Aeroplan Days – In support of Dans la rue!

Can you imagine living on the street? Most of us can’t, and before October 12, most Aeroplan Employees hadn’t thought much about it either. During Aeroplan’s annual “Aeroplan Days” the focus was simply that. Raising awareness, raising money and learning more about the conditions in which homeless youth live. This year, the goal was simple, raise money for Dans la rue, a Montreal organization dedicated to supporting homeless youth.

The great thing about Aeroplan Days is that most of the event is a complete secret to employees. The only thing they knew was that we were supporting Dans la rue and there was the option to sleep on the street for 1 night to help raise awareness of homelessness. Employees were also able to raise money for Dans la rue online.

Day 1

The day started at the Montreal office, where more than 300 Aeroplan Employees from Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver were greeted by school buses taking them to an undisclosed location. Employees were transported “Espace Griffintown” which was decorated by art and photography produced by Dans la rue youth. It was extremely special.

Aki Tchitacov, executive director of Dans la rue, spoke to us about the alarming statistics of youth living on the street and how Dans la rue support them. We then listened to Joe Roberts, known as the Skid Row CEO, who told us his story about living on the streets in Vancouver for several years before reaching out to get help and eventually becoming a CEO of his own company.

Joe Roberts announced the first surprise task of the day for employees – making sandwiches that were then handed out to the youth living in Montréal. Employees took the task to heart and made over 1,000 sandwiches in approximately 10 minutes!

The following task was something that Joe Roberts was very familiar with. The employees were broken up into teams and were asked to head to various Metro stations to try and raise money for Dans la rue. Everyone put 100% into the task and accepted the challenge. Here are some of teams raising money:

Employees raised over $13,000 in only 2 hours! Great job guys! And THANK YOU to all the Montrealers who gave generously!

Following the Metro task, the teams headed back to the Espace Griffintown and enjoyed dinner and some entertainment before heading home. Well most employees headed home. Over 130 employees traded in their comfortable beds and slept outside in the Bell Centre parking lot in support of Dans la rue.

Sleep Out

Employees taking part in the sleep out headed to the Bell Centre at around 10pm. Joe Roberts joined the group and advised them that the only thing they need to know about sleeping outside is to keep warm. By around 2am, most employees started to doze off.



Here is what some of our employees said during the sleepout:
“Difficult but rewarding night in my cardboard shelter. A humbling experience that will be forever remembered”
“It’s 5am and I didn’t sleep. I’m proud of what we have done”

Day 2

For the employees who slept outside, most of them woke up at around 6am. It’s not easy to sleep in when you’re sleeping on concrete. One employee tweeted: “Whole new respect for a comfortable bed, and quiet.” Other employees took the challenge to a whole new level and actually constructed a shelter to sleep in. Others slept under the stars with no shelter at all.

It was finally time to reveal the total amount that Aeroplan Employees raised for Dans la rue. After some online fundraising by individual employees and the teams raising money at the Metro stations the day before, Aeroplan Employees raised an impressive $38,000!

A grand total of $79,000 was given to Dans la rue!

Employees who slept outside!

“Supporting our local communities is a big part of our culture at Aeroplan and a key objective,” said Kevin O’Brien, Chief Commerical Officer, Aeroplan. “This experience gave our employees an opportunity to assist homeless youth and the money raised by our employees will go a long way in supporting key services at Dans la rue and help to build a stronger community.”

“Dans la rue is pleased to be partnering with Aeroplan and its employees during their Aeroplan Days event,” said Aki Tchitacov, Executive Director of Dans la rue. “It is important to realize that one person CAN make a difference. Each and every employee’s action will have a considerable impact not only on the lives of our youth, but on every person they encounter on the streets during these 2 days. They will bring about positive change.”
The entire experience was truly memorable and every employee who took part in this year’s Aeroplan Days will not forget what they experienced.

For more information on this event please visit:

2 Responses to “Aeroplan Days – In support of Dans la rue!”

  1. Joe McQuaid September 8, 2012 at 3:01 pm #


    Frankly, your request for more information is truly inconvenient and further delay to making a terrible experience right.
    It’s a simple request that I have put forward to you. The points that we’re used for my wife and daughter to travel 1st class did not materialize.
    The discrepancy can be resolved with a reimbursement of the points to my account.
    My family’s experience was a travesty of what was once a good membership – a great service found in the Aeroplan program.
    I am not impressed with your response to my request and I’ll share my experience with Aeroplan with as many people/organizations as I can.
    It’s disappointing that your company has evolved into another Air Canada fiasco.

    Joe McQuaid

  2. Jenny Dhanji June 6, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    I am disgusted with aeroplan. I was a member right from the outset. But now my aeroplan points have been confiscated. I wrote a letter regarding this and the aeroplan office has not had the decency to reply. My loyalty is no longer with aeroplan.