UNITE HERE is a labour union that represents over 300,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries in North America. UNITE HERE represents over 18,000 hotel and hospitality workers across six locals in Canada. Our membership is diverse. We are predominantly women and people of colour, and we hail from all corners of the planet. Together, we are building a movement to enable people of all backgrounds to achieve greater equality and opportunity.
What does UNITE HERE mean by “personal information”?
Personal information includes any factual or subjective information, recorded or not, about an identifiable individual. However, personal information does not include information already within the public domain or to which the public has normal access, such as a person’s business address or telephone number, or that person’s position or title within a company; this is often referred to as “contact” information.
Why does UNITE HERE collect, use, or sometimes disclose personal information?
Collecting, using, and sometimes disclosing personal information is essential for UNITE HERE to meet its important social and legal mandates in such matters as collective bargaining, organizing the unorganized, filing and processing grievances, employment-related matters, assisting in the handling of medical and other benefits claims, and assisting in managing pension plans.
The kind of personal information that is collected, used, or sometimes disclosed by UNITE HERE typically includes such things as a member’s home telephone number, mobile phone number, home address, email address, and Social Insurance Number (SIN). In cases involving medical or related claims, it may also include such things as physician reports or prescription records/invoices.
In some instances, this personal information comes directly from a member or employee (e.g., from information provided on UNITE HERE’s initiation or membership cards, or provided by a UNITE HERE employee to UNITE HERE). In other cases it comes from a member’s employer—for example, when the employer sends employment and payroll information to UNITE HERE. In other cases, this information may be exchanged between UNITE HERE and the administrator of its benefit plans, and may also be exchanged between UNITE HERE and a local affiliate.
Specific reasons why UNITE HERE may collect, use, or sometimes disclose personal information include but are not limited to the following: determining eligibility for pension, health care, or other benefits; determining membership status; ensuring accurate billing with respect to union dues or fees; filing and processing grievances; other employment-related matters; carrying out internal and external audits; determining eligibility for strike pay; ensuring accuracy of per capita payments; statistical and research purposes; and complying with legal and regulatory requirements.
The foregoing is not an exhaustive list as personal information may also be collected, used, or sometimes disclosed by UNITE HERE for other purposes, subject to obtaining appropriate consent if necessary.
UNITE HERE may share members’ personal information with affiliates, legal or financial advisors, consultants, benefit and pension plan administrators, insurers, or contractors retained by UNITE HERE to fulfill its legitimate purposes as a trade union. UNITE HERE will not distribute personal information to an unrelated third party without your consent unless required to do so by law, in which case the information released will be limited to what is legally required.
UNITE HERE emphasizes that as a trade union operated as a not-for-profit organization, it has no commercial interest in the personal information it collects, nor does it collect, use, or disclose personal information for monetary gain. As a union, UNITE HERE does not participate in commercial activity.
UNITE HERE is committed to the following the 10 principles set out in the Canadian Standards Association’s Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information:
UNITE HERE accepts that it is responsible for protecting personal information under its control and has designated a Privacy Officer (see below) to ensure that it is in compliance with applicable laws.
UNITE HERE shall identify the purposes for which it collects personal information at the time that it is collected (unless the purpose is otherwise obvious).
Except when the law otherwise allows (e.g. where implied or deemed consent exists), UNITE HERE shall obtain an individual’s informed consent when collecting, using, or disclosing personal information about that individual (see below).
- Limiting collection
UNITE HERE shall limit the amount and type of personal information it collects in keeping with its mandate to provide the best possible service to its membership.
- Limiting use, disclosure, and retention
Except in cases involving implied or deemed consent, or the where law otherwise permits, UNITE HERE shall only use or disclose personal information for the purpose(s) for which it was collected, and shall only keep personal information in its records for as long as is necessary.
UNITE HERE shall keep the personal information it retains as accurate, complete, and up-to-date as is reasonably possible in order to fulfil the purpose(s) for which it is used (see below). If it is determined that personal information is inaccurate or incomplete in some manner, UNITE HERE will amend its records.
UNITE HERE has and will continue to put in place safeguards to ensure that the personal information in its control is protected, particularly in light of any special sensitivity that attaches to that information (see below).
UNITE HERE is committed to making its policies and procedures relating to the management of personal information under its control as open and accessible as possible, and this approach includes such things as publishing this Policy and posting a copy on its website. In addition, UNITE HERE has a Privacy Officer (see below) who is available to address questions or concerns.
Upon receiving a bona fide written request to its Privacy Officer (see below) and upon ensuring that such a request meets the requirements of the Policy and/or applicable laws, UNITE HERE shall inform the requesting person of the existence, use, and/or disclosure of the personal information it retains relating to the request.
- Inquiries and complaints
UNITE HERE is committed to addressing all bona fide inquiries or complaints regarding its compliance with applicable laws and/or its Policy, and has put procedures in place to do so (see below).
How does UNITE HERE keep personal information secure?
UNITE HERE believes that the security of the personal information it controls on behalf of its members is critically important. It takes special precautions to ensure that access to this information is limited to essential personnel only. For example, the computer database of information UNITE HERE retains incorporates security protocols, and also uses password protection. In addition, UNITE HERE stores personal information in a secure and safe environment, and ensures that third parties with whom it deals fully comply with applicable laws and properly protect any personal information that may be disclosed to them.
How does UNITE HERE maintain the accuracy of personal information?
UNITE HERE updates its membership information on an ongoing basis according to the information made available to it because it is essential that it retain accurate and complete data in order to provide the best possible service to its membership. Members have the right to verify the personal information it retains about them, and UNITE HERE encourages its members to keep it informed of any relevant changes to such information.
Cross-Border Data Transfers
Where personal information is being used for the purpose it was originally collected, a transfer is considered a “use” of information rather than a disclosure. As such, additional consent to transfer the information is not required. UNITE HERE will advise affected individuals of the fact and implications of such a transfer.
How do individuals provide UNITE HERE with their consent for the collection, use and disclosure of their personal information?
To the extent that UNITE HERE acts as the exclusive bargaining agent for its members in their employment relations with employers, labour law gives it the authority to collect personal information that relates to the collective bargaining or collective agreement administration. The individual consent of members is not required since UNITE HERE requires this information to carry out its lawful activities as exclusive bargaining agent. This policy does not limit this legal authority.
Separately, where consent is required, individuals provide their consent in many ways, such as by choosing to work in an UNITE HERE unionized facility, by providing personal information to UNITE HERE to obtain service or employment, including information previously provided to us, by expressed consent for a specific purpose, and through authorized representatives.
UNITE HERE staff, Board of Directors and Local executives, employees, and volunteers, have access only to the personal information provided by the member, employer or employee that is required to fulfill the purposes stated within this policy. Personal information about prospective members or employees may be collected from individuals when they approach UNITE HERE for organizing or employment.
How do individuals withdraw their consent for UNITE HERE to use and disclose their information?
To the extent UNITE HERE acts as a member’s exclusive bargaining agent, the consent of members to collect, use and disclose their personal information as it may relate to collective bargaining and collective agreement administration is not legally required according to labour law. For this reason, the withdrawal of individual consent for uses for collective bargaining purposes is not possible.
Separately, where individual consent is required, you may, on reasonable notice, withdraw consent to the collection, use of or disclosure of your personal information provided there are no legal requirements to prevent this. However, that may prevent us from providing you with the requested services or products. Consent can be withdrawn by contacting the UNITE HERE Privacy Officer who will ensure that the individual’s personal information is no longer used or disclosed by the organization.
How is personal information collected, used or disclosed on UNITE HERE’s website?
In order to enhance your browsing experience when accessing the secure section of UNITE HERE’s website, a small text file called a “cookie” is sent from our web server to your browser and stored on your computer. Cookies allow us to recognize you while you are logged in to UNITE HERE’s website and expire when you close your browser window. You may set your browser to notify you when you receive cookies, and you may choose to disable or delete cookies if you wish. Cookies are not programs or code, and are only used to optimize browsing.
UNITE HERE’s website may also log Internet Provider (IP) addresses of visitors. This information is used, in aggregate form, to provide statistical measures about usage of the site. This in turn allows us to continually improve the content and design of our websites.
How can individuals access their personal information held by UNITE HERE?
Except where otherwise required by law, it is UNITE HERE’s policy that access to personal information may not be permitted in the following cases:
- Legally privileged information
- Medical evaluations prepared at the request of UNITE HERE
- Where disclosure is prohibited by law
- Information concerning persons other than the individual seeking access
- Information given to UNITE HERE in confidence
- Information, which may threaten or harm the individual seeking access to their life, health, safety or security. UNITE HERE will consider releasing it to any health practitioner assisting the individual if it considers it appropriate and justified to do so.
- Where doing so might prejudice any claim brought by UNITE HERE on the individual’s behalf
- Information relating to any dispute settlement process between UNITE HERE and the individual seeking access
- Notes and other work product of UNITE HERE officers, staff, and volunteers
- Information which could threaten or harm the life, health, safety or security of individuals other than the individual seeking access
- Where in UNITE HERE’s view the request is frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith
Where UNITE HERE can separate the information that is not to be disclosed from that which can be disclosed, it will do so.
UNITE HERE has a Privacy Officer on staff responsible for monitoring the Policy and ensuring that UNITE HERE Canada is in compliance with applicable laws. If a member wishes to obtain a copy of the Policy, has an inquiry, or wishes to file a formal complaint under the Policy, the member must contact the Privacy Officer in writing as follows:
UNITE HERE Canada Headquarters
895 Don Mills Road, Suite 900
Toronto, ON M3C 1W3
Attention: Privacy Officer