|Erosion of intercity public transportation in Northern Ontario cause for concern
The Ontario Northland General Chairpersons’ Association (ONGCA) has grave concerns over the continued erosion of public
transportation service in Northern Ontario.
Over the past decade, the trend of private sector companies, as well as Ontario Northland, has been to reduce intercity bus and rail
service across Northern Ontario, with some communities losing service entirely.
“While Southern and Central Ontario's passenger transportation options have greatly increased or matured, the residents and
communities in Northern Ontario continue to suffer slow erosion of their services. From Parry Sound to Wawa to Hearst to Sault
Ste. Marie and through to Thunder Bay, there are very few communities in the North that have not had reductions of intercity bus or
rail service,” said ONGCA spokesperson Brian Kelly. Kelly is also the President of CAW Local 103 which represents CAW members at
“Communities like Chapleau, Foleyet and Manitoulin Island have lost their bus services altogether. With the recent Greyhound
announcement many other communities in the North are on the brink of losing their public transportation service,” continued Kelly.
“Intercity bus service is inexpensive, efficient and convenient. Quite often it is the only service available in rural areas and small
communities, including many First Nations. Bus service is eco-friendly, provides effective feeder service to other forms of public
transportation like rail and air, and provides access to medical services in large communities, transports persons with disabilities,
students, vacationers, seniors and many others,” said Kelly.
“Rail passenger service provides all of the above but also is a vehicle for tourism opportunities connecting Toronto, Canada’s largest
source of domestic tourism with remote wilderness and indigenous cultural tourism. With the increased focus on environmental
impact, and the desire to support Northern Ontario tourism, the importance of preserving public transportation has never been
more crucial”, continued Kelly.
“What Northern Ontario needs is a long-term, integrated and socially responsible plan for transportation options in the region to
stop this erosion of service. With provincial government direction and approval, the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission
could become the province’s transportation and communications authority for the North,” added Kelly.
“The ONGCA believes the erosion of public transportation services, rail and bus can be halted. We seek the support of all
communities and residents to let the provincial government know that public transportation on Northern Ontario is a vital service
and must be renewed, expanded and protected,” concluded Kelly.
The ONGCA is made up of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, United
Steelworkers and Canadian Auto Workers unions who represent all unionized employees at the Ontario Northland Transportation