COVID-19 Recovery

COVID-19 Recovery

Elevate Aviation recently conducted a COVID-19 Recovery Project to address issues in the aviation industry in the province of Alberta. These issues include gender diversity, Indigenous workforce requirements, labour shortages, and industry recovery from the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

Gender Diversity – Aviation offers exciting careers for anyone, but there is an alarming gender imbalance in the industry. Our research shows that an overall lack of awareness of aviation careers exists in the female population in Canada. Focusing on female recruitment during our project encourages partners to make meeting their diversity recruitment goals a priority throughout their recovery, resulting in a better-balanced industry.

Indigenous Diversity – In a single year, the Alberta Indigenous off-reserve unemployment rate has doubled, going from 10.1% to 20.9% (18.3% men and 23.7% women), as measured in September 2020. Specifically, Indigenous women have generally had lower employment and labour-force participation rates than Indigenous men, reflecting greater variation in women’s labour-force attachment linked to family care and responsibilities.

Industry Shortage – Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the aviation sector was on the brink of a critical labour shortage. In one study, before COVID-19, it was discovered that the world would need 255,000 new airline pilots by 2027 to offset both the effect of retirement and industry growth. The critical shortage spans throughout the industry to air traffic services, manufacturing, and maintenance. COVID-19 has only delayed these issues. The industry must continue to work towards combatting the shortage that will inevitably happen. This means being diligent in their planning during recovery to ensure training continues and awareness campaigns are made a priority.

COVID-19 – The pandemic has had an all-encompassing negative impact on the aviation industry. Since early 2020 the industry has seen mass layoffs, recruiting freezes and early retirements, resulting in the need for restructuring, refocusing, and making considerable changes to short and long-term business plans.

Project Summary

Elevate Aviation worked with aviation industry partners to develop a COVID-19 workforce recovery action plan to implement in the aviation industry. Project partners represent virtually every aspect of the aviation, aerospace and airport business in Alberta. The project team conducted research and analysis of the labour market and the industry.

The two main objectives of this project were to (1) determine current and future labour market requirements to aid in the workforce recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and develop an action plan that addresses the gender imbalance in aviation, and (2) implement and ensure accountability of the action plan by facilitating communication and coordination between stakeholders.



In this stage of the project, we determined the needs of the Alberta aviation industry, conducted labour market research, and researched female and Indigenous demographics to pinpoint root causes for the lack of diversity in aviation.



Elevate Aviation worked with Leger360 to facilitate discussions in a focus group format regarding industry challenges and labour market opportunities. As a project group, a strategic plan was formulated based on what was uncovered.



After the needs were identified, a strategic plan was crafted and an action plan was developed and shared with industry partners to address the labour market and heighten awareness of aviation careers through campaigns and initiatives targeting their desired demographics.

Project Partners

The heart of this project centres around the collaborative efforts of our project partners. We partnered with 19 of Alberta’s aviation industry leaders. 

  • Absolute Combustion
  • Air Market Inc.
  • Alberta Aviation Council
  • Calgary Airport Authority
  • Canadian North
  • Canadian Air Traffic Controllers Association
  • DroneBuzz
  • Edmonton International Airport
  • Executive Flight Centre
  • Edmonton Flying Club
  • Flair Airlines
  • Fort McMurray International Airport
  • Kanata Aviation Training
  • Mount Royal University
  • Pegasus Aeronautics
  • Synergy Aviation
  • Tribal Chiefs Employment & Training Services Association
  • WāVv and ConvergX®
  • WestJet

The project was funded by the Government of Alberta. Please contact [email protected] with any questions regarding the project activities and outputs.