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April 27th, 2023

Jagmeet Singh joins transit workers’ union to call for actions to make transit safer for everyone

TORONTO – On Thursday morning, after participating in a roundtable on transit safety with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU Canada), Canada’s NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was joined by transit workers and union leaders to call for urgent action to make transit safer.

Singh is calling on Justin Trudeau to stop ignoring the issue and acting like everything is fine while Canadians’ fear grows.

“Canadians have a right to feel safe whether they’re taking transit or working in transit right now. The ongoing and increasing acts of violence on our cities’ transit systems is a crisis –we must act now,” said Singh. “Justin Trudeau keeps pretending that everything is fine and that this isn’t his problem instead of showing leadership and taking action. And Pierre Poilievre’s cuts to the services that people rely on would make things worse.

The NDP want a future where our kids can play outside, and our loved ones can take transit and walk home without worrying.’’

After a string of violent attacks on public transit against workers and riders in Toronto and other cities, a new survey has found that nearly six in ten public transit users in Canada say they feel less safe or somewhat less safe while commuting. For months, ATU has been calling for a National Transit Safety Task Force to deal with violence on transit systems across Canada and, a few days ago, the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) released recommendations to make transit safer for both workers and riders.

“We have to make transit safe for Canadians who rely on this service for their daily commute. And Justin Trudeau needs to get with the program, listen to commuters and take this problem seriously,” said Singh. “People can’t wait for Trudeau to decide this is important. As prime minister, I would show Canadians that I take this problem seriously by taking concrete steps immediately.”

“Public transit is experiencing its darkest times as violence escalates to a national crisis and ridership struggles to regain pre-pandemic levels – while Justin Trudeau’s government is not listening and frankly does not care. Transit Workers and riders are scared and are reluctant to work or ride on transit systems across this country,” said John Di Nino, ATU Canada President. “ATU Canada has been advocating for public transit safety for years, and more recently, at the start of 2023 called for a National Transit Safety Task Force to deal with the surge in violence – which has fallen on deaf ears. The downward spiral of public transit is imminent and will result in catastrophic consequences for Canadians who rely on this valuable service. Canadians expect safe, reliable, affordable, and accessible transit not only as a mobility right but also to tackle the consequences of carbon emissions and climate change.

We are pleased to stand with Jagmeet Singh and the NDP who have reinforced our call for action with numerous recommendations that align with ATU Canada’s priorities and those of Canadians.”

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New Democrats are proposing to:

  • Provide emergency operational funding for transit agencies so they can make transit safer for riders and workers;
  • put in place a National Transit Safety Task Force to deal with violence on transit across Canada;
  • change the criminal code to strengthen penalties for assault of all transit workers, not just transit operators;
  • Increase emergency funding for homelessness, shelters, mental health services and substance abuse programs;
  • Force telecommunication companies to provide cell service throughout transit facilities including tunnels and underground stations.