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The WestJet Group says it will lock out the airline’s pilots after their union sent a 72-hour strike notice to the company and government Monday night, setting the stage for a work stoppage right before the May long weekend.

The airline says it’s begun preparations to operate a reduced schedule, manage changes and cancellations and provide flexible change and cancel options for those people who want to change their plans.

Impacted guests would be refunded or re-accommodated as applicable, WestJet said.

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) represents both WestJet and Swoop pilots, and the lockout notice applies to Swoop pilots as well.

The WestJet Group said a work stoppage could occur as early as Friday at 3 a.m. MT.  In a release, WestJet said that issuing a lockout notice does not mean a work stoppage will occur.

“It is our responsibility to ensure the safety and complete control of our network at all times, to minimize the risk of stranding our guests, our crews and our aircraft,” said WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech in the release.

“We sincerely regret the inconvenience and uncertainty this continues to cause for our guests.”

About 1,850 WestJet pilots with the union are poised to strike. Some of the issues they say still need to be resolved include pay, job security and scheduling.

 

WestJet pilots hold informational picket in Calgary as strike deadline looms

 

With a strike deadline looming, pilots with WestJet say they’re still far apart in negotiations with the company. Members of the Air Line Pilots Association held an informational picket in Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary on May 8. The CBC’s Colleen Underwood was there.

“After nine months of negotiating, management still fails to understand today’s labour market conditions, leading to a mass exodus of our pilots in search of better work opportunities,” said Capt. Bernard Lewall, chair of the WestJet ALPA Master Executive Council in a release.

“More will follow if this agreement does not meet our pilots’ needs.”

Negotiations between WestJet and the pilots’ union began in September. Last month, the pilots voted in favour of a strike mandate.

 

3 key takeaways from the new Passenger Rights Bill | About That | About That

 

The government has proposed new rules that would improve air passenger rights. Andrew Chang breaks down the three key points, and discusses how they’ll play out with business reporter Sophia Harris.

Von Hoensbroech said he was disappointed the pilots served a strike notice, saying that the company’s offer would have made the pilots “by far the best paid in Canada.”

In a post to Twitter on Monday night, he said he had personally joined the bargaining table and is committed to coming to a reasonable deal.

“As the union maintains unreasonable expectations we see no alternative then to lock them out as of Friday,” von Hoensbroech wrote on Twitter.

Should flight delays or cancellations happen, impacted guests will be refunded or re-accommodated as applicable, WestJet said.

In a news release sent to CBC News, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) said that as of 3 a.m. ET on May 19, the pilots plan to begin lawful job action, which could include grounding all aircraft and effectively shutting down operations.

 

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CP NewsAlert: Wildfire roars into Jasper, Alta., townsite; multiple structures ablaze

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EDMONTON – Parks officials say a wildfire is now inside the Jasper, Alta., townsite. Crews are battling multiple structure fires and are trying to protect key infrastructure.

More coming.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Wildfire reaches outskirts of Jasper, Alta., as first responders ordered to leave

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EDMONTON – Parks officials say one of two wildfires bearing down on the Jasper, Alta., townsite has reached the southern outskirts of the community.

All first responders have been ordered out of Jasper National Park for their safety and to give fire crews more room to operate.

Two fires whipped by strong winds are bearing down on the town, from the north and the south.

Katie Ellsworth, with Parks Canada, said the southern one reached the outskirts of the townsite just before 6 p.m.

A last-ditch effort to reroute the fire to natural barriers like Highway 16 and the Athabasca River failed.

About 5,000 live in Jasper, and they, along with about 20,000 visitors, had to flee at a moment’s notice Monday night when the fires flared up.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 24, 2024.

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Severe Thunderstorms Cause Significant Damage and Power Outages in Ontario

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A series of severe thunderstorms swept across the region on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 24, leaving a trail of damage and widespread power outages. The day began with Environment Canada issuing a Severe Thunderstorm Watch, which escalated to a Severe Thunderstorm Warning by the afternoon. Additionally, a Tornado Warning was issued, and there were numerous reports of a tornado forming in the sky, although no official confirmation of a touchdown has been made yet.

Damage and Disruptions

L’Orignal and Surrounding Areas:

  • The severe weather caused extensive damage to trees and properties in and around L’Orignal.
  • Highway 17 experienced a closure for several hours between Cassburn Road and Blue Corner Road due to storm-related debris and hazards.

Hawkesbury:

  • The heavy rainfall led to at least one storm sewer overflow, resulting in flooding in a parking lot and along Hamilton Street near the Main Street intersection.

Power Outages

Hydro One:

  • Over 2,800 customers were reported without electricity, predominantly affecting areas within Champlain Township, Alfred and Plantagenet, The Nation Municipality, and North Glengarry.

Hydro-Québec:

  • Nine localized outages were reported, impacting an unspecified number of customers in Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, Brownsburg-Chatham, Harrington, Wentworth, and Gore.

Meteorological Impact

Severe Weather Alerts:

  • The day began with a Severe Thunderstorm Watch, which escalated to a Severe Thunderstorm Warning as conditions worsened.
  • A Tornado Warning was also issued, raising significant concern among residents and prompting safety measures.

Sightings and Warnings:

  • Residents reported sightings of a tornado forming in the sky, but there has yet to be any official confirmation of it touching down.

Response and Recovery

Road and Infrastructure:

  • Efforts are underway to clear debris and repair damage caused by the severe weather, particularly along major routes like Highway 17.
  • Local authorities and emergency services are working to manage the aftermath and restore normalcy.

Utilities:

  • Hydro One and Hydro-Québec crews are actively working to restore power to affected areas, prioritizing regions with the highest impact.

Community Impact

The severe thunderstorms have had a profound impact on the communities within the affected regions. The storm’s intensity and the resulting damage have underscored the importance of preparedness and swift response in the face of extreme weather events. Local authorities are urging residents to stay informed about weather updates and to take necessary precautions during such events.

Safety Measures:

  • Environment Canada continues to monitor the situation and provide updates.
  • Residents are advised to remain indoors during severe weather and avoid flooded areas.

The recent storms serve as a reminder of the power of nature and the necessity of community resilience and preparedness. As recovery efforts continue, the focus remains on ensuring the safety and well-being of all affected residents.

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