OC Transpo schedule audit delayed until fall
An audit of OC Transpo's scheduling system won't be complete until after the city and transit union likely begin negotiating a new labour deal that would make changes to the existing system.
Ottawa city council on Wednesday voted to delay all of Auditor General Alain Lalonde's audits until the fall.
The delays means the city will spend around $97,000 for an audit of the current system, even though a different system could be in place after contract talks this spring. The audit was originally expected to be completed in the spring.
But Lalonde said the comprehensive review will have value regardless of what changes are made.
"It'll be still useful for council to have this information, because obviously it's an issue that will be there for many, many years before us," said Lalonde.
When Lalonde announced his review, he said he wanted to find out if the scheduling system is "efficient and effective." OC Transpo management has claimed that changes made following the bitter 54-day strike in December 2008 and January 2009 had saved the city $4 million a year.
Scheduling key issue in strike
Scheduling of routes for drivers was the major issue during the OC Transpo strike and leaders of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279 have said it remains the contentious issue heading into the latest round of negotiations.
The union — which represents OC Transpo drivers, dispatchers and mechanics — has fought to give drivers more control over which shifts they work and also limit the total time between the start of a morning shift and the end of a paired afternoon shift so that drivers are not spending too long away from home.
The current deal between city and its drivers expires at the end of March.
The union has said it won't begin negotiations with the city until an arbitrator makes a decision on scheduling conflicts leftover from the last collective agreement are resolved.