January 27, 2015 -
A new on-the-job tracking system at the airports in Montreal, Toronto and Halifax that require Air Canada baggage handlers to scan their fingerprints to clock in and out of work has been met with a considerable backlash, according to a report by CJAD 800 AM.
An Air Canada spokeswoman told La Presse the biometric time attendance system is widely used throughout the industry, adding that the airline introduced the technology to boost security and replace obsolete equipment.
Some employees have said that their supervisors told them that if they did not comply with the fingerprint scanning, their employment would be terminated.
Additionally, employee complaints that argued that the system invaded their privacy were continuously ignored.
The union representing the employees said that its members are not opposed to providing their fingerprints to the RCMP or Transport Canada, but feel that Air Canada’s threats of firing them if they do not comply with fingerprinting is going too far.
The union has officially filed a grievance and numerous privacy complaints.
According to a report by The Globe And Mail, it`s not clear the airline is doing anything illegal. A decade ago, Canada’s federal privacy commissioner established broad criteria for biometric workplace measures relating to voiceprint and GPS tracking technology.
The laws state that the employer must demonstrate a need for collecting their employee’s biometric data, it does not use the data for any other purpose, it protects the data, notifies employees in advance that it is collecting the data, and provides employees with access to their data.
Though some may argue that fingerprinting is relatively non-intrusive, it is a tactic that is popularly used by police to monitor criminals.
Additionally, there are far less invasive options available to companies for tracking their employees work activities and audit their hours.