Canada's Transit Union Calls for Federal Payroll Subsidies in Transit Industry

March 17, 2020 

TORONTO—The President of Canada’s largest transit union is releasing a set of demands to weather the novel coronavirus crisis, including payroll subsidies for all transit agencies and contractors. 

“The transit industry is suffering from demand shocks that are leading to service reductions and lay-offs,” said ATU Canada President John Di Nino. “As we shift to emergency measures, we need to see the provincial and federal governments work together to maintain payroll in the transit industry through comprehensive stimulus packages. In this country, public transit is reliant on the fare box and without those fares the system will be devastated. ” 

In addition to emergency payroll funding for transit through a stimulus package, the ATU Canada President is calling for enhanced personal protective equipment for transit professionals. 

“As a public utility, transit employees have a right to personal protective equipment like gloves and masks, just like other public services,” added Di Nino. “We do not want to jump the line in front of health professionals who face greater exposure, but we think every bus operator and maintenance staff person on the front-line should have access to personal protective equipment. For those reliant on transit such as medical and health professionals, essential and emergency service providers, grocery store and retail workers, we need sanitary service at a level that maximizes social distancing,” added President Di Nino. 

Di Nino is also supporting the call from the Canadian Labour Congress to support all workers with or without unions. 

“The central labour committee in this country has outlined necessary steps for protecting working families in this moment. We need to see an ease on entry requirements for EI benefits and a benefit increase. We need to see paid sick leave and the abolition of doctor’s notes. We need to see relief on mortgage, loan, rent, and utility bills. We need to see full job protection for workers who self-quarantine. We need an increase in the Canada Child Benefit. We want to see these measures expanded to everyone—all workers—in Canadian society,” said Di Nino. 

The Canadian President wants to validate the hard work of all transit professionals in Canada who are working through this crisis. 

“I want to take this opportunity to thank all ATU members, and all other front-line workers, for their continued commitment, dedication, and professionalism, not just during this crisis but every day.” 

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.    


Media Contact: 

John Di Nino 

ATU Canada President 

Cell: 416-938-0746