Public Transit Workers - forgotten and remain at risk amid COVID-19

Re: Public Transit Workers - forgotten and remain at risk amid COVID-19

Dear Ministers,

As COVID-19 continues to spread across Canada, our frontline workers in Public Transit have been forgotten and remain at risk – and they are worried. These workers have not been provided personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves – yet they continue to work – moving the general public, including essential workers in healthcare, emergency services, grocery, pharmacy and other deemed essential services. These employees have no way to protect themselves and have a right to protective masks and gloves, just like other public service workers. In our effort to raise awareness and support our members across the nation, we have launched a Petition – asking the Public to Stand With Canadian Transit Workers by signing this petition – sending a message to Ottawa that we need your help to protect the workers that move this country.

Public Transit across the nation is suffering great losses in revenue from a drastic reduction in riders as people are encouraged to stay at home until COVID-19 is under control – and this will lead to service reductions and lay-offs. As Public Transit operations rely on the farebox, without those fares the system will be devastated and unsustainable.

ATU Canada calls for emergency funding to save the nation’s Public Transit system which is a vital service for millions of Canadians. Furthermore, we call for the immediate redirection of at least $5 billion from the Canadian Infrastructure Bank to support a National Transit Strategy with dedicated operational funding for all Canadians. Immediate action is required – and we need help from both Federal and Provincial Governments working together to maintain payroll in the transit industry through comprehensive stimulus packages.

ATU Canada represents 34,000 transit professionals in motor coach, public transit, private contractors, vehicle operations and maintenance work across Canada. ATU Canada is part of ATU International, which has over 200,000 union members across North America.   


John Di Nino

ATU Canada President

CC: Cabinet Committee on COVID-19 The Honourable

Chrystia Freeland (Chair)

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos (Vice-Chair)

The Honourable Navdeep Singh Bains

The Honourable William Sterling Blair

The Honourable Patricia Hajdu

The Honourable Mélanie Joly

The Honourable William Francis Morneau

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons