Public transit in Ontario requires dedicated operational funding, not provincial ownership

TORONTO, JUNE 4, 2019—The Getting Ontario Moving Act was passed in the Ontario legislature today and the President of the Amalgamated Transit Union says it is headed in the wrong direction.

“Passing a bill that will destroy the Toronto Transit Commission’s integrated system of buses, streetcars and subways will not improve passenger safety or transit service for riders,” said ATU Canada President John Di Nino. “If Doug Ford wanted to enhance public transit, he would provide dedicated operational dollars to hire and train more transit professionals.”

ATU Canada does not believe the province needs to take ownership of the TTC’s operations and maintenance in order to build new transit projects. The TTC is the least funded transit system in North America; it requires dedicated operational funding from all levels of government.

“This new law gives Metrolinx unprecedented power to cherry-pick the most valuable assets of municipal transit and potentially give them away to big businesses. The City of Toronto will undoubtedly lose key stations, maintenance facilities and contracts, and possibly the subway system.”

The President of ATU Canada is raising these issues because the PC Party voted against key amendments brought forward by the official opposition during the committee hearings.

“The opposition asked the PC Party not to take the subway without the City’s consent, not to take the subway without compensation, and not to privatize the subway. In each case, the PC Party led by Doug Ford voted against these rational amendments,” added Di Nino.

ATU Canada is skeptical of Doug Ford’s transit plans and centralization of power.  

“Ford’s messaging is that the province can build transit faster, better and more efficiently. So, let’s look at the evidence from Metrolinx. PRESTO has led to $64 million in lost revenue for the TTC. Fares on the Union-Pearson Express were $27.50 for a one-way trip. The Confederation Line in Ottawa is now officially one-year passed the deadline. The Eglinton Crosstown project has huge cost overruns because Metrolinx cannot enforce contracts against big companies and management consultants. All of this is spelled out in the 2018 Auditor General report,” said Di Nino. “The PC Party has continued the same dubious practices of the Liberals when it comes to Metrolinx. Its just that simple.

The Amalgamated Transit Union of Canada is pushing for a National Transit Strategy that will prioritize safe conditions for transit professionals and passengers as well as dedicated operational funding through an increased share of the gas tax.

“During our many public outreach campaigns in Toronto subway stations, we have heard that people think Ford’s plan stinks. They questioned the lack of public consultations. They don’t think that the disintegration of the TTC is good for commuters or that Ford’s new transit plans will help his tanking ratings in public opinion polls.” 

The Amalgamated Transit Union is Canada’s largest transit union representing 34,000 Canadians who work as transit professionals in operations and maintenance. There are over 16,000 members in Ontario. ATU Canada is an advocate for transit professionals, commuters and the millions of passengers we move each month. 

Media Contact:

John Di Nino, 416-938-0746

[email protected]