Statement - VIA Rail Canada - Service to customers in both official languages



    MONTREAL, Aug. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Regarding recent reports concerning the
lack of French communications related to VIA Train 46 from Toronto to Ottawa
on Sunday, August 16, 2009, VIA Rail wishes to issue the following statement:

    
    - VIA Rail is committed to the principles of the Official Languages Act
      and fully strives to provide service to customers across its national
      network in the official language of their choice

    - In fact, in June of this year, the Office of the Commissioner of
      Official Languages released its report card of federal institutions and
      VIA received a B (Good) rating. Furthermore, VIA's internal surveys
      indicate customers are highly satisfied with VIA's efforts to serve
      them in the language of their choice

    - It is VIA policy that:

        - since 1985, any person applying to work at VIA Rail Canada in a
          front-line service position must pass a language test to show they
          are functionally bilingual in both official languages. Candidates
          who do not pass this test are not hired

        - on every VIA train and in every VIA station and call centre, there
          are employees who are capable of providing service to customers in
          both official languages

        - all on-train and station announcements are made in both official
          languages

        - all other communications to customers are either bilingual or in
          the customer's language of choice. (An example of this is the
          apology letter that was prepared in both official languages and
          emailed to customers as per the language of choice recorded in our
          systems.)

    That being said

    - VIA Rail remains committed to providing service to its customers in the
      language of their choice. Following reports that this may not have been
      the case related to VIA Train 46, specifically with regards to on board
      announcements and the apology e-mail, VIA apologizes to its customers
      and is currently investigating the circumstances. VIA will use the
      findings of this investigation to improve its services.
    




For further information:

For further information: VIA contacts: Julie Durocher, Corporate
Communications, (514) 871-6387, Cell.: (514) 214-2643; Catherine Kaloutsky,
Corporate Communications, (416) 956-7683, Cell.: (647) 228-1127


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