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

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station destroyed by fire after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

New Vancouver Island University chancellor Judith Sayers was sworn in at a virtual ceremony June 17. (Submitted photo)
VIU’s new chancellor seeks innovation and equality in post-secondary education

Judith Sayers officially sworn in as Vancouver Island University chancellor

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

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The B.C. woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

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

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

Most Read