Canada's NDP

Skip to main content

February 5th, 2024

NDP Disability and Inclusion critic takes on Air Canada CEO on poor treatment of air passengers

OTTAWA – On Monday, NDP Disability and Inclusion Critic Bonita Zarrillo will face the Air Canada CEO for the company's mistreatment of air passengers who are living with a disability.

Following multiple instances of gross mistreatment of travellers by Air Canada, including a man being forced to drag himself off of a plane because the airline didn't have a wheelchair for him, Zarrillo moved a motion that summoned Air Canada's CEO to testify at a committee.

"Over the past few months, we've all heard and seen the disturbing mistreatment of air passengers who have a disability – whether not being given a wheelchair or having to drag themselves off planes. It's completely unacceptable and cruel," said Zarrillo. "What we're seeing here is a horrible corporate culture that has festered under the Liberals, where CEOs who make tens of millions of dollars have no obligation to treat people fairly."

In 2022, the CEO of Air Canada's salary tripled, earning $12.3 million annually. This is 364 times more than the average person who has a disability earns.

At the same time, consecutive Liberal and Conservative governments have continued to fund and bail out Air Canada and other airlines with public money - without setting any expectations or guidelines. The government even agreed to loan Air Canada $5.9 billion during the pandemic.

"While Canadians are harmed and mistreated at the hands of these massive companies – the Liberals and the Conservatives give them no-strings-attached bailouts. It shouldn't be like that," added Zarrillo. "The government can't keep letting rich CEOs be untouchable – there needs to be consequences to their actions. New Democrats want to see the scales tipped in people's favour; we want to get to the bottom of this gross situation to make sure that this never happens again."