Beginning of the main content.
Love connecting Indigenous people throughout Canada
Engaging with Indigenous communities
VIA Rail connects Indigenous communities across Canada and proudly maintains strong relationships with various Indigenous non-profits and organizations to assist in local events. Travelling by train helps ensure the wellbeing of future generations.VIA Rail’s Indigenous Relations Policy VIA Rail’s Leadership Statement
Supporting economic development
By partnering with organizations such as the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB), VIA Rail has committed to cultivating lasting relationships with Indigenous companies, while prioritizing their growth through economic activities made possible by the train.
Promoting an inclusive and diverse workplace
VIA Rail is dedicated to increasing the representation of Indigenous people in its workforce and providing an environment that’s progressive, stimulating and welcoming. VIA is also launching several large-scale projects, such as the introduction of a new, more eco-friendly fleet.
Such forward-thinking initiatives have spurred demand for skilled individuals on board, in stations, at maintenance centres, as well as within VIA’s teams of professionals and executives.
Instructions and conditions for booking
- Step 1
- Create a VIA Rail profile Create a VIA Rail profile or log in;
- Step 2
- You may also contact VIA Rail customer service at 1 888 VIA-RAIL (1 888 842-7245) or 1 800 268-9503 (for the hearing impaired);
- Step 3
Book a one-way or roundtrip ticket by choosing the class and price plan that is not marked as “discounted”.
On the “Passenger Information” screen, select the “Promotional or Convention Discount”, and enter the discount code “13299” (no serial number is required).
- Step 4
Once on board, passengers must present one of the following pieces of ID.
Secure Certificate of Indian Status (SCIS)
Métis National Council (and its regional organizations) :
Métis Nation of Ontario, Manitoba Métis Federation, Métis Nation of Saskatchewan, Métis Nation of Alberta, Métis Nation British Columbia
Inuit Land Claim Beneficiary Cards :
Nunavut, Nunatsiavut, Inuvialuit Region, Nunavik
No ID is required for children 15 or under if they are accompanied by an adult with the appropriate documentation.
Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) and affliates
- The discount does not apply to rates for Prestige or Sleeper classes on Discount Tuesdays.
- The 33% discount applies to the full base fare (Economy Plus, Business Plus, Sleeper Plus undiscounted and Touring), prior to any other fare plan being applied. Our website displays the lowest available fare in each fare category at the time of booking; note that the full base fare may only display on trains which are heavily booked. Passengers who wish to know what the full, undiscounted base fare is may contact a VIA agent, we will be able to provide the undiscounted base fare even if it currently does not show on our website. Other booking classes might offer lower rates. VIA Rail recommends you check the different classes to ensure you pay the lowest fare possible for your travel needs.
- If you are travelling between two reserves, you will not have to pay GST. Note: Some Indigenous statuses may be eligible for a GST exemption. This option is NOT available when booking online. Eligible passengers wishing to take advantage of the exemption must book directly with a VIA agent or with a travel agent and pick up their tickets directly from a train station.
- QST applies on all taxable services provided off reservation.
The Government of Ontario announced that as of September 1, 2010, First Nations card holders are exempt from the provincial part of the HST for eligible off-reserve purchases only. Passenger transportation is not part of the eligible purchases. First Nations card holders must therefore pay HST. Passengers presenting other types of ID: please apply for the “Certificate of Indian Status” card through the Canadian government.
VIA Rail Indigenous Relations Policy
Ever since its establishment in 1977, VIA Rail has been proud to engage with Canadians, connecting citizens from urban and rural regions alike, and strengthening cultural and economic interconnectedness. As such, we are proud to serve Indigenous communities from coast to coast as well as provide them with an Indigenous People discount that provides them a 33% discount on regular VIA Rail fares. Beyond physical services, it is the spirit of collaboration and reconciliation that drives us in establishing lasting economic partnerships through targeted recruitment policies and procurement initiatives. Looking ahead, VIA Rail is committed to working hand in hand with the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Businesses to attain the Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) certification.
Relationship building – VIA Rail commits to maintaining and enhancing relationships with Indigenous communities. This engagement includes information sharing regarding proposed projects and future plans, collaboration on community ventures and celebrations, and strengthening efforts to share opportunities that facilitate prosperity and growth.
Business development and partnerships – We are committed to developing strategies in key areas including employment, business development, and community support with Indigenous businesses and the communities along the routes we serve. We will work to enhance our employees’ understanding of Indigenous culture, and the role that Indigenous people and communities play in the rail industry.
Community investment – VIA Rail will continue to identify and work in partnership with Indigenous communities to support local initiatives, through the investment of time and the provision of transportation resources. VIA Rail will build respectful and lasting relationships by leveraging existing and future rail services to assist in the organization, development, and delivery of grassroots community activities, as well as facilitate intercommunity relations by providing a means of transportation for people and necessary goods/resources.
Indigenous employment – VIA Rail will work to build strong partnerships and business relationships with local Indigenous groups and communities while enhancing our employees and managers’ understanding of the culture and reality of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Through our strong partnerships, we will identify opportunities and define strategies to recruit and engage Indigenous employees.
As VIA Rail strengthens ties with Indigenous communities, we will continue to:
- Recognize and appreciate the unique culture and values of Indigenous peoples in Canada;
- Collaborate with Indigenous leadership and communities to develop more respectful, inclusive, and representative business practices;
- Encourage Indigenous recruitment and engagement in order to increase Indigenous representation and participation in VIA Rail operations;
- Provide a safe, reliable, and accessible service, in alignment with our mandate, serving a number of Indigenous communities throughout our network;
- Respect and acknowledge the diverse perspectives of Indigenous peoples in Canada through meaningful relations and open dialogue.
October 2, 2018
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
2 Berkeley Street, Suite 202
Dear President and CEO Jean Paul Gladu,
It is with humility and respect that VIA Rail Canada submits the following Indigenous Relations leadership statement, as a part of our Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) Committed Criteria Phase One Submission.
VIA Rail operates Canada’s national passenger rail service on behalf of the Government of Canada since 1977. After its creation, VIA Rail pursued the legacy of passenger rail service which was once provided by the Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific (CP) railways. Today, VIA Rail still operates its passengers trains on tracks which belong to these freight railways. Over 97% of VIA Rail’s national network is on shared infrastructure with freight rail lines such as CN and CP.
VIA Rail aims to reflect Canadians’ values and to improve the mobility, health, environment, and quality of life of Canadians. Recognizing the need to renew our relationship with Indigenous peoples, VIA Rail understands that it has an important role to play on this path toward reconciliation.
Our vision is to make cities and communities more accessible, connected and sustainable. A safe and integrated transportation system, which responds to the needs of passengers, can only be realized by meaningfully engaging and partnering with the communities we serve. To this end, VIA Rail is building relationships with Indigenous groups, communities, and businesses. We are focused on working with these groups in a transparent, respectful, and mutually beneficial way.
As part of its sustainable mobility strategy and its desire to build on its initial offering of a 33% Indigenous peoples discount on train fares, VIA Rail is seeking to build and strengthen its relations with Indigenous communities by prioritizing inclusive growth and economic reconciliation strategies. Through newly established partnerships with organizations such as the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB), VIA Rail is committed to supporting economic development in communities by ensuring Indigenous businesses can participate in the economic activities generated by our train operations. Additionally, VIA Rail remains dedicated to facilitating the increased representation of Indigenous people in our workforce. We are committed to maintaining and enhancing relationships with Indigenous communities. This engagement includes information sharing regarding proposed projects and future plans, collaboration on community ventures and celebrations, and strengthening efforts to share opportunities that facilitate prosperity and growth.
We take this work seriously and humbly embark on this journey.
President and Chief Executive Officer
VIA Rail Canada inc.