Governance & Ethics

At VIA Rail, we believe that openness and transparency are essential to building trusted relationships with customers, partners, and the public. That’s why we make detailed documentation about our operations and activities available to the public.

 
 

Access to information

In 2007, VIA Rail became subject to both the Access to Information Act (ATIA) and the Privacy Act. Since then, we have been committed to responding to information requests from the public, the media, and other parties interested in VIA Rail’s operations.

Since September 1, 2007, VIA Rail Canada Inc. ("VIA Rail") is subject to the requirements of the Access to Information Act ("ATIA").

The ATIA provides a right of access to records under the control of VIA Rail to Canadian citizens, permanent residents and corporations established in Canada in accordance with the principles that government information should be available to the public, that necessary exceptions to the right of access should be specific and limited and that decisions on the disclosure of government information may be reviewed independently by the courts.

Access to information requests

We regularly receive requests from different parties. To ensure that your request is processed correctly, please read the following before submitting your request.

To submit an access to information request, you may fill out the Access to Information Request Form PDF 492kbThis link opens in a new tab or write a letter stating the following:

  • that request is made under the Access to Information Act (“ATIA”);
  • a detailed and specific description of the information being sought;
  • your personal details (name, street, address, city or town, province or territory, postal code, telephone number and e-mail address);
  • the date of your request;
  • a statement confirming that you are a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident or an individual or corporation in Canada;
  • your signature.

 

Application fee

A check or money order in the amount of $5.00 made payable to VIA Rail Canada must be enclosed with each request in order to pay the application fee.

Transmission of the request

The filled out form or letter, along with the check or money order, can then be sent to the following address:

Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator
VIA Rail Canada Inc.
3 Place Ville Marie, Suite 500
Montreal, Quebec
H3B 2C9

Response time

According to the ATIA, VIA Rail Canada must acknowledge a request within 30 calendar days of its reception. However, in special cases, the organization may need more time to process your request and will then provide you with an extension notice.

Contact us

For any questions related to access to information, do not hesitate to contact us at the following e-mail address: AIPRP@viarail.ca.

Completed access to information requests

VIA Rail periodically posts summaries of completed access to information requests on its website.

You will find, on the tabs above, the summaries of requests processed by the Access to Information and Privacy Unit of VIA Rail Canada.

Pursuant to section 7.13 and Appendix E of the Directive on the Administration of the Access to Information Act of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, VIA Rail also posts summaries of completed access to information request to the open government portal of CanadaThis link opens in a new tab in both official languages.

Here are the lists containing summaries of completed requests. Requests focusing on personal information are not included:

Annual reports on the administration of the ATIA

According to the Federal Accountability Act effective September 1, 2007, VIA Rail Canada Inc. ("VIA Rail") is subject to the legal requirements of the Privacy Act ("PA"). The PA gives Canadian citizens and all people living in Canada the right to access information about them that is held by the federal government. The PA also protects Canadian citizens against unauthorized disclosure of their personal information and controls how the institution will collect, use, store, disclose, and dispose of personal information. All of our annual reports below are tabled in Parliament according to section 72 of the PA.

Proactive Disclosure

The information on this page contains travel and hospitality expenses incurred by the Chairperson of the Board of Directors, the President and Chief Executive Officer and the Executive Officers of VIA Rail.The guiding principles for travel and hospitality expenses are outlined in the Financial Policy, Practice and Authority (FPPA) Manual as well as in VIA Rail’s Director Compensation and Expenses Policy of VIA Rail. These documents establish, among other things, guidelines for the reimbursement of legitimate and reasonable expenses incurred by VIA Rail’s personnel in the conduct of the business of the organization.

As a leader in the field of passenger transportation in Canada, and with offices, train stations and maintenance centers across the country, VIA Rail encourages the use of its services by senior managers travelling in the course of their functions. When time and distance make travelling by train impractical, senior managers are allowed to use other means of transport. It should also be noted that, in rare cases, senior managers may be required to travel abroad to meet with leaders and experts in the railway industry and to attend international conferences.

The expenses incurred by the Chairperson of the Board of Directors, the President and Chief Executive Officer and Executive Officers of the organization are presented to the VIA Rail Board of Directors on a regular basis. The expenditure accounts are also subject to verification by internal and external auditors to ensure that such expenditures are consistent with the organization's policies.

Please note that the information on this page will be updated on a quarterly basis and that the information typically protected under the Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act has been intentionally omitted.

Summary - Business Travel and Hospitality Expenses (in dollars $)

 

Aggregate Annual Corporate Disclosure

VIA Rail Canada reports, at an aggregate corporate level, travel and hospitality expenses, on an annual basis.

Ethics & Compliance

The values of trust, integrity and living together are important to VIA Rail. While these values are conveyed daily in everything we do, certain actions, behaviours or speech can cause discomfort or be perceived as questionable, unacceptable or unethical. This is why it is important to have a safe, clear and confidential reporting process. To ensure that our suppliers and the public have a high level of confidentiality for reporting wrongdoing or unethical behaviour, VIA Rail uses an online reporting platform that makes it possible to report any wrongdoing or unethical behaviour with confidence and in complete anonymity. Reports made through the reporting platform will automatically be brought to the attention of the Ethics Compliance Officer.

Report wrongdoing or unethical behaviour today:

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- By phone at toll-free number of VIA Rail: 1-833-201-9491

- By mail to the following address:

Complaints
P.O. Box 11017
Toronto, Ontario M1E 1N0

Ethics Commissioner on Modernization Projects

An independent Ethics Commissioner has been appointed to investigate complaints by employees or third parties with respect to allegations of wrongdoings regarding the management of the Corporation’s Modernization Projects and to lead the fair, equitable and expeditious resolution of such complaints. Complaints may be made through the Clearview platform (see above). The allegations will be sorted by the Ethics Compliance Officer and, if related to the Modernization Projects, will be relayed to the Ethics Commissioner for investigation.

Privacy

Since September 1, 2007, VIA Rail Canada Inc. ("VIA Rail") is subject to the requirements of the Privacy Act ("PA").

The PA gives Canadian citizens and all people living in Canada the right to access information about them that is held by the federal administration. The PA also protects them against unauthorized disclosure of their personal information and controls how the institution will collect, use, store, disclose and dispose of personal information.

Please note that you can consult your travel history and obtain other relevant information such as your transactions summary (e.g. for tax purposes) by logging in to your online VIA traveler profileThis link opens in a new tab.

Privacy Policy

The purpose of the VIA Rail Canada (“VIA Rail”) Privacy Policy is to govern the collection, use and disclosure of personal information in compliance with the requirements set out in the Federal Government’s PRIVACY ACT.

The Information That We Collect

VIA Rail uses a variety of methods to collect voluntary information, including information that is provided by our customers and information that is gathered through customer surveys and general feedback.

The types of personal information that we collect include names, contact information, identification information and credit information. Credit card information is used for billing purposes only. We may record calls to or from our Customer Service Representatives for the purposes of accuracy, performance reviews, training and general quality assurance.

How We Use This Information

The information is used to aid in the provision of our various products and services, including customer service, accounting, billing, collection and marketing of other products and services.

VIA Rail may use aggregate or anonymous information, which cannot be linked to identifiable individuals, for a variety of purposes and for its own use or the use of third parties.

Who We Share This Information With

VIA Rail does not share personal information with any third parties, except as provided for by this Policy. VIA Rail may provide personal information to its subcontractors and professional advisors (which are bound by privacy obligations) in order for them to assist VIA Rail with respect to the uses authorized herein.

Security

Personal information is stored in a combination of paper and electronic files, which are protected by security measures that are appropriate to the nature of the information.

Access to Personal Information

Individuals may review their personal information contained in VIA Rail’s files by contacting VIA Rail’s Access to Information and Privacy Unit. If an individual believes that any of the personal information pertaining to that individual is inaccurate, VIA Rail will make the appropriate corrections. For more information about access to your personal information, please refer to the section Personal Information Requests.

Cookies

VIA uses cookies for the convenience of our users. Cookies automatically authenticate the user. A user can access VIA Rail’s web site with the cookie feature turned off; but by doing so, the user may be required to provide username and password information on multiple occasions. VIA also uses cookies to track users’ visits, and uses that information to improve the users’ experience.

Links

VIA Rail’s web site may contain links to information on other web sites. When you click on one of these links, you are moving to another web site. We encourage you to read the privacy statements pertaining to these linked sites, because their privacy policy may differ from VIA Rail’s Privacy Policy.

Do you have Questions or Suggestions?

We invite you to contact us for any questions or suggestions that you may have with respect to this Privacy Policy or our privacy protection program.

Please contact VIA Rail by e-mail at AIPRP@viarail.ca.

Personal Information Requests

Submit a Personal Information Request or a Personal Information Correction Request

To submit a personal information request or a personal information correction request, you may fill out either of these forms:

Personal Information Request Form PDF 122kbThis link opens in a new tab

Personal Information Correction Request Form PDF 68kbThis link opens in a new tab

You can also submit a letter stating the following:

  • that request is made under the Privacy Act (“PA”);
  • a detailed and specific description of the information being sought;
  • your personal details (name, street, address, city or town, province or territory, postal code, telephone number and e-mail address);
  • the date of your request;
  • a statement confirming that you are a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident or an individual or corporation in Canada;
  • your signature.

Application Fee

There is no application fee for a request made under the PA.

Transmission of the Request

The filled out form or letter can then be sent to the following address:

Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator
VIA Rail Canada inc.
3, Place Ville Marie, Suite 500
Montreal (Quebec) H3B 2C9

Response Time

According to the PA, VIA Rail Canada must acknowledge a request within 30 calendar days of its reception. However, in special cases, the organization may need more time to process your request and will then provide you with an extension notice.

My profile

Please note that you can consult your travel history and obtain other relevant information such as your transactions summary (e.g. for tax purposes) by logging in to your online VIA traveler profileThis link opens in a new tab.

Contact Us

For any questions related to privacy, do not hesitate to contact us at the following e-mail address: AIPRP@viarail.ca

Info Source

Printable Version PDF 331kbThis link opens in a new tab

Table of Contents

General Information

Institutional Functions, Programs and Activities

Manuals

Additional Information

Reading Room

General Information

Information to Info Source

Info Source: Sources of Federal Government and Employee Information provides information about the functions, programs, activities and related information holdings of government institutions subject to the Access to Information ActThis link opens in a new tab and the Privacy ActThis link opens in a new tab.It provides individuals and employees of the government (current and former) with relevant information to access personal information about themselves held by government institutions subject to the Privacy Act and to exercise their rights under the Privacy Act.

The IntroductionThis link opens in a new tab and an Index of institutionsThis link opens in a new tab subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act are available centrally.

The Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act assign overall responsibility to the President of Treasury Board (as the designated Minister) for the government-wide administration of the legislation.

Background

VIA Rail Canada operates the national passenger rail service on behalf of the Government of Canada. The Corporation’s objectives are to provide and manage a safe, efficient, and reliable passenger rail service in Canada. VIA Rail Canada’s plans and funding are approved by the Treasury Board of Canada through VIA Rail Canada’s annual Corporate Plan.

VIA Rail Canada was established in 1977 as a subsidiary of Canadian National Railway Company (CN).  VIA Rail Canada became a Crown Corporation in 1978, and was incorporated under the Canada Business Corporations Act PDF 1.44mbThis link opens in a new tab. VIA Rail Canada does not have its own enabling legislation. VIA Rail Canada is a Schedule III, Part I Crown Corporation, is appropriation-dependent, and is not an Agent of Her Majesty.

An independent Board of Directors governs VIA Rail Canada. Board members are appointed by the Governor-in-Council following recommendation by the Minister of Transport.  VIA Rail Canada’s Board of Directors is responsible for overseeing the strategic direction and management of the Corporation. The Corporation and its Board of Directors are committed to implementing principles and best practices of good governance.  All members of the Board sign a code of ethics reflecting the spirit and intent of the Accountability Act PDF 354kbThis link opens in a new tab, which sets out standards of transparency and accountability for the officers and directors of Crown corporations. VIA Rail’s Board of Directors reports to the Minister of Transport, The Honourable Marc Garneau. The Minister tables VIA Rail Canada’s Annual Report to Parliament, the Summary of VIA’s Corporate Plan, and reports on VIA Rail Canada’s operations to the House of Commons.

Responsibilities

VIA Rail Canada operates close to 475 train departures weekly on a 12,500 kilometers rail network, connecting over 400 Canadian communities across the country. VIA Rail Canada's fleet includes 444 train cars and 73 active locomotives. In addition to 121 train stations, VIA Rail Canada operates four modern maintenance facilities. VIA Rail Canada owns 2% of the rail network on which it operates. A total of 98% of the infrastructure used by the passenger rail service is owned and managed by railway partners, primarily CN and Canadian Pacific Railway Company (CP). With approximately 2600 active employees, VIA Rail Canada carried 3.8 million passengers in 2015.

In 2012, VIA Rail Canada built the foundation of its future evolution. Frequency adjustments were implemented at the end of October, along with an intermodal strategy.  The new frequencies between Ottawa and Toronto, Montréal and Toronto, Montréal and Québec City, and between Québec City and Ottawa, as well as the multiplicity of intermodal connections with our transportation partners are all part of this strategy. 

Through our Statement on Official Languages, VIA Rail Canada recognizes English and French as the two official languages. The Corporation is committed to taking positive measures to serve members of the public and its clients in the official language of their choice.

Our Safety Policy develops and communicates the corporate commitment to health and safety.  The policy includes VIA Rail Canada’s safety beliefs, values and overall direction.

VIA Rail Canada has an Environmental Policy PDF 196kbThis link opens in a new tab, which provides the guidelines for the implementation and improvement of its Environmental Management System (EMS).

Furthermore, VIA Rail Canada recognizes the value of its information assets as being an essential part of its daily operations. In order to achieve its goals, VIA Rail Canada applies security measures according to the level of importance the information asset has within the company in compliance with governing legislation, regulations, collective agreements, directives and standards. VIA Rail Canada applies this through our Information Security Policy.

And finally, the purpose of VIA Rail Canada’s Privacy PolicyThis link opens in a new tab is to govern the collection, use and disclosure of personal information in compliance with the requirements set out in the Federal Government’s Privacy Act.

Our Vision

To make of passenger rail the preferred way to move and connect people in Canada.

Our Mission (to our customers)

To offer a safe, attractive and stress-free travel experience, while consistently providing the best value for money.

Our Mandate (from our Shareholder)

To offer a national passenger rail transportation service that is safe, secure, efficient, reliable, and environmentally sustainable, and that meets the needs of travelers in Canada.

Institutional Functions, Programs and Activities

Institution-Specific Content

Operation of National Passage Rail Transportation System

VIA Rail Canada’s main program activity consists of the operation of a national passenger rail transportation system.  In order to achieve this objective, VIA Rail Canada performs the functions described below.

Customer Experience

Customer Experience function is responsible for activities directly contributing to the customer experience including the delivery of services in stations and on-board trains. The function is also responsible for the administration of real estate and property management.

Federal Government Train Travel Privileges

Description: Includes records related to the requests for train travel privileges for the active Governor General, Prime Minister, Senators, Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Members of Parliament, their dependant spouse, dependent children, dependant student or other eligible dependant living with them (if applicable), as well as the Chairman and members of VIA Rail Canada’s Board of Directors, their dependant spouse, dependent children, dependent children who are students. 

Document Types: VIA Rail Canada’s Rail Pass Policy and “Train Passes for Members of Parliament Declaration” forms, rail passes and correspondence.

Record Number:VIA 1620

Marketing Sales and Commercial Planning

The Marketing and Sales function oversees all marketing and sales components at VIA Rail Canada including product design to increase both passenger and non-passenger related revenues. It is also responsible for Customer Relations, Revenue Management and Pricing, as well as Business Development. In addition, this function has the mandate to conduct customer and market research in order to help VIA Rail Canada anticipate and respond to customers' needs. Part of its mandate is to provide services through the Telephone Sales Offices.
 

On-line ticket reservations and sales

Description:  Core reservation system which houses various reservation applications and contains records related to trips such as: point of origin, destination, passenger type, class of service, conditions of fare plans, business travel fares, fare paid, promotions, discounts and refund entitlements, lists of authorized use of rail passes, train operations, train schedules (timetable and scheduling), late trains, inventory by train (seat/cabin), reservation information, fare determination and pricing guidelines.

Document Types: Customer profiles, booking confirmations, Close the Sale (“CTS”), e-tickets, ticket cancellation confirmations, free upgrades to business class, promotional vouchers, familiarisation trip vouchers, lists, train schedules, correspondence and statistical reports.

Record Number:VIA 2360

Loyalty Marketing

Description: Includes records related to train travel (point of origin, destination, passenger type, class of service, fare paid, promotions and discount and refund entitlements), point transactions (multi-tier management), contact logs and marketing communications history (a record of communications with our client base).

Document Types: VIA Préférence Training manual, enrolment forms, correspondence, membership cards, member benefit coupons, press releases, newsletters, presentations, an electronic website for VIA Préférence members and VIA Rail Canada sales agents, statistical reporting and memoranda.

Record Number:VIA 6000

Marketing Support and Customer Relations

Description: Includes records related to correspondence from passengers commending front-line employees (onboard, station staff, call centre staff and administrative employees) for the quality of services received. Also included are records related to the processing of customer complaint issues and some types of information requests that cannot be handled by the front-line (onboard) employees, station staff, call centre staff and administrative employees.  Requests for information are not limited to the following and may include correspondence concerning fare and pricing related issues and timetable and scheduling issues.  Complaints may include service offering, onboard passenger experience, station and property issues and general administration.

Document Types: Tickets, ticket vouchers, promotional vouchers, travel certificates, guidelines, correspondence and statistical reports.

Record Number:VIA 5700

Operations

The Operations function touches on all aspects of VIA Rail Canada's business relating to maintenance, engineering, fleet and inventory management and train operations. It ensures all trains are operated efficiently, reliably and safely in accordance with VIA Rail Canada's service standards and applicable rules and regulations.

Infrastructure and Station Projects

Description: Includes records related to the development and implementation of railway infrastructure improvements while creating public awareness through public information sessions with municipalities and promoting the benefits of VIA Rail Canada’s projects for rail safety and improvements.  The records may also include information on track construction, rail signal systems, construction, bridge construction, rail crossings and the construction of fencing along the Right-Of-Way.

Document Types: Correspondance, station concept documentation and notices.

Record Number:VIA 8300

Internal Services

Internal Services are groups of related activities and resources that are administered to support the needs of programs and other corporate obligations of an organization. These groups are: Management and Oversight Services; Communications Services; Legal Services; Human Resources Management Services; Financial Management Services; Information Management Services; Information Technology Services; Real Property Services; Materiel Services; Acquisition Services; and Travel and Other Administrative Services. Internal Services include only those activities and resources that apply across an organization and not to those provided specifically to a program.

Acquisition

Acquisition services involve activities undertaken to acquire a good or service to fulfill a properly completed request (including a complete and accurate definition of requirements and certification that funds are available) until entering into or amending a contract.

Communications Services

Communications services involve activities undertaken to ensure that Government of Canada communications are effectively managed, well-coordinated and responsive to the diverse information needs of the public. The communications management function ensures that the public—internal or external—receives government information, and that the views and concerns of the public are taken into account in the planning, management and evaluation of policies, programs, services and initiatives.

Financial Management Services

Financial management services involve activities undertaken to ensure the prudent use of public resources, including planning, budgeting, accounting, reporting, control and oversight, analysis, decision support and advice, and financial systems.

Human Resources Management

Human resources management services involve activities undertaken for determining strategic direction, allocating resources among services and processes, as well as activities relating to analyzing exposure to risk and determining appropriate countermeasures. They ensure that the service operations and programs of the federal government comply with applicable laws, regulations, policies and plans.

Information Management Services

Information management services involve activities undertaken to achieve efficient and effective information management to support program and service delivery; foster informed decision making; facilitate accountability, transparency and collaboration; and preserve and ensure access to information and records for the benefit of present and future generations.

Information Technology Services

Information technology services involve activities undertaken to achieve efficient and effective use of information technology to support government priorities and program delivery, to increase productivity, and to enhance services to the public.

Legal Services

Legal services involve activities undertaken to enable government departments and agencies to pursue policy, program and service delivery priorities and objectives within a legally sound framework.

Management and Oversight Services

Management and oversight services involve activities undertaken for determining strategic direction and allocating resources among services and processes, as well as those activities related to analyzing exposure to risk and determining appropriate countermeasures. They ensure that the service operations and programs of the federal government comply with applicable laws, regulations, policies or plans.

Materiel Services

Materiel services involve activities undertaken to ensure that materiel can be managed by departments in a sustainable and financially responsible manner that supports the cost-effective and efficient delivery of government programs.

Real Property Services

Real property services involve activities undertaken to ensure that real property is managed in a sustainable and financially responsible manner, throughout its life cycle, to support the cost-effective and efficient delivery of government programs.

Travel and Other Administrative Services

Travel and other administrative services include Government of Canada travel services, as well as those other internal services that do not smoothly fit with any of the internal services categories.

Manuals

Corporate Guideline for Passenger Names
Guideline for Conditions of Carriage
Guide on Train Service
Procedure for Request for Information
Train Emergency Response Plan
Travelling Better Together - a Safe and Secure Travel Environment

Additional Information

The Government of Canada encourages the informal release of information.  In this regard, you may wish to consult VIA Rail Canada’s completed Access to Information summaries. To submit an informal request for information that has been previously released, please contact VIA Rail Canada’s Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Office. 

To make a formal request, mail your letter or Access to Information Request Form PDF 492kbThis link opens in a new tab (Access to Information Act) or Personal Information Request Form PDF 244kbThis link opens in a new tab (Privacy Act) to the following address:
VIA Rail Canada Inc.
Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator
3 Place Ville-Marie, Suite 500
Montréal (Québec) H3B 2C9

Please note: Each request made to VIA Rail Canada under the Access to Information Act, must be accompanied by an application fee of $5.00, cheque or money order made payable to VIA Rail Canada.

Reading Room

In accordance with the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act, an area on the premises will be made available should the applicant wish to review materials on site. The address is: 3 Place Ville-Marie, Room 500, Montreal, Quebec.

Class action

On this page, you will find a brief description of the class action, a question and answers section as well as documents concerning the settlement reached between VIA and Gaétane Cummings regarding the accessibility of VIA trains.The settlement received the Court’s final approval on October 21, 2013.

Context

An agreement (the “Settlement”) has been reached between Gaétane Cummings (the “Petitionner”) and VIA, putting an end to the law suit against VIA. On October 21, 2013, the Superior Court of Québec, district of Montreal, authorized the class action on a final basis for settlement purposes, pursuant to the terms of the Settlement Agreement. The Settlement provides that VIA will offer an indemnity to the members of the group. You may receive an indemnity pursuant to the Settlement.

Recent Developments

October 21, 2013: The Superior Court of Québec, district of Montreal, authorized the class action on a final basis for settlement purposes, pursuant to the terms of the Settlement Agreement.

October 16, 2013: The Superior Court of Québec, district of Montreal, heard the Motion requesting authorization of the class action for final settlement approval.

June 20, 2013: The Superior Court of Québec, district of Montreal, authorized the class action on a preliminary basis for settlement purposes and authorized the publication of notices.

Important Dates

  • July 16, 2013: Publication of the Short Form Media Notice.
  • August 15, 2013: Deadline to submit a Request for Exclusion/to Opt Out. The group members who did not exclude themselves or opt out on or before August 15, 2013 will not be able to request exclusion from/to opt out of the class action in connection with this matter.
  • October 7, 2013: Deadline to submit and Objection Form to object to the Settlement. The group members who did not object on or before October 7, 2013 will not be able to do so.
  • October 16, 2013: Hearing date for the final approval of the Settlement, when the Courtdecided whether or not to finally approve the Settlement at a hearing held at the Montreal Court House.
  • October 21, 2013: Date of the Final judgment approving the Settlement
  • February 19, 2014: Deadline for group members to submit a Claim Form in order to take part in the Settlement.
  • October 21, 2014: Deadline to use the credit for group A members.
  • The deadline to use the discount for group B members will follow the putting into service by VIA of its Renovated sleeper cars.
     

August 18, 2014:

NOTICE OF THE PUTTING INTO SERVICE OF THERENOVATED SLEEPER CARS

CLASS ACTION REGARDING THE ACCESSIBILITY OF VIA TRAINS

VIA is pleased to announce that renovated Park sleeper cars with an accessible double sleeping compartment will be put into service on VIA trains travelling between Toronto and Vancouver as of  August 19, 2014.

Members of Group B of the Cummings vs. VIA Rail Canada Inc. class action who submitted a claim within the appropriate time limit may avail themselves of the compensatory discount granted to them pursuant to the settlement agreement reached with VIA and approved by the Superior Court of Quebec.

Thus, members of Group B who submitted a claim have until August 19, 2015 to use their compensatory discount and take a trip between Toronto and Vancouver with at least one night onboard in a renovated Park sleeper car with an accessible double sleeping compartment.

The use of the aforementioned discount is subject to seat availability in accordance with the terms of VIA’s policy entitled Special Needs, that can be found on VIA’s Internet siteThis link opens in a new tab and is subject to the provisions stipulated in the settlement agreement.

Members of the class action must consult VIA’s Internet site.

Questions and answers

General

An agreement was reached and was approved by the Superior Court of Québec, district of Montreal, in connection with a class action instituted by Ms. Gaétane Cummings against VIA Rail Canada Inc. (hereinafter “VIA”). The class action was brought in Québec, but it covers all the members in Canada. The agreement reached and approved between Gaétane Cummings and VIA may concern you. You have rights to take into consideration. This notice explains how the class action works, who is a member of the group, the agreement itself and your rights.
Gaétane Cummings instituted a class action against VIA on behalf of all the members in Canada with regard to the accessibility of VIA trains. Gaétane Cummings basically contends that VIA trains and the sleeper cars that form part of them are not accessible for disabled people who permanently rely on a wheelchair for their mobility and, therefore, that VIA would be in default of complying with the obligations imposed on it by law. VIA disputes these contentions.
In a class action, a person referred to as the “representative of the group” institutes legal proceedings in the name of all those who have the same problem and who are referred to as the “group”. Gaétane Cummings represents all the members of the group. The group includes all Canadian residents. A class action enables the court to rule on the issue in dispute for all the members of the group, except for those who elected to be excluded from/to opt out of the group.
The court did not render a final decision in favour of either Gaétane Cummings or VIA. There was no trial. Instead, both parties reached an agreement to settle the class action once and for all. Gaétane Cummings and her attorney, Mr. Jean Yanakis, feel that the agreement is the best solution for all the members of the group in Canada; which the court did by its judgement of October 21, 2013.

You are a member of the group if you are part of one of the following sub-groups:

Group A: all persons residing in Canada who have a disability and are permanently reliant on a wheelchair for their mobility and who personally purchased a train ticket from VIA for a trip these individuals took between August 31, 2007 and August 31, 2010 between Toronto and Vancouver with at least one night onboard in a rail car with a sleeping compartment used by VIA in trains that namely travel between Toronto and Vancouver (“Sleeper Car”);or

Group B: all persons residing in Canada who have a disability and are permanently reliant on a wheelchair for their mobility, but who are not members of Group A, and who want to travel onboard a VIA train for a trip between Toronto and Vancouver with at least one night onboard in a renovated Park sleeper car, with an accessible double sleeping compartment, in the year following the putting into service by VIA of this renovated sleeper car between Toronto and Vancouver (“Renovated Sleeper Car”), the putting into service by VIA of this Renovated Sleeper Car is scheduled for 2014.

No. The deadline to intervene in the class action by way of an objection to the Settlement expired on October 7, 2013.

What the agreement grants you

VIA grants the following to the members of the group:

  • Group A: members of Group A will receive a credit of 50% of the purchase price for the ticket that they paid, including taxes, for the trip taken between August 31, 2007 and August 31, 2010 between Toronto and Vancouver with at least one night onboard in a Sleeper Car, as defined in Question 5 above. They may use this credit to book one or more train tickets on the VIA network for one or more trips they may take in the year following the court’s final judgment approving the Settlement, therefore before October 21, 2014.
  • Group B: members of Group B will receive a discount of 50% on the lowest purchase price for a VIA train ticket between Toronto and Vancouver, with at least one night onboard in a Renovated Sleeper Car, as defined in Question 5 above. They may use this discount for a trip taken in the year following the putting into service by VIA of these renovated cars scheduled for 2014.
  • Ms. Gaétane Cummings will receive the sum of $1,666.67, including taxes, that is, the sum she disbursed to book her train ticket for a trip between Toronto and Vancouver taken from September 17 to 21, 2009, as well as the sum of $30,000, in capital, interest and costs, for damages that are specific and unique to her and that result from the particular facts outlined in the Settlement.

The use of the aforementioned credit or discount is subject to seat availability in accordance with VIA’s policy entitled Special Needs which is found at https://www.viarail.ca/en/travel-info/special-needsThis link opens in a new tab and is subject to the provisions stipulated in the Settlement Agreement PDF 71kbThis link opens in a new tab.

 

If you are a member of Group A, you must:

  1. 1. Complete Claim Form 1-A PDF 136kbThis link opens in a new tab to avail yourself of the offered credit;
  2. 2. Attach to the claim form the ticket that you personally booked with VIA for a trip you personally took between August 31, 2007 and August 31, 2010 between  Toronto and Vancouver with at least one night onboard in a sleeper car or proof of purchase of such ticket with sufficient details to show that you did purchase a ticket for the aforementioned trip;
  3. 3. Return Claim Form 1-A and the ticket or proof of purchase of the ticket to VIA before midnight on February 19, 2014.s.

The members of Group A who made a claim will receive an e-mail containing further information about the procedure to claim the credit offered to them.

The credit offered to members of Group A must be used for a trip taken before October 21, 2014.

The use of the credit is subject to seat availability in accordance with VIA’s policy entitled Special Needs which is found at: https://www.viarail.ca/en/travel-info/special-needsThis link opens in a new tab.

 

If you are a member of Group B, you must:

  1. 1. Complete Claim Form 1-B PDF 126kbThis link opens in a new tab to avail yourself of the discount that is offered to members of Group B;
  2. 2. Return the claim form to VIA before midnight on February 19, 2014.

The members of Group B who made a claim will receive an e-mail containing further information about the procedure to use the discount that is offered to them as well as the exact date of the putting into service by VIA of its Renovated sleeper cars in the Toronto/Vancouver corridor once this date is determined.

The discount offered to members of Group B must be used in the year following the putting into service by VIA of the Renovated sleeper cars.

The use of the discount is subject to seat availability in accordance with VIA’s policy entitled Special Needs which is found at: https://www.viarail.ca/en/travel-info/special-needsThis link opens in a new tab.

To request exclusion / To opt out

The deadline to request exclusion/to opt out expired on August 15, 2013. The members of the group who did not request exclusion or who did not opt out on or before August 15, 2013 can no longer do so.

If you do not request exclusion/did not opt out:

  1. 1. You may receive a credit or a discount;
  2. 2. You will be bound by all the orders rendered by the court in this class action;
  3. 3. You have waived your right to sue VIA for any recourse or claim related directly or indirectly to the allegations of the present class action.

Attorneys

Yes. Mr. Jean Yanakis represents the members of the group. You can reach him at:

Mr. Jean Yanakis
Attorney
1910, rue Notre Dame
Lavaltrie, Québec J5T 1N1
Telephone no.: 450-586-4905
Facsimile no.: 450-586-5287
E-mail: jeanyanakisavocat@hotmail.com

Ms. Cummings’ attorney will receive payment of his fees and reimbursement of his expenses. These fees and expenses will be paid by VIA on behalf of the members of the group.

Objection to the agreement

The deadline to tell the court that you disagree with this agreement expired on October 7, 2013. The group members who did not object on or before October 7, 2013 can no longer do so.

Final approval process by the court

The court held a hearing to decide if it must approve the agreement.

The court held a hearing to decide if the agreement is in the interests of the members. The court held this hearing in Montreal, on October 16, 2013, at the Montreal Court House located at 1 Notre-Dame Street East, Montreal, Province of Québec, H2Y 1B6. The court namely determined the fees and expenses to be paid to the group’s attorney.
No. The attorneys answered all the judge’s questions. But you were welcome and could have attended at your own expense.
You could have attended the hearing and requested permission to address the court. You could also have asked an attorney to represent you, but you were not obliged to do so.
The court rendered a decision approving the Settlement on October 21, 2013.

For further information

You can obtain a copy of the agreement here: Settlement Agreement PDF 71kbThis link opens in a new tab

If you have any questions, you can also call or write to VIA or the applicant’s attorney, Mr. Jean Yanakis:

VIA Rail Canada Inc.
Cummings vs. VIA Rail Class Action
3 Place Ville-Marie, Suite 500
Montreal, Québec  H3B 2C9

Dedicated phone line : 1-855-882-7979
TTY Number: 1-800-268-9503

Mr. Jean Yanakis, Attorney
Cummings vs. VIA Rail Class Action
1910 rue Notre Dame
Lavaltrie, Québec  J5T 1N1

Telephone: 450-586-4905