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Outgoing Letters and Public Statements

May 17, 2011

Re: An Open Letter to Groupe Aeroplan Inc. in Regard to the Policies for the Aeroplan Charitable Pooling Program

Ms. Stephanie Rich, Senior Counsel
Privacy and Ethics, Aeroplan
5100 boul. de Maisonneuve Ouest
Montréal, Québec
H4A 3T2

Dear Ms. Rich,

Thank you for your letter of response dated April 21, 2011. We appreciate your taking the time to engage with our concerns and to respond so quickly.

We are somewhat perplexed by the response taken by Aeroplan to our concerns. Instead of adopting a more inclusive regime for the charitable pooling program, it seems that Aeroplan has made the decision to maintain a discriminatory policy, though admittedly a broader and more general discriminatory policy than was espoused one month ago.

The new policy of not allowing any religious cause to benefit from the Aeroplan charitable pooling program eliminates many charities which support and engage with communities both locally and internationally. It should be noted that some of the leading charities in the world, doing much of the work of caring for the poor, sick, vulnerable and war-ravaged communities are religious in nature. Such charitable leaders include World Vision, Compassion Canada and The Salvation Army and they remain, despite the revision of Aeroplan’s policy, excluded from the benefits of your program.

The EFC’s concern remains that Groupe Aeroplan’s position is not in keeping with both the requirements and the values of the Canada Human Rights Act or the spirit of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. To exclude an organization from the benefit of a service that is otherwise available to the public simply because that organization is religious is contrary to section 5 of the Human Rights Act. Not only does it discriminate against various organizations, but it also discriminates against those individuals who have been loyal to the Aeroplan partners by removing an option from Aeroplan collectors regarding how they might choose to use their earned rewards points.

The EFC notes that Air Miles allows individuals to donate Air Miles to a charitable organization regardless of whether or not the organization is religious. The Air Miles collected may then be pooled and used by the charity to reduce operating costs so that the organization can continue to do the work of engaging in and bettering communities both at home and abroad. In fact, Air Miles will issue a group of cards with one collection number in the name of a religious organization.

Once again, we respectfully request Groupe Aeroplan reconsider and change its position on excluding religious charities from participating in the Aeroplan Charitable Pooling Program.

A more inclusive policy is good for charities, for communities and for Aeroplan.



Don Hutchinson
Vice-President, General Legal Counsel
Director, Centre for Faith and Public Life
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

Outgoing Letters


EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger writes regular commentaries about public policy issues. The EFC magazine Faith Today often publishes articles and essays that examine such issues.

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