The B.C.-born comedian has a new pot habit and it’s paying off

BC Lions running back John White IV (3) runs with the ball during first quarter CFL football action against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Saturday, September 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
BC Lions file trademark for new logo

Canadian Football League team files for new design on June 1

Most Read