Air Canada says that talks with the union representing 3,000 pilots are scheduled to continue this week and it remains confident a work stoppage can be avoided as a key deadline approaches.

The airline and its pilots have been in contract talks for over a year.

The two sides are set to get back to the bargaining table this week after a 21-day cooling-off period from discussions with a federally appointed conciliator.

Both sides are legally barred from taking any further action until the cooling-off period ends at 12:01 a.m. ET on Tuesday. At that time, Air Canada could file a 72-hour notice of a lockout, meaning a work stoppage could begin as early as Friday.

"Talks are scheduled beyond the deadline with a federally appointed conciliator," said Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick. "It is business as usual, and customers can continue to make their travel plans and book with confidence."

Strike vote continues

The pilots represented by the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) are currently voting on whether to give the union a mandate to strike, with the results of the vote expected by 5 p.m. ET Tuesday. At that time, the ACPA could file its own 72-hour notice of a strike if the pilots back a strike mandate.

The ACPA has repeatedly stated it does not want to strike, although it feels the company's position "threatens our entire flying careers," according to a memo sent out by Capt. Gary Tarves, chairman of the ACPA.

Tarves said the airline's "rigid position" raises "the possibility that it simply seeks to run out the legislated time clock and lead us toward an escalation."

The airline has made it clear it will not impose a contract in the short term, although it has the legal right to do so at 12:01 a.m ET on Tuesday.

With files from The Canadian Press