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The Aveos plant is shown in Montreal, March 28, 2012. (Graham Hughes for The Globe and Mail)
The Aveos plant is shown in Montreal, March 28, 2012. (Graham Hughes for The Globe and Mail)

Quebec taking Aveos fight to court Add to ...

The Quebec government is taking legal action against Air Canada before the Quebec Superior Court demanding that the airline comply with federal law requiring that a centre for maintenance and overhaul of aircrafts remain open in Montreal.

Quebec argued that Air Canada has a legal obligation to maintain the 1,800 jobs at the insolvent Aveos Fleet Performance Inc., the aircraft maintenance company which closed down operations last month.

Aveos handled the maintenance of Air Canada’s aircraft.

Quebec sent a legal notice to the airline on Tuesday demanding that it explain “in a detailed and satisfactory way” how it intends to comply with the law. The airline was given ten days to respond.

“The response to our legal notice on April 3 is far from satisfactory. We demand instantly that the Quebec Superior Court recognize that Air Canada has failed to abide by its obligation to ensure a maintenance and overhaul centre in Montreal,” Quebec Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier said.

The Quebec government argued the 1988 federal law known as the Air Canada Public Participation Act which allowed for the privatization of the airline required the carrier to maintain operational and overhaul centres in Montreal, Winnipeg and Mississauga.

The Quebec government denounced the loss of jobs and the serious impact the closing of Aveos will have on the province’s aerospace industry.

“The fact that Air Canada had contracted the maintenance of its aircrafts to a sub-contractor does not shield it from its obligations,” Mr. Fournier said. “This contrary to the letter and spirit of the law and frankly it is deplorable.”

The Quebec government has been trying to save the jobs at Aveos by seeking a private investor to revive the Aveos facility in Montreal. The province’s venture capital fund Investissement Québec as well as the Quebec Federation of Labour’s Solidarity Fund have expressed willingness to financially back a potential new owner.

Efforts have made to attract a private investor. The Quebec government said it was determined to force Air Canada’s to abide by the law even if a legal opinion by the federal government has concluded that the airline had not violated its legal obligations with the closing of the Aveos maintenance centre.

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