Brian Wachko for Regional VP

Greetings Winnipeg CANSA Members

For those who I haven’t had the opportunity to introduce myself, I’m Brian Wachko; I’m the latest CANSA addition to the Winnipeg FIR, currently training in ATOS.

I’m both a new addition to the Winnipeg FIR and a past colleague. I have been with the organization for 25 years and have been a shop steward and provided support to the various union structures and name changes over my career.

I started my career as a Winnipeg IFR student, and then I became a Winnipeg TSS (previous title of the OTS group). I worked for over 3 years in Winnipeg in the simulator, and then worked in the Edmonton simulator for a few years before accepting a position in Ottawa supporting simulation on a National level.

I was actively involved and very successful in my own job reclassification. I also assisted other groups both within and external to our bargaining group, providing guidance on capturing their roles and providing justification to ratings.

While I was in Ottawa, I was part of the many technological changes to simulation and international projects. I was involved with CAATS, starting from its early design phases to its current evolution, I performed research for NAV CANADA and external customers on Spaced Based ADSB, and developed and prototyped the existing EXCDS architecture currently used in simulation across the company to name a few projects. This diversity has allowed me to work with and build strong professional relationships with other bargaining groups and upper management alike.

One of my most challenging and widely unseen contributions to the union was during the UFA voice recognition software roll out. For those who were in simulation at that time, you may be aware that the original concept was that staffing levels were to drop to 4 staff per site. Some sites and staff were even declared surplus and put on notice for staffing reductions. I successfully lobbied NAV CANADA to expand the access to training for all TSS/OTS staff regardless of staffing targets and provided site training to all staff who wanted to be trained. This allowed the bargaining groups to expand its knowledge and skill base and paved the way for expansion of OTS staffing numbers across the company. I worked with the union and continued to train and publicly speak to all staff as to the merits of expanding their training. All while continuing to lobby the company to reassess the staffing levels and utilize this new pool of expertise. I stood for both staffing increases and training opportunities for everyone to ensure anyone wanting to stay with NAV CANADA had the opportunity to grow with the new technology.

I lobbied National training and was the primary influencer that started, developed, and facilitated the yearly OTS conferences to provide an opportunity for staff across the company to share simulation ideas and best practices in their day to day work lives. It has since become a yearly event spanning 1 week for each main simulation system.

While working for NAV CANADA and with the support and encouragement from my managers and directors, I obtained my Degree in Adult Education from Brock University. I’m an educator at heart and I believe in a collaborative approach to bargaining and negotiation. Through collaboration, the greatest gains can be achieved in the short and long term.

I believe in mutual respect for all members and management alike and fair and equal treatment. I have found this approach to be mutually beneficial to all parties and provide the greatest positive impact for everyone involved.

I’m well versed in current and past collective agreements and many other company supported programs and documents which augment and guide the policies in which we work under.

We have many articles and policies that are based on Management Discretion. Without a well supported, collaborative working approach, these programs and articles do not get past the pages of a document.

Along with my time within the company, I have over 30 years in Emergency Services, the last 20 which have been an active fire fighter. My fire credentials are internationally accredited and I have provided training, guidance, peer support, and stress counselling. I have led and managed speciality teams within very high stress situations. I have worked in extreme environments with challenging rotations in shift hours and I’m well aware of the short and long term impact of shift work and Fatigue Management on employees.

Current operational staffing shortages are impacting and putting stresses on the training department. Combine this with the recently announced airspace changes in the Winnipeg FIR, this will add to the demands placed on training.

ATOS is also not immune to the airspace changes and the demands that will placed upon them moving forward.

Transport Canada has instructed the company to address Fatigue Management. This has the potential to cause a huge paradigm shift in staffing numbers, frequency of shifts, and types of shift to name a few. I have already started to review some of the initial Transport Canada guidelines being placed on airline pilots; this framework has long lasting implications if implemented in a similar format within NAV CANADA. There are many different matrix and choices that can be developed within varying shift schedules. These options need to be explored to provide flexibility and choices to staff. Like many other organizations that involve rotational shift work, there are positive solutions while providing stability and allow staff to work within normal circadian rhythms. With effective research and open dialogue, changes can both meet new guidelines and have a positive impact on staff.

  • I believe in looking for the best solution with open dialogue with the members and management alike.

  • I believe in fair and equal representation for all members.

  • I believe in sufficient staffing to allow members to expand their skill set in their current roles so they are well prepared and equipped to take on new challenges within the organization when opportunities become available.

  • I believe in effective work life balance so everyone has the opportunity to enjoy life, family, and explore outside interest.

When voting, consider who you would like to represent you as an individual, as a working group, and as the Winnipeg bargaining group both at a local and National level.

Regardless who you support, I encourage you all to exercise your right to vote.

In Solidarity


During the election period I will be out of town finalizing my move from Ottawa, but feel free to reach out via email, phone, or text if you have any questions. / / (431) 997-4309