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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their own personal information, to request that this information be corrected or to demand that the information be withdrawn from databases or any other systems where it is stored.
The aim of VIA’s Policy is to govern the collection, use and disclosure of personal information, in accordance with the requirements of the Act, whether this information is collected through our Website, our mobile application, our customer service centers or otherwise. The protection of your personal information is very important to VIA and remains a priority in all our business areas.
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 traveller profile. This link will open in a new tab.
The information we collect
VIA collects 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). VIA informs you when personal information is required for a transaction, a contest or survey, or for any other VIA service. Only the requested information marked with an asterisk must be provided; the rest of the information is not mandatory.
Personal information is information that makes it possible to identify you, such as your name, mailing address, email address, telephone number, fax number, credit card number, expiry date and security code, information contained in your resume and your personal opinions. 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 you create a traveller profile, when buying a train ticket online, by telephone or from a ticket office, when creating a VIA Preference account or when signing up for one of our electronic newsletters;
- When responding to the surveys sent to you;
- 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 VIA: when recorded, VIA may collect information from audio tapes of calls VIA receives 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, quality assurance and consent management purposes;
In providing our services to you, we may, in some circumstances, collect personal information that is considered sensitive because it may relate to your physical or mental health or your religious beliefs.
If you make a request for special needs, such as on-board assistance, a special meal or an unaccompanied minor, we will collect the necessary information to fulfill your request. This information may include medical information 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.
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 in order 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.
Third party bookings, changes and requests
If you are purchasing a ticket on behalf of another person, including a family member, friend or colleague, VIA considers 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.
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.
VIA considers 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.
In addition, if the person who booked your ticket or who has your full name and reservation number, for any reason, 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 changes because 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.
Use of personal information
We use the information you provide or create in order to communicate with you, provide you with the services you requested, improve our services, develop new offerings, and allow VIA Customer representatives to improve your customer experience. We also use it to handle customer service issues, such as travel bookings or any related question 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 Rail profile or VIA Preference account or apply for a job at VIA. Credit card numbers are used exclusively for processing payments, and not for any other purpose.
VIA Rail conducts research studies to better understand our client's experiences in a view to continuously improve our products and services. For participants of VIA's research studies: the personal information you agree to share as part of such studies may be linked to your profile to better enable VIA to offer you services and products suited to your respective preferences and needs.
In some cases, the information VIA collects is only used in a non-identifiable way. For example, VIA uses information it collects about all website users to optimize VIA’s Website and to understand website traffic patterns. In other cases, VIA may use the information in an identifiable way. For example, VIA may authenticate you or your device, deliver personalized content, or use the information for analytic purposes, fraud detection and security.
VIA may also use the information for online advertising targeting and may display interest-based ads to you on other websites and social medias. To enable delivery of these ads, we hash your email address to convert it into a unique number. The social media platforms also convert their user emails into unique numbers using the same process. This allows the records to be matched without any exchange of data elements that can identify you on their own. The platforms may gain insights about individuals who respond to the VIA ads.
We may use video surveillance to watch and record the activity in or around our offices, premises, or trains. We use this information to keep our employees and the public safe, as well as to secure our assets and infrastructure.
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.
VIA will retain personal information for the purposes stated in this Policy for as long as legally required or other reasonable amount of time in the absence of legislative requirements. At the end of the retention period, personal information will then be securely disposed of.
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, VIA abides by the norms of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which ensures the protection of personal information associated with credit cards.
VIA uses 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 or passenger name record (PNR) for the reservation. The PNR information should not be shared as it may give others access to your travel itinerary.
Disclosure of personal information to third parties
VIA only shares personal information with third parties in accordance with this Policy. VIA 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 VIA), only in so much as their activities require the use of this information, and only for the purposes for which the information was collected.
VIA may transfer personal information outside of Canada for processing purposes for the reasons stated in this Policy.
VIA never discloses your personal information without your consent to third parties for purposes other than those for which this information was collected, unless VIA is obliged to do so by law or by court order. Furthermore, under the Act, VIA has 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.
In order to fulfill our legal obligations as a railway company, VIA is 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.
From time to time, we may share your personal information with third party business partners, such as travel agencies or alternative transportation services for which you have made a reservation through VIA.
As a business entity, VIA sends commercial electronic messages as part of its marketing strategy and customer service. When you purchase a product, book your travel using a VIA Rail profile or VIA Preference account, you may provide us with your express consent to be added or not to our email list which will be used to contact you occasionally with commercial electronic messages such as offers and promotions. When you purchase a product or book your travel without using a VIA Rail profile or using a VIA Preference account but without providing us with your express consent, you provide VIA with your implied consent to be 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 profile information or by following the instructions on how to unsubscribe included in every email sent by VIA. 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 and provide relevant information that must be communicated to you including, but not limited to, emails containing information on purchases made, emails concerning any changes to the VIA Preference program itself or emails containing travel related information, for instance delayed trains. Consequently, VIA will continue to send such messages when needed.
Links to external Web sites
VIA's 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 VIA's policy. VIA 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.
Right of access and request for correction or withdrawal of information
In accordance with the Act, you have the right to request access to any of your personal information that VIA possesses. 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.
Please click here for 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 or VIA Preference account, you can keep your profile up to date by logging into viarail.ca.
Revisions to VIA's Policy
By using the VIA Rail and VIA Preference Websites, interacting with VIA on the internet (for example on social media platforms), contacting VIA through the call center or VIA email, you accept this Policy. This Policy may be amended by VIA from time to time without notice, in particular to take into account changes in VIA's activities and technological developments. We therefore advise you to consult this page periodically.
Do you have any questions or suggestions?
Please contact us with any questions or suggestions you may have concerning this Policy.
Please contact VIA Rail Canada by email at the following address: ATIP@viarail.ca