Air Canada Remembrance Day Poppy Ban Has Airline Apologizing

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For 95 years, the poppy has served as a solemn symbol of remembrance for veterans who have died in war.

But for Air Canada, wearing it became a violation of the uniform policy for flight attendants — until the airline reversed itself just hours later.

air canada plane
A view of Air Canada planes at Toronto Pearson International Airport on July 20. (Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

On Monday morning, Renée Smith-Valade, vice-president of in-flight service at Air Canada, issued an internal notice reminding flight attendants that the airline did not allow poppies to be worn on company uniforms, The Globe and Mail reported.

"I strongly encourage anyone who wants to wear a poppy to observe and respect Remembrance Day to do so when not in uniform," Smith-Valade wrote, adding that Air Canada would honour veterans by making announcements on all of its flights.

And workers didn't take kindly to the message, Michel Cournoyer, president of the Air Canada Component at the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), told The Toronto Star.

"They thought the decision was beyond absurd," he told the newspaper.

"Lots of people were complaining. I received complaints from flight attendants who said managers asked them to remove their poppies."

remembrance day poppies canada
The red poppy is a symbol of remembrance for all the men and women who fought in war. This design is Canadian. A hand is selecting a pin from many. (Photo: Gail Shotlander/Getty Images)

But Air Canada later reversed its position. Smith-Valade posted a second internal note saying that the "wearing of poppies is supported," according to CBC News.

"My apologies for the angst this has caused for some. For those who choose to do so please wear your poppies while in uniform with pride," Smith-Valade added.

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