The province plans to continue to operate the motor coach, Polar Bear Express, rail freight, and refurbishment services of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission as a government owned company.

However, the province said the sale of Ontera, a telecommunications company is moving forward and will be sold to Bell Aliant for $6 million.

“I am … very encouraged by what Bell Aliant will bring to support strong telecommunications services in the northeast, including a $30.2 million public-private investment in infrastructure,” Michael Gravelle, minister of northern development and mines said.

Michael Gravelle

Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

The province said the sale of Ontera was open and competitive, and included oversight by a third-party fairness monitor.

It will spend more than $23 million over the next three years on the rest of the ONTC, pending budget approvals, to purchase new motor coaches for the bus line and to refurbish rail coaches for the Polar Bear Express.

“All organizations need to adapt and change in order to be sustainable,” Ted Hargreaves, chair of Ontario Northland Transportation Commission said.

“I think this is our time to change.”

North Bay Mayor Al McDonald said since the province announced in 2012 it planned to sell the company, there has been a period of uncertainty.


(Erik White/CBC)

“My number one priority all along was to save jobs and bring certainty to the future of the ONTC,” he said.

“This announcement ensures that the ONTC, which has been head quartered here in our city for over 100 years, will remain and bring stability and confidence to our community.”