MONTREAL - A class-action lawsuit seeking up to $1 billion has been filed on behalf of former employees of shuttered aircraft maintenance company Aveos against Air Canada and the governments of Quebec and Canada.

The request for court certification was filed in Quebec Superior Court by lawyer Jean-Francois Bertrand on behalf of former employee Gilbert McMullen.

It alleges that the governments are responsible for harming former Aveos workers by their "flagrant and deliberate violation" of the federal law governing Air Canada.

After the closure of Aveos Fleet Performance in 2012 -- which had 2,600 employees, including 1,800 in Montreal -- McMullen was unable to find work for a year and a half, according to the statement of claim. It says he had to borrow money to support his family and was later hired by AJ Walter Technique in 2013 at lower wages.

The claim is seeking compensation for lost income excluding benefits, along with punitive and non-punitive damages.

Under the 1988 Air Canada Public Participation Act that permitted the airline's privatization, Air Canada (TSX:AC) was required to perform heavy maintenance on its fleet in Montreal, Winnipeg and Mississauga, Ont.