Air Canada’s maintenance teams hope to build a better future for Canadian Kids, one bicycle at a time
Jun 19, 2024

Air Canada’s highly skilled maintenance engineers work tirelessly every day to keep our planes safe for our customers, and for the last two years they have also put their skills to use helping build bicycles that are then donated to vulnerable children in Canadian communities.

After a successful build-a-bike event held last year in Toronto in collaboration with the Peel Children’s Aid Society and bicycle-maker GIANT, the employees decided to bring back the build-a-bike event in 2024. This year, they expanded it to include Montreal and Vancouver. Partnering again with Peel Children’s Aid Society in Toronto, as well as Big Brothers, Big Sisters in Montreal and Vancouver, Air Canada’s maintenance (ACM) volunteers came together once again to build bikes supplied by GIANT bicycles.

“After the positive feedback from last year’s event in Toronto, we wanted to grow the event and extend the opportunity to participate to more of our ACM colleagues,” said Josh VanderVeen, Vice President, Maintenance for Air Canada.

Each volunteer was paired up with a child and together they assembled a bike, which was then gifted to the child to take home.

In addition to help building the bike, the children had the opportunity to tour and view an airplane from a close distance, sit in the cockpit, and see the crew’s sleeping quarters above the passenger cabin.

Philippe Branchaud, an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, was one of the volunteers at the Montreal event and brought his son to assist with building a bike. When asked what it meant to participate and share this experience with his son, Branchaud shared: “It really meant a lot to me to have the opportunity to bring my son to my workplace so he could see the airplanes and meet my teammates that I talk about every day. I want to be a role model for him and the opportunity for him to see me volunteering for a great cause and help others felt really good.”

“Riding a bike when you are a kid gives you the chance to go twice as fast and twice as far,” Branchaud added. “It's the best way to start exploring the world and, with every bike built, we’re giving kids the opportunity to get out and discover the unknown.”

The goal of the event was to inspire the children in attendance and ensure they believe that no matter the task, if they work together, they can achieve anything they set their minds too. The maintenance teams also hope that this event will help empower and inspire the next generation through a unique and engaging experience.