days until our Collective Agreement expires, we are preparing, we are united and we will make change.

Open Letter to Air Canada

October 19, 2017
Ms. Renee Smith-Valade
Vice-President, In-Flight Service
Air Canada
P.O. Box #14000, Station Airport
Dorval, QC
H4Y 1Y4
Mr. Michael Abbott
Managing Director, Labour Relations
Air Canada
P.O. Box #14000, Station Airport
Dorval, QC
H4Y 1Y4
Dear Ms. Smith-Valade & Mr. Abbott,
RE:          Photographing of Crew On-Board and Air Canada App
Please be advised that this is an open letter to you and our membership.
It was brought to our attention that the Air Canada App notification (for use by all passengers) encourages people to submit photos to accompany their rating and comments of their on-board experience when travelling with Air Canada and its subsidiaries.
Please see attached screenshot for clarification.
The membership has brought this to the Union’s attention on several occasions.
As I am sure you are aware, the prohibition of photographing crew and other passengers without expressed consent is covered by Air Canada’s Tariffs and General Rules (see below). However, these are not easily accessed by any party whilst airborne. As a contrast we offer the comparative of United Airlines, who publish a monthly disclaimer in their inflight magazine (also attached).
CUPE has been advised by its members that both front and back end AC crew members are unaware of a protocol of how to deal with passengers who take unwanted photos or video, and this uncertainty has lead to difficult situations on board. Apparently, it often results in crew dealing with each situation as a ‘one off’ whether the situation involves protecting the company from unsavoury and brand-damaging photos or YouTube videos, or of particular concern to CUPE, protecting the rights of our members against a blatant violation of their privacy and human rights.
For clarity on the latter point, there are many religions which forbid photography, and we think it is arguable that within the global reaches of Air Canada and the many cultures it embraces and serves, that there is no reasonable way to ensure that our passengers’ religious and personal freedom rights may not be affected or encroached upon by a failure to specify a strict ‘no on-board person photograph’ policy.
As a result, CUPE would like to make an official request, that a formal disclaimer be published in the En Route magazine and that the AC App also exhibit a clear proviso underneath the attachment icon stating that photographs of staff/passengers will not be accepted.
Regardless of any individual’s personal sensibilities on the matter, no one should have to endure unwanted intrusion by being photographed against their will, especially whilst at work on the private property of their Employer, who arguably should be providing a safe and respectful environment for their employees.

cc:           Air Canada Component Membership
Kevin Tyrrell, Component Staff Rep – CUPE National
1. Screenshot Air Canada App
2. United Airlines Monthly Disclaimer
3. Domestic Tariff
4. International Tariff