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Unifor testifies against workplace surveillance

Bill C-49 would require voice, video recorders on locomotives
Canada railway

On Tuesday, Unifor testified in the Senate against the federal government’s proposed workplace surveillance legislation.

"Video-recording workers on the job is a surveillance tool, pure and simple," said Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor, Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers. "We've campaigned against this over-reach from employers from the start. Managerial video surveillance cannot become the government standard."

Bill C-49, Transportation Modernization Act, 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.

Unifor says it is “deeply committed to the safety of its members and the communities in which they work.” However, it claims that Bill C-49 marks a significant intrusion on the privacy of employees in the railway industry in exchange for a very limited benefit to rail safety.

“If open-ended surveillance of the kind proposed in Bill C-49 is allowed to become law, it sets a dangerous precedent for workers in other sectors,” the union said in a release.

In  news release announcing the act, which listed the LVVRs as a new requirement, Minister of Transport Marc Garneau said that the country needs to modernize its policies and practices to “provide a safer, more competitive and respectful system that can respond to modern conditions and to Canadians’ expectations.”

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