Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

September 16, 2011 14:31 ET

A vote for public transit on October 6 is a vote for healthy families and healthy cities, CUPE Ontario says

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 16, 2011) - Proposed cuts to Toronto's transit system will hurt new Canadians, women and families, CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick said today at a Toronto-area leadership conference at the Lawrence Heights Community Centre. The city needs a friend at Queen's Park, Rennick said, and that friend is Andrea Horwath and the NDP.

Earlier this week, the Toronto city manager announced that city budget cuts may force the TTC to cut 1000 jobs and reduce service on many busy routes, as well as hike fares by 10 cents.

These latest proposed cuts come as city council is considering massive cuts to services across the board. These include cutting the number of childcare spaces available to families, huge cuts to social housing and community programs and closing libraries. The cuts come at the same time that the Conference Board of Canada shows the disparity between wealthy and poor in Canada is increasing, and increasing more rapidly than it has in the recession-plagued United States.

As the very wealthy become richer, the poor and middle classes are struggling more than ever, meaning that need for social services is going to increase in the short term. Demand for public transit is likely to increase at a faster rate than expected, as more people choose to save money by taking buses and trains rather than driving cars.

"The result would be one of the most expensive transit systems in North America, and for that fare increase riders will get longer wait times and more crowded buses," said Rennick. "That means more women standing alone longer at night at remote stops. It means longer commutes for parents, so less time for families and helping kids with homework."

Public transit use is particularly high in recent immigrant communities, where parents frequently work multiple low-paying jobs to provide for their families. For many hard-working Torontonians, the transit cuts and fare increases will add to fatigue, financial stress and the family conflict that results from stress and time apart.

In 2011, the TTC expects ridership to hit a record of 503 million rides, 16 million more than the 487 million forecast in the 2011 budget.

"Many Torontonians already commute 90 minutes or more than an hour each way across the city. After a long day, who wants to stand for another hour or two on a packed bus?" said Eglington-Lawrence NDP Canadidate Gerti Dervishi. "Our party has pledged to support families by providing cities with proper public transit funding. And that pledge is tied to fare freezes, which are really important to cash-strapped Torontonians, be they commuters or students."

Rennick and Dervishi were joined by NDP candidates Paul Ferreira (York South—Weston), David Hynes (St. Paul's), Kathleen Mathurin (Scarborogh Centre) and Neethan Shan (Scarborough—Rouge River).

"CUPE Ontario is encouraged by the dedication to transit and to cities that Andrea Horwath and the NDP have shown. We are proud to encourage our members and all Ontarians to support NDP candidates in the October 6 provincial election. In Toronto that means voting for candidates like Gerti Dervishi, Paul Ferreira, David Hynes, Kathleen Mathurin and Neethan Shan.

Contact Information

  • CUPE Ontario
    Candace Rennick

    CUPE Ontario
    Craig Saunders
    CUPE Communications
    High-resolution photos are available.