Air Canada Pilots Association Elects New Chair of Governing Council

TORONTO, Nov. 3, 2021 /CNW/ – The Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA), Canada’s single largest pilot group, has elected First Officer Gary Russell as Chair of its highest governing body, the Master Elected Council. First Officer Russell will serve as MEC Chair for the remainder of the current term, which concludes March 31, 2022.

ACPA MEC Chair, First Officer Gary Russell. (CNW Group/Air Canada Pilots Association)
ACPA MEC Chair, First Officer Gary Russell. (CNW Group/Air Canada Pilots Association)

First Officer Russell, a B-787 Captain based in Vancouver, is a passionate advocate for pilots and the profession. Prior to his election as Master Elected Council (MEC) Chair in October 2021, he served on the MEC as a Nationally Elected Member twice (2016-2019 and 2021). First Officer Russell has been actively involved in the Association in a number of roles, including as LEC Councillor, Trustee and Chair of the External Affairs Committee.

Like many pilots in Canada, First Officer Russell began his flying career as a flight instructor and later a pilot in Northern Canada before being hired by Air Canada in 2007 on the Embraer.

“I consider working on behalf of my fellow pilots to be a calling, and I can’t imagine doing anything else,” said First Officer Russell. “As the world and aviation industry recover from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital to ensure our membership has a strong voice and our profession is protected. I thank the MEC for their confidence in me.”

The MEC is ACPA’s governing body, directing both policy and administration of the Association. The MEC is composed of Local Elected Council Chairs and Vice-Chairs who are elected by pilots from home bases in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Winnipeg, as well as Nationally MEC Members, who are chosen by all Air Canada pilots in national elections.

As Chair, First Officer Russell will preside over MEC meetings and act as the pilots’ principal representative to Air Canada on employment matters, including negotiation and administration of their collective agreement. The Chair speaks on behalf of the MEC and is the official spokesperson for ACPA. The Chair works with the Association’s Chief Executive Officer to pursue ACPA’s broader objectives and policies.

The Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) currently represents approximately 3,600 commercial pilots, with 600 furloughed during the COVID crisis and the first of them beginning to return to active status.  These highly skilled professional pilots fly passengers and cargo across Canada and around the world on Air Canada and Air Canada rouge.