Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ottawa transit not essential, city and union say

The Canada Industrial Relations Board held a hearing this morning in Ottawa to determine whether or not public transit in Ottawa should be deemed an essential service. Both union and city lawyers made presentations stating that there is no need to do so, according to a report on

The board has the power to order some striking employees back to work if it believes there is an immediate and serious danger to public health or safety that needs to be rectified.

Based on more than 3,000 submissions from the public and from both sides, the board has suggested that three groups might be affected by the transit strike in a way that endangers public health and safety:
  • Health-care workers.
  • Individuals who can't leave their homes and require health-care workers.
  • People on treatments and drugs.
Lawyers for both the city and for the Amalgamated Transit Union disagreed. They told the board that health-care workers are getting to work on time, people are learning to change habits and ambulance response times haven't been affected by the strike.
My only question is why we're asking representatives from the city and from the union--both of whom stand to lose something if transit is deemed essential (the city will be forced to negotiate through arbitration, the union will lose the ability to strike legally)--when most of our attention should be focussed on listening to the people whose mental and physical health and well-being is most affected.


fpteditors said...

Who benefits most from the strike? The oil and auto companies.
Free Public Transit Blog

Anonymous said...

How about if this strike reaches two months there will be a major protest and widespread disruption, I think that would only be fair enough. What does it take for this to be settled? Why do these people think so many of us pay to ride buses if we actually have a better way of commuting?

Ben Myers said...

I says in there that people are learning to change habits... and I hope it's not referring to people changing their habits to be less dependent on OC Transpo... that's bad for the city.

However, I've done just that because of the recent strike. I can't trust OC Transpo to be there all the time, so I won't accept jobs that are outside walking distance. I'm less dependent on the bus and the city/union has lost a rider.