CUPE Ontario has joined more than 50 organizations across Canada to send a letter to the federal government calling for emergency and permanent transit operating funding. You can read the letter below.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,
Honorable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities,
Honorable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport,
Honorable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance,
Re: Groups from Sectors Across Canada Come Together to Ask for Emergency and Permanent Transit Operating Funding
Prime Minister Trudeau,
Public transit remains a lifeline for many Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic and will be essential to the country’s economic recovery. Essential service workers continue to rely on public transit to get to work, while others depend on transit to access basic needs such as medical care and food. Nevertheless, as the majority of Canadians are confined at home and ridership has declined by up to 90% for some, transit agencies can no longer rely on fare revenues to maintain operations and cover expenses. If we continue down this road, public transit agencies will be in dire straits and incapable of maintaining adequate levels of service to provide the basic right to move.
The Federal Government: A Critical Actor in Public Transit Recovery
This uncertain period requires innovative solutions. This is why we, the signatories below, have come together to demand that the federal government review its role in funding and maintaining the operational costs of public transit systems across Canada.
Two essential actions are needed for public transit to survive past this crisis:
1) We join our voices with many groups such as the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA), the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Amalgamated Transit Union Canada (ATU) in calling for emergency funding to keep Canadian transit systems running during the pandemic, along with bridge funding.
2) We urge the government to continue funding public transit beyond the pandemic. In reference to Minister McKenna’s mandate letter, the federal government must act on their promise of funding public transit permanently. This must be implemented as soon as possible because capital funding alone cannot keep transit affordable or functioning in the long term. Stable federal operating funding is needed for local transit agencies to improve service and cap fares to boost ridership after the pandemic.
Public Transit: Crucial for Our Communities Across Canada
Maintaining transit service has never been more important. Emergency federal funding is needed to ensure that transit agencies can maintain an adequate level of service during the pandemic for transit workers and riders to practice physical distancing.
Transit agencies need financial assistance with their operating costs in order to respect provincial public health guidelines. As such, they need to be supported in the purchase of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies, in providing paid sick days for employees, and halting fare collection as long as necessary.
We must re-evaluate how we see public transit and remember the vital role it plays in keeping essential services afloat. Transit is an essential component of a green economic recovery. We must equip ourselves with the necessary tools to face the climate crisis that is still ahead of us.
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
SEIU Local 2
Transport Action Canada
David Suzuki Foundation
Canadian Federation of Students – Fédération canadienne des étudiantes et étudiants
The Council of Canadians
Green Communities Canada
ATU Local 107 (Hamilton ON)
ATU Local 113 (Toronto ON)
ATU Local 1189 (Guelph ON)
ATU Local 279 (Ottawa ON)
Citizens United for a Sustainable Planet (CUSP) – Thunder Bay
CUPE Local 2
CUPE Local 5500 (Ottawa ON)
Disability Justice Network of Ontario
Doctors for Safe Cycling
Fight Gridlock (Brampton)
Free Transit Toronto
Free Transit Ottawa
Hamilton Transit Riders’ Union
Hamilton and District Labour Council
Hamilton Chamber of Commerce
MPP Jessica Bell, MPP for University Rosedale
London Cycle Link
London Transit Riders Alliance
London Environmental Network
Ottawa Transit Riders
Scarborough Transit Action
Social Planning Toronto
TAAG – Transit Action Alliance of Guelph
Toronto Environmental Alliance
Transport Action Ontario
Tri-Cities Transport Action Group (Region of Waterloo)
Manitoba Federation of Labour
CUPE Local 204
Functional Transit Winnipeg
ATU Local 1505 (Winnipeg MB)
Green Action Centre
Social Planning Council of Winnipeg
Bus Riders of Saskatoon
Free Transit Edmonton
Abundant Transit BC
Better Transit Alliance of Greater Victoria
ATU Local 1724 (Vancouver BC)
HandyDART Riders’ Alliance
Vancouver and District Labour Council
Transport Action Atlantic
It’s More Than Buses (Halifax)
CC: Premier Doug Ford, Premier François Legault, Premier John Horgan, Premier Jason Kenney, Premier Scott Moe, Premier Brian Pallister, Premier Blaine Higgs, Premier Stephen McNeil, Premier Dennis King, Premier Dwight Ball, Premier Caroline Cochrane, Premier Sandy Silver and Premier Joe Savikataaq.