BC Transit investments flow offshore


VICTORIA, Sept. 26, 2016 /CNW/ - Despite criticisms from transit operators and Canadian manufacturers, BC Transit has quietly approved the purchase of another 17 "Vicinity" buses from China for its fleet. The $6-million public expense will create no jobs in Canada.

The latest offshore bus order adds to the May 2016 purchase of 41 Vicinity buses from the Chinese manufacturer.

"It's disgraceful when Canada has world-class transit vehicle manufacturers but the Premier would rather send that work and funding overseas," said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor's BC Area Director. "We can't have a green economy without creating green jobs at home."

Unifor says that BC Transit's fleet enhancement should have relied on models that are already in use in Metro Vancouver made by New Flyer Industries or Nova Bus. New Flyer employs more than 1,350 workers Winnipeg and Nova Bus employs more than 750 workers in Québec.

In 2013, documents obtained under Freedom of Information requests said that BC Transit had "quality concerns" about the same Chinese-made Vicinity buses from Grande West Transportation.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.