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  1. The Helicopter Association of Canada “…is embarking on a project to help mitigate the risk of scrutiny from Labour Canada in the following ways:…”. Apparently Labour Canada has recently issued Orders which operators feel are contrary to their interests. This issue is closely tied to the impending changes to the Flight and Duty Time regulations. Without knowing precisely the position of Labour Canada on the issue, they may be of the opinion that pilots are only “at work” when they are actually flying. This interpretation sticks in the craw of many pilots and helicopter pilots in particular when they are directed by their employers to standby for as many as fourteen hours a day without flying, only to find that when issued a Record of Employment at the end of the season that none of these standby hours counted as hours worked. This can have drastic effects on the amount of Employment Insurance benefits to which a pilot may be entitled to collect. Considering the seasonal nature of the industry, this is important Some jurisdictions define “work” to mean anytime an employee is under the direction or control of his employer even during periods of standby. The CHPA website goes into detail about this on the page entitled How Should Waiting Time While On Duty Be Considered? Of special interest is the way the United States Department of Labor defines what it means to be at work. The CHPA website also has an application which enables pilots to determine their hourly rate of pay when standby time is considered. This can be viewed at How Much Money Should a Helicopter Pilot Earn?. Averaging is a contentious issue. If a pilot is considered to be at work whenever he is away from the comforts of his home and the companionship of his friends and family and if those days are each 14 hours in length, then a 2 week tour of duty must be followed by 2 weeks free from duty for the total hours of work (14 * 14 = 196) to equal the 48 hours per week over the averaging period allowed by the Canada Labour Code (4 * 48 = 192). Pilots who are concerned they are being taken advantage of are urged to write or email the Lisa Raitt, Canada’s Minister of Labour at [email protected] or talk to a labour officer at your local Labour Canada office.
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