Public Transit Left out of Ministerial Mandate Letters For Transportation and Infrastructure Ministers, ATU Canada Says


OTTAWA – ATU Canada is questioning if public transit is at all a priority for the Trudeau government after the release of its ministerial mandate letters earlier today.

After an unusually long wait, the government has finally released their mandate letters to ministers including Minister of Transportation, Omar Alghabra and Infrastructure Minister Dominic Leblanc. Despite the fact that both portfolios deal heavily with public transit, there is almost no mention of it in either of their letters. Notably, Alghabra’s letter does not even mention public transit once.

“Public transit continues to be in crisis and transit agencies, mayors and workers across the country have been crying out for financial help.” Said John Di Nino, National President of ATU Canada. “This government talks a big game about the climate emergency and investment in public transit, but the release of these mandate letters today re-confirm that accessible, affordable and reliable public transit is not a priority.”

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 2021 however and many transit agencies are struggling.

According to a new report released by the Canadian Urban Transit Association, for every 10% drop in ridership transit agencies across the country lose $470 million a year.

“Not receiving any operational transit 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 as well as the local economy.” Said Di Nino. “We have been clear again and again – capital funding will not sustain our public transit agencies throughout one of the most difficult periods of their histories. We need operational funding and we need it yesterday.”


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