Federal Budget Leaves Out Transit Workers and Riders as Operational Transit Funding Completely Left Out, Says ATU Canada

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OTTAWA – ATU Canada National President, John Di Nino expressed his disappointment and frustration with the most recent federal budget that he says missed an important and historic opportunity to save public transit agencies currently in crisis across the country. Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, transit agencies have faced huge losses in revenue due to a drop in ridership.

ATU Canada has been demanding the government invest in emergency operational transit funding since last year. Their demands were somewhat met when in late 2020, the government came to an agreement with provinces that saw $2.3 billion flow into the coffers of municipalities for transit. This came to an end for many cities at the end of March however and many transit agencies are struggling.

“We were encouraged with the government’s announcement in February around capital funding but today the federal government has failed transit workers and transit riders.” Said ATU National President John Di Nino. “For months we have been asking this government for emergency funding but without it, the crisis for transit agencies will worsen.”

Last week, the Keep Transit Moving Coalition of which ATU Canada is a part, sent a letter to the Finance Minister asking her to extend emergency transit funding that they had committed earlier last year. Sixty organizations including large unions like CUPE, UNIFOR and PSAC and environmental organizations like the David Suzuki Foundation signed the letter, displaying large support across sectors. Further, a poll done with EKOS Research showed that over 70% of Canadians supported extending emergency transit operational funding.

“Millions of workers including doctors, nurses, LTC workers, food production, transport and retail staff, seniors, low-income populations, people with disabilities, and newcomers need access to reliable and affordable transit to get to work and access services.” Said Di Nino. “Not receiving this operational funding means that essential services, including paratransit for seniors and people with disabilities, will be interrupted; this will harm the health and quality of life of our most vulnerable citizens.”

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