- The two Montreal-based global aviation companies continue their support of women in aviation, doubling the number of scholarship recipients
Today, on International Women's Day, Air Canada and CAE announced the recipients of the 2023 Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to Canadian women studying to become commercial pilots or aircraft maintenance engineers. This year, the two Montreal-based global aviation companies have joined forces to double the number of recipients, awarding scholarships to eight young women from across Canada. In addition to the $5,000 scholarship, CAE’s four recipients will become CAE Women in Flight – Air Canada Ambassadors and help inspire more women to become commercial pilots.
The Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship was established in honour of Air Canada's first female pilot to help foster the next generation of women following in her trailblazing footsteps and is awarded annually in conjunction with the Northern Lights Aero Foundation.
“Air Canada is extremely proud of the leadership position it has taken in cultivating diversity, equity and inclusion in the aviation industry, with women well represented at every level and across all branches of the airline. On International Women’s Day, being able to provide support to these incredibly talented and driven young women through the Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship firmly demonstrates Air Canada and CAE’s work fostering the next generation of women in their pursuit of careers in this exciting industry. We know how crucial this support is to young women seeking non-traditional aviation careers, and we have seen results first-hand from the success of past winners. Congratulations to this year’s winners,” said Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer and Public Affairs at Air Canada.
“When we relaunched the CAE Women in Flight Ambassador program last year, our objective was to grow the movement, and we are thrilled to partner with Air Canada to support more women pursuing careers in aviation. Today, the fruits of that partnership are being seen as eight women from diverse backgrounds get a well-deserved boost to continue their training, said Nick Leontidis, CAE’s Group President, Civil Aviation. “Diversity equity and inclusion are core values at CAE. Currently, only five percent of commercial pilots are women, and our newest Women in Flight Ambassadors will join six others to help spread the word about this exciting profession and serve as role models to young women who aspire to a career at the controls of a commercial airliner.”
“I am delighted that Air Canada and CAE have partnered to double the number of Captain Judy Cameron scholarships for 2023. Each recipient has shown great determination in their training, and the willingness to encourage and inspire others in their aviation journey. As the scholarship goes into its fourth year, it is wonderful to hear the success stories of former recipients. Two women are flying as First Officers, another is a fire patrol pilot, and two more are flight instructors. Thank you to Air Canada and CAE for helping to make their dreams a reality,” said Judy Cameron, Boeing 777 Captain at Air Canada (retired), and Director of the Northern Lights Aero Foundation.
Air Canada winners of the Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship are:
- Amanda Tosto, Surrey, British Columbia
- Hélène Trudeau, Beausejour, Manitoba
- Charlotte Thorley, Grimsby, Ontario
- Chanelle Wilson, Coldstream, British Columbia
CAE Women in Flight ambassadors:
- Meera Bissonauth, Mississauga, Ontario
- Mia Cochran, North Bay, Ontario
- Jaime Hanson, Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
- Kyra Jarvis, Kingston, Nova Scotia
For more information on each of this year’s winners, please visit the Air Canada Media Centre and watch this video.
About Captain Judy Cameron
Judy Cameron became the first female pilot hired by Air Canada, Canada's largest airline, in April 1978 at the age of 23. She was the first woman to graduate from Selkirk College's Aviation Technology Program in 1975. Throughout her flying career of 40 years and over 23,000 hours, she has flown the DC-3, Twin Otter, Hawker Siddeley 748, DC-9, Lockheed 1011, Airbus 320, Boeing 767, and Boeing 777 to the far corners of the world. She became a captain in 1997 and in 2010, she became the first female captain in Canada of a Boeing 777, the largest aircraft in Air Canada's fleet. She retired in 2015, received the Elsie MacGill Northern Lights award in the Flight Operations category that year, and in 2016 she was chosen by the 99s (International Organization of Women Pilots) to be on its Canadian postage stamp.
In 2019, Air Canada committed to awarding $20,000 per year for three years toward the Captain Judy Cameron scholarship, and in 2021 re-committed its support for an additional three years. Last year, CAE added its support to the scholarship through its Women in Flight ambassador program.
The Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship is open to women who are Canadian citizens and who are enrolled in a fixed wing aviation flight program at a college, university, or flight school, or an aircraft repair and maintenance program anywhere in Canada.
The Scholarship is administered by the Northern Lights Aero Foundation, which inspires and celebrates Canadian women in aviation and aerospace with mentorship, scholarships, a speaker's bureau, and junior board, along with an annual award event.
About Air Canada
Air Canada is Canada's largest airline, the country’s flag carrier and a founding member of Star Alliance, the world's most comprehensive air transportation network. Air Canada provides scheduled passenger service directly to 51 airports in Canada, 51 in the United States and 88 internationally. It holds a Four-Star ranking from Skytrax. Air Canada’s Aeroplan program is Canada’s premier travel loyalty program, where members can earn or redeem points on the world’s largest airline partner network of 45 airlines, plus through an extensive range of merchandise, hotel and car rental rewards. Its freight division, Air Canada Cargo, provides air freight lift and connectivity to hundreds of destinations across six continents using Air Canada’s passenger flights and cargo-only flights with its fleet of Boeing 767-300 freighters. Air Canada has committed to a net zero emissions goal from all global operations by 2050.
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About CAE Women in Flight Ambassador Program
The CAE Women in Flight Ambassador program is helping to create a movement that encourages young girls and women to dream big and have no limits. Because women make up only five percent of commercial pilots worldwide, this program shows women that they, too, can reach for the sky. CAE is partnering with airline customers globally to provide partially funded and fully funded pilot training scholarships to deserving women who also become program ambassadors who inform and inspire other women to become pilots.
The program was launched in 2018 and expanded in July 2022 to grow the movement by forging partnerships with more airline customers. Initially, the program was limited to candidates enrolled in one of CAE's airline-sponsored cadet training programs. However, with the program's evolution, CAE now matches existing airline scholarships. The program aims to build a community of ambassadors who demonstrate leadership skills, active community involvement, perseverance, and passion for aviation and can inspire women to join the pilot profession.
To learn more about the program, go to CAE Women in Flight Ambassador Program | CAE
At CAE, we equip people in critical roles with the expertise and solutions to create a safer world. As a technology company, we digitalize the physical world, deploying simulation training and critical operations support solutions. Above all else, we empower pilots, airlines, defence and security forces, and healthcare practitioners to perform at their best every day and when the stakes are the highest. Around the globe, we’re everywhere customers need us to be with more than 13,000 employees in more than 200 sites and training locations in over 40 countries. CAE represents 75 years of industry firsts—the highest-fidelity flight and mission simulators, surgical manikins, and personalized training programs powered by artificial intelligence. We’re investing our time and resources into building the next generation of cutting-edge, digitally immersive training and critical operations solutions while keeping positive environmental, social and governance (ESG) impact at the core of our mission. Today and tomorrow, we’ll make sure our customers are ready for the moments that matter. Read our FY22 Annual activity and corporate social responsibility report.