Glowing with pride: Air Canada Employees March in Six Events
Oct 01, 2019

When we think of Pride parades, some of the things that come to mind are the vibrant colours, joyful festivities and displays of love and happiness. It is an astounding progression from the first Pride parade in Chicago in 1970 — one year after the Stonewall Riots (or Stonewall Uprising) in New York City, which served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.

From June through early September, Air Canada and its employees participated in Pride celebrations in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and, for the first time, in Halifax and Winnipeg. The company also supported Capital Pride in Ottawa.

Close to 100 employees attended the first Pride flag-raising ceremony in Winnipeg, which marked this year’s six-city, cross-country tour of celebrations.

Again, this year, Montreal’s beloved drag queen Madame Simone joined employees in the cross-country festivities fashioning a dress that blended the colourful history of the rainbow flag complete with a 30-foot-long rainbow train held by six of our employees in each city.

“Diversity at work is a strength for Air Canada, and Pride is a way for Air Canada’s employees to celebrate in six Canadian cities and show that diversity is party of our DNA. It’s important for us as the national airline to show these cities how supportive we are of the LGBTQ+ community,” said Eric Lauzon, Manager, Community Partnerships at Air Canada. “We also support the LGBTQ+ community through over 20 local organizations around the country that impact health care, enable discussion in addition to Pride, which, of course, is an outstanding celebration of everyone, no matter who they are.”

Here’s what some Air Canada employees who marched for diversity in Canada and proudly marked Air Canada commitment to the LGBTQ+ community had to say:

  • “I’m pleased that for the first time ever, Air Canada was present and well respected at this year’s Winnipeg Pride festival. We may not be as big as Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver, but we showed the rest of Canada that Winnipeg has heart and that we care about the LGBTQ+ community. I’m sure next year will be even bigger when Winnipeg Pride hosts Fierté Canada Pride. I can’t wait to show our colours again. Bravo!” – Jared Zipman, HR Specialist, Winnipeg
  • “This was a special year for Pride celebrations in Halifax with Jazz and Air Canada coming together to show that we are stronger together. We swapped swag, shared food and offered helping hands. Jazz and Air Canada employees walked proudly side by side guiding Madame Simone through the streets of Halifax ahead of the Jazz float. It was invigorating to feel the power of collaboration and so heartwarming to be part of creating that safe space.” – Erica Fuhr, Corporate HR Manager - Jazz, Halifax
  • “Diversity and inclusion are at the core of Air Canada’s culture, everyone is welcome, supported and free to be who they are, but that’s not yet the case everywhere. By participating in events or organizing our own, we’re exemplifying Canadian values, demonstrating leadership and helping keep the conversation going. It’s one of the many reasons that I’m incredibly proud to be part of the Air Canada family.” – Sabrina Scott, Manager, Employee Communications - Commercial, Toronto
  • “Several years ago, I lost friends that were struggling with acceptance in society, they ended up taking their lives and many of them almost did. I will always support this movement because I know that it makes a difference. The world is beautiful because it is varied, colourful and different. We are all one and this whole world wouldn’t function without each one of us being part of it.” – Louis-Pascal Viau, Flight Attendant, Vancouver
  • “Our day (or weekend) of fun, celebration, acceptance, compassion, inclusion, courage, diversity, teamwork, camaraderie, friendship and love was a huge success. I’m proud to see that Air Canada did a tremendous job promoting diversity, compassion, inclusivity and acceptance within our community and within our own organization this week. Thanks Air Canada and the Air Canada Foundation for all the significant contributions to our LGBTQ+ community in Calgary. It makes me proud to be an AC employee.” – Joseph Fogal, Service Director, Calgary
  • “From my very first Pride parade to when I used to pick up artists at Montréal airport flying on AC for Divers/Cité, Air Canada has always been there. I am proud to walk in the parade with an employer that has diversity at the heart of its priorities.” – Nadine Lacasse, Facility Projects Manager, Montreal