Canadian North CEO takes hot seat at Iqaluit open house

Questioned over price increases, frequency of flights to remote communities

Canadian North chief executive officer Michael Rodyniuk speaks at an open house in Iqaluit on Wednesday. He answered questions from the public on the future of the airline’s routes and fees, now that government stipulations on those issues have changed. (Photo by David Lochead)

By David Lochead

Canadian North’s chief executive officer got an earful from the public at a town hall in Iqaluit Wednesday evening.

Michael Rodyniuk hosted the event to explain Canadian North’s strategy now that the airline is allowed to adjust its routes and increase fares.

In April, Transport Canada announced it had eased conditions related Canadian North’s merger in 2019 with First Air.

About 30 people turned up to the event.

One of those in attendance was Jerry Ward, director of fisheries at the Qikiqtaaluk Corporation.

He told Rodyniuk how high prices are for fishermen to fly between Nunavut and Newfoundland.

“At some point there’s got to be some give,” Ward said.

In response, Rodyniuk said the cost of operating aircraft is going up. Air navigation services have increased by 30 per cent and costs for fuel and airport fees rising.

One person expressed frustration that he was not consulted by regional Inuit organizations or Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. on the changes at Canadian North, as consulting with beneficiaries is part of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.

Rodyniuk said he could not speak to those consultations but that his company was told by the federal government the reason the changes were delayed was for consultations to continue. That included consultation with the regional birthright Inuit organizations.

Another attendee asked why there are not more long, frequent flights to remote communities if the airline is supposed to benefit communities.

Rodyniuk answered that flight frequency may go down but communities will have the whole plane for themselves since flights will be direct, instead of going through multiple communities.

Another person pushed back, saying he enjoyed the flights that went through multiple communities, called the milk run, since they were cheaper and more frequent.

Rodyniuk explained the milk run actually caused the airline to provide poorer service, because a flight would have to hold a seat for someone who was two stops away in the run which limited the number of seats available.

“The level of service to communities was terrible,” he said.

Senator Dennis Patterson, who was also in attendance, told Rodyniuk that Nunavummiut have told him they are concerned about Canadian North being able to raise flight prices by as much as 25 per cent.

He asked Rodyniuk if customers can have transparency to ensure the price increases were necessary.

Rodyniuk said final changes in fares were determined by Transport Canada. He assured the crowd Canadian North is not allowed to earn more than 10 per cent profit, and that will impact how much flight prices will rise.

Canadian North is also audited quarterly, he said, but the decision to release those audits would have to be made by shareholders.

Rodyniuk said he plans to hold more public open houses in the future.


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(33) Comments:

  1. Posted by Northern Air Passenger on

    The least you can do is stop saying “Thank you for choosing Canadian North”. You know very well that most Nunavumiut do not have a choice, because you took away our choice when you took over First Air. Now that you have a monopoly, ofcourse things are getting expensive and ofcourse you REALLY need to increase prices by 25%. How else will you get a +25% in your annual bonus.

    • Posted by true dat on

      Exactly! we don’t have a choice but to fly CN. CEO mentioned about AC/WJ having dynamic pricing but difference is there is also other means of transportation available in the south. CEO admits that if we are paying last minute ticket means we will absolutely need to travel and will pay whatever price they have. this is very unethical for what is supposedly a lifeline for the north, primarily Nunavut.
      CN announced this recently
      Considering it is going to be double the cost than flying with AC, this promo by CN is just smoke and mirrors. Fix the exorbitant pricing in Nunavut first!

      • Posted by early ticket pricing on

        i tried to look for sh*ts and giggles at what it would cost to book a ticket, whether its last minute or well in advance, the ticket price does not change at all, there is no benefit to booking earlier and planning a vacation months ahead in Nunavut

    • Posted by Flyer on


      Approving that merger was outrageous but perhaps not as outrageous as the GN spending $500 million on an airport in Iqaluit for little more than one airline.

    • Posted by Remember when… on

      People did this to themselves when the new airline came in with way cheaper fares and first air put them out before they got off the ground by matching their price, minus 10 bucks. And people bought the first air tickets instead. There was about to be another option but it had zero community support. Now the tears are running, but all those travelers are still 10$ richer.

  2. Posted by Dupped on

    Hey Northern Air Passenger, it was First Air that took over Canadian North. After they ran the First Air name into the ground they switched to the Canadian North name hasn’t taken Makavilk and the same First Air management smucks to ruin the Canadian North name as well.

  3. Posted by Ronald O’Brien on

    Is it unreasonable to expect better customer service from Canadian North?

    Perhaps the only situation that is more disappointing and frustrating than being a Canadian North customer is the sorry plight of being a Canadian North employee.

    Canadian North is one of the most poorly lead, and most inefficiently operated airlines I have encountered during my three decades in the Canadian aviation industry, but yet I have repeatedly witnessed well intentioned and extremely experienced Canadian North employees, who have valuable information and experience to share, gained while they worked for more profitable and more efficient airlines across the arctic, who offer expert observations regarding opportunities to modernize Canadian North, and increase its operational efficiency, and they are dismissively told by Canadian North “If you do not like how we do things here, you can go work somewhere else.”

    Canadian North’s toxic work environment continually hampers the airline’s ability to adequately serve customers.

    Far too many tasks assigned to Canadian North employees are a waste of time, and a waste of money, because they are the result of operational decisions based on outdated training, inadequate preparation, and inadequate communication. Informed decisions can only be made by informed people, and far too many decision makers at Canadian North clearly lack the education and experience required to fully understand the implications of the dumb and dangerous decisions they continually make. For practitioners of aeronautical science and organizational psychology, Canadian North is a fertile source of examples of what not to do.

    I have personally spoken to dozens of former Canadian North employees who were told on their very first day of work with Canadian North that their manager is absolutely useless, and their immediate supervisor has a long record of past and present formal complaints and suspensions, but the company refuses to do the right thing and fire them.

    Successful airlines continue to exist based on the hard work and dedication of a vast spectrum of highly trained, federally certified, aviation professionals. Why would these highly trained professionals wish to work for unqualified amateurs? The employer review websites are full of negative reviews of Canadian North written by excellent aviation professionals who were driven out of Canadian North, and I have repeatedly heard aviation professionals proudly proclaim “Quitting Canadian North was the best decision I ever made.”

    Canadian North’s faults and failures are the creation of people who have been promoted to positions beyond their level of comprehension and capability.

    Canadian North has the capacity to achieve greatness, but the organization’s most qualified and hardest working people are being restrained by ineffective leadership and incompetent management.

    While I was a Canadian North employee, a wise coworker observed “We are like an impoverished third world dictatorship. We have the potential to achieve greatness, but we are being suppressed by fools who will not listen to anyone else.”

    When aviation professionals examine the feasibility of airlines serving sparsely populated large geographic areas, be it across the Arctic, or across the islands of the Asia Pacific region, Canadian North stands out for being outdated both culturally and technologically.

    Is it unreasonable to expect better customer service from Canadian North?

    Of course not, Canadian North’s management should expect more from themselves.

    The current situation is simply inexcusable.

    • Posted by G-man Choi on

      This sounds familiar, the GN is run exactly the same way. It will never change up here in the North until the “Good old Boys” are finally gone. Right now so many people in high up jobs who haven’t a clue what they are doing, all just given promotions because of where they are from (ex:NFLD) and other buddy’s in high up places giving wives big paying jobs who haven’t got a clue what they are doing.

  4. Posted by Jennifer on

    Did anyone ask about the routes being part of the Trans-canada highway? Arcticmuit are really getting a screwball on this one.

  5. Posted by Ten Percent! on

    Maybe most Nunavummuit are dumb enough to buy it when this guy, making at least $500,000 a year, tells them with a straight face that they can only make 10% profit.
    As for me, I have no doubt that the cobweb of companies and subsidiary corporations makes this very very easy to bypass when it comes to the bottom line of the entire operation. This is exactly how these guys claim now that they lose millions, and during the pandemic how they lost millions, what they mean is that they have isolated the losses to one part of the web. Their auditors don’t exist to tell the truth, just to confirm the numbers match the spreadsheets supplied for individual companies. There is good reason why the books are not available. If these guys are basically entirely publically funded then part of their contracts with GN and Canada should be that they provide their books to government to examine.

  6. Posted by Oscar on

    Competition is what Nunavut needs plain and simple. The GN has CDN North in their pockets (and vise versa) to have a monopoly for Nunavut and most of NWT

  7. Posted by Remember on

    Remember when there was a third company? That offered a special but Canadian north and first air both beat it by $100 and you, you the consumer chose to save thst $100. Well guess what, you vote and sway society with your money. You reap what you sow.

  8. Posted by Resident on

    Canadian North has a very number of executive, very top heavy, not having trimmed the fat very much with many of the exciting e from first air and Canadian north. From my understanding the Executive’s exceed Air Canada executives.

    I wish they can be more transparent and show us the cost of their executive expenses as will so we won’t be so doubtful. This new CEO, an American, don’t trust those tycoons.

    They should also have included no bonuses for a fixed term until markets settle.

  9. Posted by Name withheld on

    Canadian North seems to be the only airline that I know of that does not provide seat sales!!

    • Posted by JOHNNY on

      I notice that too, when there were competing airlines , used to be seat sales, no more .

  10. Posted by Lucrative Bovines on

    We are their cash cows.

    Now stop bellowing and form line at the milking station.

  11. Posted by Okay on

    Merger will be good for customers they said, merger will keep the prices down they said, merger will improve the services they said but non of that has happened

  12. Posted by you can on

    Everyone complaining about Canadian North, you can start your own airline. Do something about it, build a better service. Easy to complain about everything, not easy to step up and build something.

    • Posted by Umingmak on

      What a ridiculous comment. Do you think we’re all millionaires here?

      I’ve always been against government ownership of corporations, but the GN and Government of Canada should have joint ownership of Canadian North. It is an essential piece of infrastructure for Northern Canada. It should not be a for-profit corporation.

    • Posted by northerner on

      reply to “you can”, you can join the party with that person who praised CN and saying instead of being a “complainer” to be more of an advocate *insert eyeroll*. You are ignorant, while it maybe ok for big business to eat up the cost of these flights, it is not for small business owners and the general public. CN is the only way in and out of NU in the Baffin region.

    • Posted by Ahahahaha! on

      If I can get $100m for free like they got from the GN over pandemic I can do it sure. If I can get endless indigenous government funding grants like Makivik and Western Inuit who own Canadian North get then I will too. Even the playing field and I’ll get it done by buying a couple Swoop planez

  13. Posted by Routes on

    Flight to next community from Iqaluit was $2900, a 50-minute flight. Your pricing regime forces to beg. And you turned the 50-minute flight into a 4-6 hours flight. Eating my time, because I have to fly north first and go through communities before I can go home. CN claimed many promises. Where is the promise you made to me? You earn government handouts and produce profits. Shame on the Nunavik shareholders!

  14. Posted by Northener on

    What became of the conversations regarding the ferry from our new deep sea port to Labrador during the summers

    • Posted by lol on

      Better to bet on teleportation happening before you see this or a land bridge.

  15. Posted by Insider on

    What do you expect from such an underqualified Executive? None of them have any credentials for the jobs they hold. None of them.

    • Posted by Ronald O’Brien on

      Canadian North demands that all its pilots, aircraft mechanics, and flight attendants be formally trained, assessed to prove their competence, and then be federally certified. Even the secretaries have to know how to type.

      There is no requirement for Canadian North managers to be trained, found competent, and certified as managers. Far too many ineffective and inefficient “managers” at Canadian North lack even the minimal awareness that would allow them to realize just how much they do not know about fundamental management best practices.

      Why would the managers at Canadian North be the only people in the organization who are amateurs rather than professionals?

      Would you ride in a taxi if you knew the driver did not have a driver’s license? Would you eat at a restaurant where nobody knew how to cook? If you invested the time and money to become federally certified as an aviation professional, why would you work for an unqualified and inexperienced fool who was desperately attempting to pretend to be a manager?

      University aviation management programs around the world constantly use Canadian North as a source of examples of what not to do. Canadian North’s former employees constantly inform those around them how disorganized, outdated, and inefficient they found Canadian North to be when compared to any other airline.

      After I left Canadian North my next manager held a project management professional certification, and I was amazed by how much more efficient and productive the workplace was. Workers require management to support them and provide the resources required to complete the tasks assigned to them. Far too many mangers at Canadian North seem to be incapable of being of even minimal assistance to anyone, and their mere existence is detrimental to everyone around them. At Canadian North it is common for many managers to be best described as “mismanagers”, or more to the point “a complete waste of oxygen”.

      Friday evening I met a fellow aviation professional at a pub in Yellowknife, and after reading this news item he asked me “What is the difference between the Boy Scouts and Canadian North?”. When I responded “What?” , I was informed “The Boy Scouts have adult supervision”.

  16. Posted by Truestory on

    I’m pretty sure, they’ll jack up the prices again. Them head honchos love their bonuses.

    • Posted by tuktuborel on

      Yes they will. Just checked the fall prices and they are up at least $400.00 from a month or two ago.

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