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Policy last updated: November 18, 2023
VIA Rail Canada Inc. ("VIA" or "we") is a federal Crown corporation and is required to abide by the Privacy Act of Canada (R.S.C. 1985, c. P-21) (the "Act"). The Act protects your personal information against any disclosure or use that is inconsistent with the purposes for which the information was provided. Moreover, the Act gives any individual the right to access their own personal information, to request that this information be corrected or to demand that the information be withdrawn from databases or any other systems where it is stored.
This Policy may be supplemented from time to time by other consents you provide us and by the terms and conditions you agree to in connection with the purchase of products or services, or contests if you enter them.
Please note that you can consult your travel history on our trains and obtain other relevant information such as a summary of your transactions (for taxation purposes or other) by accessing your VIA Profile.
Personal information is information that identifies you, such as your first and last name, mailing address, e-mail address, telephone number, fax number, credit card number, medical certificate, information contained in your resume and opinion.
We collect information at various levels. Some information is personal, some is collected for statistical purposes and some is used to improve the navigation experience on our Website (cookie files).
You will be informed when personal information is required for a transaction, the creation of a VIA Profile, a contest or survey, for any other VIA service or to apply for a job with us. Only the requested information marked with an asterisk must be provided; the rest of the information is not mandatory.
This information is collected primarily when you perform one of the following actions:
- When providing information voluntarily on our Website or to our personnel: for example, when creating a VIA Profile, by chatting with our personnel, when buying a train ticket online, by telephone or from a ticket office, when signing up for one of our newsletters;
- When responding to the surveys sent to you (which may be done on our behalf by a third party);
- When making comments on our Website, on our social media accounts or by email;
- When applying for a job with VIA online, by email or by mail;
- When speaking on the phone with us: when recorded, we may collect information from audio tapes of calls we receive from our customers at our telephone sales offices, and calls made by our customer service representatives. These audio tapes are used for performance assessment, training and quality assurance purposes;
- Through video surveillance that we use as a security measure on our premises (trains, offices, stations, railroads, maintenance centers etc.) to ensure the safety of our passengers and staff on these properties as well as to secure our assets and infrastructure.
In addition, if you make a request for special needs, such as on-board assistance, a special meal or an unaccompanied minor, we will collect personal information that is deemed sensitive but necessary to fulfill your request. This information may include medical information (your physical and mental health) and your religious beliefs, and you will be notified at the time of collection. This sensitive personal information will only be collected and used to fulfill your special needs' request and to fulfill our obligations.
Finally, from time to time, other personal information may be required by any government authority including Transport Canada under the Railway Safety Act or any applicable laws and regulations to allow you to travel on our trains or access our facilities. This information may include identity and medical information as well as information about your religious beliefs.
If you are purchasing a ticket on behalf of another person, including a family member, friend, or colleague, we consider that you have obtained that person's consent and authorization to provide us with that person's personal information required to complete their ticket purchase. By providing the email address of this person, they will receive their boarding pass including the number of your reservation. This person will be able to use their full name and reservation number to view the reservation (including information about other passengers on the same reservation) and make changes to it. If you do not want this person to be able to obtain information about you or make changes to your reservation, you should not provide us with their email address.
If another person, including a family member, friend or colleague attempts to purchase a ticket on your behalf, they must provide the same personal information that you would normally provide to make your reservation.
We consider that person to have your consent and authorization to provide us with your personal information for the relevant purposes described in this Policy, unless otherwise indicated.
Please be advised that if someone has your full name and reservation number for any reason and contacts us and requests information about your reservation or wishes to make changes to your reservation, we will disclose your reservation information and allow that person to make the desired changes, as we will consider that you have given them permission to do so. If you do not want a third party to be able to obtain information about you or make changes to your reservation, you should avoid giving them your reservation number.
If you have purchased any of our products and services through a travel agency or tour operator, we will consider that you have consented to that intermediary providing us with the personal information necessary for the transaction.
In order to provide appropriate services to an unaccompanied minor, we collect personal information about that minor. Among others, when requesting travel (VIA 85-K5909), we may request a letter from a physician if the child suffers from a severe allergy. In addition, for security purposes and to identify the unaccompanied minor, the date of birth is required in all cases and the name, address and number of the authorized person to greet the minor at the arrival station. We consider that you have the authority to provide us with this personal information and the consent of any authorized person listed in the application to allow us to use this personal information.
As with personal information from other passengers, the information of minors is protected by the Act. Under the Act, a parent or guardian may request access to a minor's personal information on behalf of the minor and may request correction of the information if it is inaccurate or incomplete, or require the removal of the information, as well as withdrawing any consent the minor may have given to receive commercial e-mail messages. The minor's e-mail address is not mandatory information.
Please note that any purchase made for a minor child is presumed to be made by a person with the proper authority, capacity, and authorization to do so. That, furthermore, since we do not collect the date of birth of our passengers, we have no way of knowing whether a reservation, a VIA Profile relates to a minor or not (unless using special fares or unaccompanied minor service).
We use the information you provide or create in order to communicate with you, provide you with the services you requested, to identify you for security purposes, to improve our services, develop new offerings, and allow our Customer representatives to improve your customer experience. We also use it to handle customer service issues, such as travel bookings or any related questions you may have. It also allows us to monitor and maintain the quality of our services, for example, to track or record telephone conversations with our representatives for quality assurance purposes.
Some personal information is required, such as when you purchase train tickets, contact our customer service, take part in surveys or contests, create a VIA Profile or apply for a job with us. Credit card numbers are used exclusively for processing payments, and not for any other purpose.
We conduct at the time research studies to better understand our client's experiences in a view to continuously improve our products and services. For participants of research studies: the personal information you agree to share may be linked to your VIA Profile to enable us to offer you services and products suited to your respective preferences and needs.
Finally, we may also use your personal information to comply with a legal obligation or for other purposes to which you may consent, or as permitted or required by any applicable law.
Personal information may be kept as a hard copy or in electronic form. Personal information is protected by the implementation of physical, organizational and security measures that are suitable for each data type. Access to personal information is limited to those individuals who need it to provide VIA services. As far as transactions by credit card are concerned, we abide by the norms of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which ensures the protection of personal information associated with credit cards.
We use contractual and other means to ensure that your personal information is afforded protection that meets the requirements of privacy laws whenever one of our third-party service providers is used to perform services on our behalf.
To ensure the confidentiality of your login information or credentials, you should not share your login credentials with anyone. When you book a travel, you receive a confirmation number for the reservation. The confirmation number for the reservation should not be shared as it may give others access to your travel itinerary.
We only share personal information with third parties in accordance with this Policy. We may provide personal information to its service providers and professional consultants (who are subject to personal information protection requirements by virtue of their contract with us), only in connection with our activities requiring the use of this information, and only for the purposes for which the information was collected.
Occasionally, we may share your personal information with third party business partners, such as travel agencies or tour operators with whom you have purchased our products and services.
The same applies to alternative transportation services for which you have made a reservation through our Website, our station staff or our Customer Service.
We may transfer personal information outside of Canada for processing purposes for the reasons stated in this Policy.
We never disclose your personal information without your consent to third parties for purposes other than those for which this information was collected, unless we are obliged to do so by law or by court order. Furthermore, under the Act, we have an obligation to inform the Privacy Commissioner of Canada in writing before making any disclosure or use of personal information for purposes other than those for which this information was obtained.
Finally, in order to fulfill our legal obligations as a railway company, we are required to comply with the Railway Safety Act, which requires us to provide government authorities, including Transport Canada, with access to information about our passengers. As a result, your personal information and travel arrangements may be shared with government authorities to comply with applicable requirements and to ensure the safety of our customers, passengers, and employees.
We will retain personal information for the purposes stated in this Policy for as long as legally required or another reasonable amount of time in the absence of legislative requirements. At the end of the retention period, personal information will then be disposed of in a secure manner.
As a business entity, we send commercial electronic messages as part of our marketing strategy and customer service. By creating your VIA Profile or subscribing to our Newsletter, you can expressly consent to be added or not to our email list which will be used to send you offers and promotions.
Unless you have withdrawn any consent or expressly declined to be added to our email list, as soon as you purchase a product, book your travel or travel with us you (or any other passenger if you are booking a ticket for another passenger and you provide us with their email address) implicitly consent to being added to our email list.
If you do not wish to receive commercial electronic messages from us, you may withdraw your consent at any time by simply changing your VIA Profile or by following the instructions on how to unsubscribe included in every email sent by us. If you later change your mind, it is just as simple to opt back in.
Please note that operational emails are not commercial electronic messages as they contain relevant information that must be communicated to you including, but not limited to, emails containing information on purchases or transactions made, emails concerning any changes to the VIA Préférence program or emails containing travel related information, for instance delayed trains. Consequently, we will continue to send such messages when needed.
Our Website may contain links to other Websites, outside the VIA Website. By clicking on these links, you will be automatically directed to these sites. We ask you to read the privacy policies on these sites, as these policies may be different from our policy. We cannot, under any circumstances, be held responsible for content displayed on the other sites or for any disadvantages that might arise from browsing these sites.
In accordance with the Act, you have the right to request access to any of your personal information that we possess. You also have the right to request a correction of any information that is erroneous or incomplete, or to request that this information be withdrawn or disposed of.
Please click here or more information on how to make a request.
You are responsible for providing accurate personal information and ensuring that it is up to date. For customers with a VIA Profile you can keep your profile up to date by logging into viarail.ca.
Our Policy may be changed without notice from time to time, including to reflect changes in our business and technological, legal and regulatory developments. Any changes will be effective upon posting on our Website. We therefore advise you to consult this page periodically. If we make material changes to the Policy, we will post a notice on our Website. By using our Website, products or services after the posting of the amended Policy, you will be deemed to have accepted any changes to the Policy.
Please contact us with any questions or suggestions you may have concerning this Policy as follows:
By email: ATIP@viarail.ca
Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Office
VIA Rail Canada Inc.
3 Place Ville Marie, Suite 500
Montreal, Quebec H3B 2C9