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Unifor warns workplace surveillance violates rights

September 11, 2017 Ottawa—Canada’s largest union in the rail sector says that Bill C-49’s amendments to the Canada Transportation Act constitute a landmark privacy violation and will not improve safety.

“Recording workers on the job is not a safety tool, it is a surveillance tool,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Managerial digital surveillance in the transportation industry is a dangerous precedent that will eventually spread to other sectors. This cannot become the government standard.”

Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other Acts respecting transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, proposes to require all railway operators install and utilize Locomotive Voice and Video Recorders (LVVRs). Unifor says the government has provided little evidence to demonstrate how LVVRs will be an improvement over the “black box” data recorders already installed on trains.

“Our members work onboard so they have a unique and personal investment in railway safety, but federal legislation must not furnish employers with surveillance powers outside the scope of public safety,” said Bruce Snow, Unifor Rail Director. “Surveillance is an invasive and unnecessary distraction for rail workers that could lead to increased stress and reduced performance.”

The Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities begins hearings today in Ottawa on the bill. Unifor representatives met with senior Ministry of Transport officials on September 5.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).