Pension Committee Background

The Committee was instituted in May 2003 to provide legal representation for members of the Air Canada Defined Benefit Pension Plans not represented by Unions. The Superior Court of Ontario recognized the Pionairs’ Committee and it participated in all court representations and ultimate order terminating the CCAA proceedings in October 2004.

Following Air Canada exit from CCAA the Pension & Benefits Committee was established as a stand-alone Pionairs’ function to be funded sufficiently from member dues to sustain its mission on a continuous basis. The Committee reports to the Pionairs Executive Committee and the Chairman is a Director of the Pionairs.

Pionairs Organization:

  • A federally registered non-profit organization
  • By-laws approved by Corporations Directorate of Industry Canada
  • Members are retirees of Air Canada, Canadian Airlines and constituent airlines
  • Air Canada has 30,000+ retirees
  • Pionairs have 15,000+ individuals who are retiree members:


2. Management,Technical Clerical Staff

  • Pionairs have 11,000+ members with e-mail addresses
  • District and local Branches across Canada, United States and Europe
  • Member of the Canadian Federation of Pensioners which has 240,000 members and Canadian Coalition for Retirement Security


The mission of the Pension Sub-Committee is to advocate on behalf of, and where authorized, represent, Pionairs members of Air Canada’s Defined Benefit Pension Plans, with individuals, organizations and government involved with sponsorship, administration, regulation and security of these plans.

Pension Sub-Committee Organization Objectives

To effectively accomplish its mission, the Committee:

  • Receives and reviews actuarial reports and financial statements from Air Canada and makes recommendations for any actions deemed necessary.
  • On behalf of all retirees, broadly monitors corporate activities relating to the pensions and benefits of retirees,
  • To the extent possible, monitors performance of individual pension plans and contributions from the Company
  • Meets with appropriate (Air Canada) Company representatives, at least on an annual basis, to be informed with regard to:

1. Pension and benefits of the retirees and surviving spouses.

2. Company activities in which the retirees may be of assistance

3. Financial or other Company activities which may impact retirees.

  • Participates in other Pension organizations having mutual purposes and goals.
  • Actively solicits regulatory reforms to enhance pension security.
  • The Committee is committed to meeting on a regular basis with the Pionairs Executive Committee, providing Updates to the membership throughout the year and particularly when critical pension issues are identified.
  • Requesting membership assistance and participation as required.
  • Members may communicate by e-mail to

Pension Sub-Committee Initiatives

2003 – 2004 Initiated legal representation for non-union retirees during CCAA hearings (Company and Creditors Accommodation Act)

2005 – 2007 Initiated meetings with Federal Government departments having responsibility for Pension legislation (Finance, Industry, and Office of Superintendent of Financial Institutions).Developed responses to Finance Canada’s request for submissions of revisions to PBSA. Maintained continuous dialogue with Federal Government on requirements to improve pension security

2007 – 2008 Initiate, along with major independent pensioner organizations, request for Pension Splitting

2009 Participated and provided support to Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Air Canada, Unions and Retirees at time of Pension insolvency

2009 – 2011 Met with Finance Canada and Industry Canada to bring about required pension security revisions to the PBSA, BIA, and CCAA

2012 – 2014 At Company request, met with Finance Canada in support of Company petition to continue Air Canada Pension Relief Regulations

2014 – 2016 Initiated submissions to Finance Canada for revisions to PBSA and comments on proposal by Finance Canada for a TBP (Target Benefit Plan)

On an ongoing basis, sought professional opinions on issues related to security, solvency, and financial viability of pension plans.

On an ongoing basis, initiated and worked with other major pension organizations to improve pension security.

Initiated meetings with parliamentarians and government departmental staff to heighten awareness of lack of pension security.

Pension Security Sustainability Performance

Represented and advocated on behalf of Pionairs members and retirees during the CCAA of 2003 and 2004. Was instrumental, along with active management and all the Company unions, in developing the agreement which allowed the Company to exit CCAA in 2004 and continue to grow and expand in the ensuing years.

  • Achieved a growing awareness of the Committee with critical Government departments.
  • Became recognized as providing a voice of the retirees to the Company on various issues.
  • Responded to Government request for recommendations for revisions to the PBSA (1985). This has resulted in a revision to the PBSA and its regulations in 2010 with a significant increase in plan security on plan termination.
  • In participation with the Common Front for Retirement Security, provided information and data which allowed the Federal Government to Legislate Pension Splitting. This legislation helped level the individual income tax field to take account of the many spouses who, during their married life, raised a family while there was only one wage earner in the family.
  • Became an initial member of the Canadian Federation of Pensioners, which advocates on behalf of 240,000 members for the security of Defined Benefit Pension Plans. This organization has also participated successfully in bringing about revisions to the PBSA and other provincial legislation.
  • Participated with the Unions in the development of the 2009 Memorandum of Understanding with the Company which allowed pension relief and the Government to enact the Special Air Canada Regulations 2009. These measures assisted the Company in its financial operations.
  • At Company request, met with the Department of Finance in 2012 to support the Company’s petition for additional pension relief. This relief once again significantly assisted the Company’s financial situation since the Government re-enaced with some revisions solvency relief measures provided in 2009, and the pensions continue to be fully paid.

Initiated a number of successful communications, with support from membership, to alert the Government to the issues affecting the needs of retirees and pensioners. Continued to meet several times a year with critical agencies and organisations with regard to specific issues affecting Pionairs members.

The Committee solicits and encourages all members to support the Pension Sub Committee and to encourage all associate, friends and relatives who are airline retirees to join the Pionairs.

Committee Members

Susan Welscheid

Chair, Pension Sub-Committee, Air Canada/Pionairs Liaison

514 951-3711

Bruce Aubin

Chair Emeritus, Research/Strategy


Bruce MacCoubrey

Government/Third Parties/Alliances


Harry Gibbs

Executive Advisor

514 229 4425

Patricia Lannon

Member Ex-Officio

709 754 2876

Jim Redston

Committee Member


Barry Hoeppner

Committee Member


Bob Wiens

Committee Member


Dave Robinson

Committee Member


Jane MacGregor

Committee Member


Lori Kearvell



Georges Bujold

Committee Member