Training given in Montreal to become a flight attendant with Air Canada is only offered in English denounces a young woman who has finally decided to pursue her career dream elsewhere.
“I was really disappointed with Air Canada. I thought they were going to be a lot more open. In Montreal, I should have the right to have my classes in French”, testifies a woman from the South Shore who requested anonymity so as not to harm her future career in the field.
The 19-year-old has been training in Montreal for the past few weeks to become a flight attendant at Air Canada Rouge, Air Canada’s low-cost subsidiary.
When it was announced to her that she was going to be able to follow her training in the Quebec metropolis this spring, she was delighted, convinced that the courses were going to take place in her mother tongue.
She was unfortunately mistaken: “They told me no! There is no possibility of having it in French for Air Canada Rouge.”
The one who failed her exams to become a flight attendant, says that it was difficult for her to learn by heart sometimes very technical procedures, such as the evacuation of the plane, in her second language.
“For example, you had to learn exactly [en anglais] the words of the emergency procedure to open the aircraft door. You had to say exactly what they wanted or you’d get kicked out. I would have remembered it better if it had been in French”, adds the one who manages enough in English to work in this field.
Nobody to give it in French
Contacted by the Journal, Air Canada made its mea culpa.
“We have training bodies that have only been available in English, mainly because we lacked instructors to give training in French”, justified Christophe Hennebelle, vice-president of communications from the outset. of the company.
He specifies that this problem only affects the Air Canada Rouge subsidiary and that, according to him, training is available in both languages to be a flight attendant at Air Canada.
“It’s something that we have actually seen recently, but I can’t tell you how long it goes back, adds Mr. Hennebelle. We are working very quickly to correct this as quickly as possible in order to have the trainers available to do it also in French, ”he argues.--
“It is a priority for us that our employees be able to work in both official languages, and, in particular, that they can work in French in Quebec,” added Mr. Hennebelle.
In recent years, Air Canada has been at the center of a multitude of linguistic controversies for its non-respect of French, while the company is subject to the Official Languages Act.
Questioned by The newspaper Monday, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages had not yet reacted when this text was put online.
As for the aspiring flight attendant, she intends to try again her chance to realize her dream of becoming a flight attendant at Air Transat, where she will be able to take training in French.
IS AIR CANADA VIOLATING FEDERAL LAW?
According to Air Canada, its subsidiary Air Canada Rouge is not subject to the Official Languages Act with which it must partially comply. However, according to Pierre Foucher, specialist in the rights of linguistic minorities in Canada, the subsidiaries have the same linguistic obligations since a modification of the law on its privatization in the 2000s. If the law only provides that Air Canada must offer services in both languages, the fact of offering training to future employees in a single language is an “indirect violation of the law” according to Mr. Foucher, because it will offer services that will not be bilingual.
AND LAW 96?
As a company under federal jurisdiction with 50 or more employees, Air Canada is subject to Quebec law 96, which it decided to comply with at the end of March. Spokesperson Chantal Bouchard pointed out that the law obliges companies to make training courses intended for their staff available in French. As provided for in Bill 96, Air Canada has initiated a francization process with the OQLF so that French is the language used within its company.
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