Ford Government Measures Ignore Transit Workers, Other Front Line Workers Once Again

This afternoon, Premier Ford announced that the province of Ontario was set to go into another state of emergency, effective at midnight. This latest announcement once again falls short of protecting transit professionals and their families. This is a reactionary measure and the actions of local public health authorities to take measures in their own hands, show that they have no confidence in the Ford government to keep Ontarians safe.

The ATU is frustrated and shocked once again that the new stay-at-home order does not include protections like guaranteed paid sick days, and priority voluntary vaccinations for transit workers and all other frontline workers across the province These workers keep our cities striving, without them, we would be at a complete standstill. Once again, the provincial government is outright ignoring the advice of top public health officials who have said that these protections are necessary to keep our communities safe. 

Just like other frontline workers, transit professionals go to work everyday to keep our cities and province moving, despite the very well-known risks. For example, sources in the UK have reported that transit workers infected by COVID-19 are three times more likely to die than other workers. Despite this widely-shared public knowledge that the Ford government knows all too well, they have continued to ignore transit workers.

Slowing the spread of this virus, means implementing policies that keep Ontario workers safe. Not implementing policies like priority access to voluntary vaccinations for transit workers and other frontline workers and paid sick days will continue to throw us into a situation of perpetual lockdowns. 

We call on the government to put forward a plan that actually has the health and safety of Ontarians at its core. This includes enacting measures to implement priority voluntary vaccinations for frontline workers and paid sick days. Anything less is an affront to the people of Ontario. 

John Di Nino

President, ATU Canada