ONTC workers left wondering about jobs
Union frustrated by lack of information
It's still not clear how many Ontario Northland workers will be affected when passenger rail service between Toronto and Cochrane ends in the wake of the province’s sell-off of services provided by the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission.
The last rides on the Northlander are scheduled for Friday — but what happens after that is still up in the air.
The spokesperson for the union that represents employees said he still doesn't know exactly how many jobs will be lost when the Northlander is parked.
"They are saying 21 to 25, and we are saying it's more than that," Brian Kelly said.
"So it's hard to get our heads around an answer from this government exactly what the effects are going to be."
While passenger service between Toronto and Cochrane ends Friday, Ontario Northland freight trains will continue to serve the region. Passenger bus service will also keep running.
Kelly said exactly when affected Northlander employees will be laid off is also unclear and noted the unions are now in arbitration to determine if enough notice has been given to terminate the service.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Northern Development was not able to provide information on how many positions will be cut following the last train on Friday — or when those jobs would end.
In the meantime, Kelly is left playing a guessing game.
"They are saying, ‘at this time’ [the positions involving] people who take care of the trains, do maintenance and maintenance on the tracks and who sell tickets, and dispatchers who actually are in control of the trains won't be impacted," Kelly said.
"But again, they preface that with ‘at this time’."