PRESS RELEASE: UNITE HERE, NDP MP Brian Masse call for investigation into privacy, security risks for Canadian companies tied to Chinese state-owned Anbang
Masse urges federal Privacy Commissioner to investigate concerns
Ottawa – UNITE HERE, the hospitality workers union, and MP Brian Masse (Windsor West), NDP Critic for Innovation, Science and Economic Development, held a press conference today on Parliament Hill to raise questions about privacy and security risks faced by those working in, or in the care of, Canadian companies tied to Anbang Insurance Group, a Chinese-state owned enterprise. Anbang owns Canadian nursing home chain, Retirement Concepts, and has ties to Canada’s largest hotel company, InnVest Hotels.
Masse is calling on Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien to launch an investigation into privacy and security risks to Canadian customers, employees and operators of Chinese state-controlled Anbang and Bluesky, whose ownership is murky and its president is a former Anbang executive. The two companies have access to large troves of personally identifiable information on thousands of Canadian workers, seniors, and hotel guests.
Mounting tensions between Canada and China, in addition to news about the Chinese state’s involvement in cyber attacks, such as the intrusion into the Marriott chain compromising the personal information of nearly 500 million Starwood guests over a four-year period, should prompt Ottawa to review these investments in long-term care and hospitality.
UNITE HERE has been meeting with MP’s this week to call for action to protect workers and others whose information may be vulnerable. UNITE HERE represents hospitality workers that work in businesses owned by Pacific Reach Properties, the operator of Retirement Concepts, and Bluesky-owned InnVest Hotels. The Union sent a letter to Minister Bains and Minister Goodale earlier this month questioning whether Anbang is still compliant under the Investment Canada Act since becoming a state-owned enterprise and how Ottawa is securing Canadians’ sensitive personal data under Anbang and Bluesky’s control.
“China’s control over Anbang and its relationship to Bluesky deserves deeper scrutiny. Would Ottawa approve either of these deals today, particularly given the Chinese state’s takeover of Anbang and its aggressive posture toward Canada?” asked Zailda Chan, president of UNITE HERE’s B.C. Local.
An affiliate of Pacific Reach Properties sold a controlling stake in Retirement Concepts to Anbang in 2017. Ottawa approved the $1 billion transaction over strong objections from critics. One year later, the Beijing-based company was seized by Chinese authorities who subsequently transferred ownership to the state. Reports suggest Anbang may have also been behind the acquisition of InnVest Hotels, which holds a portfolio of 80 hotels across Canada. InnVest was acquired by a shell company, Bluesky Hotels, and is fronted by a former Anbang executive.
Contact: Michelle Travis
Phone: (778) 960-9785