QUEEN’S PARK – NDP Transit critic, MPP Joel Harden (Ottawa Centre) and GTA Issues critic MPP Bhutila Karpoche (Parkdale—High Park) were joined by members of the Amalgamated Transit Union, including ATU Canada President John Di Nino and ATU 113 (Toronto & York Region) President Marvin Alfred to call for urgent steps from the Ford government to make transit safer.
“People must feel safe riding the subway and all public transit. The recent cases of violence on public transit have been heartbreaking and should be a wake-up call for this government that urgent action is needed,” said Karpoche. “We know that the state of Ontario’s mental health crisis, housing and homelessness crisis, and the rise of domestic and gender-based violence has created an unsafe environment for transit users and workers, notably in Toronto.”
Harden pointed out that while the Ford government has taken a “law and order” approach to this issue, there is little to no commitment to ensuring that transit agencies like the Toronto Transit Commission receive proper operational funding and staffing to ensure the safety of riders and workers.
“We need meaningful crisis response and commitments to addressing the root causes of this violence – with investment into transit, social services, supportive housing, mental healthcare, and more,” Harden said. “The amount of provincial funding to operate public transit is woefully inadequate. Ford’s budget allocated a mere $80 million to operational transit funding across the province – a decision that will ensure cuts to services and staffing, which impacts transit safety.”
John Di Nino, President of ATU Canada
"Enough with the half-measures, we need urgent action now. Governments of all levels have failed to address the need for safety, frequency, and support for our public transit system. Transit workers deserve safety, and that requires adequate staffing and services. None of those are possible without commitments to our operational funding – something that this government has failed to do. The time to act is now.”