Air Canada CEO got paid $12.4 million in 2022 — a whopping 233% pay increase

Apr 10 2023, 3:56 pm

If you got a raise last year, chances are it was nowhere near as much as what Air Canada paid CEO Michael Rousseau. In 2022, Rousseau earned $12.38 million — a jump of 233% compared to the previous year.

Air Canada has published a 100-page Notice of Annual Shareholders document detailing compensation for the company’s executives. The company received funding from the government, and part of the clause involved restrictions on executives’ pay. With those restrictions now gone, executives saw pay rises of over 100%.

According to the document, in 2021, Rousseau was paid $3,717,000 in share-based awards, option-based awards, annual incentive plans, and pension value. Following the retirement of his predecessor, Calin Rovinescu, two years ago, Rousseau took the helm as Air Canada’s chief executive officer in February 2021.

This year’s numbers mean Rousseau earned $6,000 per hour and received a monthly payment of around $1.03 million.

Here’s how much Air Canada’s executives earned in 2021 compared to 2022.

Name and position



Compensation increase by %

Michael Rousseau, president and chief executive officer $3,717,000 $12,375,100 233%
Amos Kazzaz, executive vice president and chief financial officer $1,303,900 $3,104,100 138%
Lucie Guillemette, executive vice president and chief commercial officer $1,083,900 $2,739,600 152%
Craig Landry, executive vice president, chief operations officer $1,107,200 $2,932,400 164%
Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, executive vice president, chief human resources and public affairs $1,062,400 $1,998,500 88%

Compensation for Air Canada executives has been mired in controversy after it was revealed in 2021 that managers had received $10 million of COVID-19-specific bonuses and special share-purchase options during the previous year. This occurred while the company was lobbying for a bailout and laying off thousands of workers.

“Paying out millions in executive bonuses while they kick their workers to the curb and ask the taxpayer to bail them out isn’t just wrong, it’s morally bankrupt,” said Mark Hancock, the national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), in a release.

As a result of the public outcry, executives volunteered to return their 2020 bonuses and stock appreciation units, with then-CEO Rovinescu stating that he would donate his entire bonus to the Air Canada Foundation.

The massive pay increases no doubt bring to question the company’s priorities. The airline has been in the headlines for missing luggage, poor customer service, and refusal to compensate customers for flight delays and cancellations.

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