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All things beardy-2005 to 2018 (merged)

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OP: "Air Canada pilots get permission to wear beards"

I'm not a lawyer, but as I understand it, an employer can legally choose not to hire based on her/his personal views of appearance. That is not a violation of the Human Rights Act or Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This applies whether it is a union or non-union workplace.

The only exceptions would be ethnic, tribal custom or religion.

Where the prospective employment is not to be in a public place this may be less important.

The situation becomes more complicated after an employee has been hired.

Here the employers rights differ greatly depending on whether it is a union or non-union workplace.

Air Canada is a union workplace.

Ostrozac said:
Considering that the Indian Air Force have allowed beards for years, including for pilots of supersonic fighters, and their pilots are still breathing, I thought it was pretty clear that Air Canada's beard restriction was always more of a fashion/tradition thing than an actual flight safety issue. But now there is actual SFU research that backs up the experience of India.

I don't know for any certainty if the RCAF requirement is derived from research or lack of research.  But it is encouraging that the CAF has asked for their data.

With the variety of emerg breathing equipment that our fleets have (example, there are 4 different ones / mask types on the Aurora alone between the flight deck and Tactical tube systems including our fire fighting kits), I doubt they would be able to say "beards are okay" for aircrew/flight crew as the study above was limited to 2 systems used by Air Canada.  It might be the start of a process and policy review/change.

It's not just about fashion either, from my perspective.  We had a guy on crew during an IMPACT roto who developed a skin reaction to 'something' and he wasn't able to shave for the roto.  The kit has to work properly and immediately, so knowing you're good if you are in the situation this guy was in (no choice) would be peace of mind as well. 
In a roundabout way, this would affect the RCN's beard policy as well.  If RCAF folks who use positive pressure breathing apparatus can wear beards, *and* RCN folks on shore postings can wear beards already, why not RCN folks at sea wearing positive pressure (Drager) systems?
Anecdotally, the desire for beards in seagoing units in the RCN is strong, especially when you come alongside as part of a 5-6 ship NATO Task Group and realize that you're the only participating navy which bans them. Many members lament that the Fleet Diving Units allows beards, which is an organization built around full face masks; I can't speak to the physiological difference between smoke and water.

Having spoke to the odd person who remembers the initial beard ban, the original decision seems to have been rooted in a cultural desire to remove beards, justified by "safety" concerns.  Having not done the research I cannot say how much merit this argument holds.

Interestingly, in a recent Hands Fall In, a local Fleet Commander indicated that the ban on beards seems to be finally under review for its scientific merits (or lack thereof), likely as part of the greater "BEARDFORGEN" rumour that has been circulating.
They did some testing with the drager masks and beards when we first got them (before they rolled out to the ships).  Some people were okay, others couldn't hold a seal and had their bottle run out in 10 minutes. I guess once they got moving around and started sweating a lot they where problematic.

They couldn't really come up with a decent standard that would have let people have beards but be confident people would be able to maintain a seal.  Not sure what other Navies do but there is a better reason than the dress committee gods didn't like it.

I've had that happen to me a few times clean shaven, so might be more of a general issue with mask fit.  The medium fits my face, but is a bit loose around the chin, so even tightened down it can slide around a bit.
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Air Canada pilots get permission to wear beards

The beard issue for the RCN is being reevaluated.  We expect some changes in the not so distant future.
New rules. To grow a beard members must donate to the ever-devouring United way.
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