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Unifor says now is the time for Toronto’s streetcar order

December 16, 2019 - 12:00 AM

TORONTO—Unifor’s deputation to the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) Board today is warning the public that any further delays in purchasing sixty new streetcars for the city’s already overcrowded system raises concern for the future of the very facility that produces them.

“Toronto is the fastest growing city in North America and also suffers some of the worst transit congestion on the continent,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “With all of its foot-dragging, the City of Toronto is playing chicken with commuters in Toronto and workers in Thunder Bay.”

The Bombardier facility in Thunder Bay manufactures bi-level trains for Metrolinx, TTC streetcars, and is the manufacturer of Rocket Subway Cars for Toronto’s subway system.

At present, the facility does not have enough orders to maintain operations beyond 2020. An immediate order of sixty TTC streetcars would secure the future of the sole manufacturing base for the city’s streetcar and subway systems.

The TTC released its five-year service plan on December 12 that fails to allocate funds for purchasing new streetcars until 2022. Today Unifor is calling on the City of Toronto and the TTC to:

  • accelerate plans to order for 60 new streetcars through Bombardier’s Thunder Bay facility immediately rather than delaying the order until 2022;
  • strongly consider purchasing an additional 40 streetcars as ridership continues to increase across the streetcar system;
  • utilize additional revenue from the City Building Fund to purchase new subway cars through Bombardier for Line 2 and scrap the plan to refurbish current trains.

“If Mayor Tory is serious that Toronto needs sixty more streetcars now, then the city’s plans must change now,” said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Director. “Workers have already felt the effects of previous delays with job losses, but another delay risks making the temporary damage permanent. Placing this order is a no brainer and would be a win – win for commuters and workers.”

“We also must remember that our highly skilled members have unique expertise, and if we lose them, they are gone for good. A new TTC order would preserve that skilled workforce in Ontario,” said Dominic Pasqualino Unifor Local 1075 President.

The province is also at risk of losing substantial revenues as recent studies have shown that every job maintained at the Bombardier facility in Thunder Bay supports between 1.5 and 2.8 additional full-time jobs, many of them in Ontario and in the GTA. These jobs result in $184 million in labour compensation and direct GDP and tax revenue of approximately $545 million and $33.5 million respectively.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries please contact Unifor Communications Representative David Molenhuis at David.Molenhuis@unifor.org or 416-575-7453 (cell).