Ottawa's Transit Union Says Faulty Train Maintenance a Result of Shoddy P3 Deal, Should Bring Work In-House


OTTAWA – ATU 279, The local transit union in Ottawa that represents the city’s 3,000 transit workers, is calling the recent report from the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) very alarming and concerning saying that this is the result of the city’s continued use of public private partnerships that place profit ahead of safety.

The TSB report found that one of the main reasons for the September 19th derailment was the result of “incomplete maintenance” by Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM), the city’s private sector partner. In 2019, councillors approved a deal which saw the residents of Ottawa handcuffed to a 30-year $2.1 billion maintenance contract with RTM, costing residents between $4 and $5 million every month.

“Not only has this maintenance contract been extremely costly for residents but it has also put profit ahead of the well-being of transit riders and transit workers.” Said Clint Crabtree, President of ATU Local 279. “There is no reason why any of this work could not have been done in-house where we have actual trained, unionized maintenance workers, not doing so is putting people’s lives at risk.”

Another issue for the union has been the complete lack of transparency around this issue, which they call typical of P3 projects. Even city councillors who have attempted to get answers for their constituents around maintenance, cost or updates on the project have been scolded by leadership at City Hall.

“The fact that this crucial information had to come from the TSB and not from the city itself, speaks to how poor transparency has been.” Said Crabtree. “Both Rideau Transit Maintenance as well as our City Council need to be held accountable and bring this work in-house.”


For Media Inquiries:

Clint Crabtree


[email protected]