Ottawa

OC Transpo layoffs averted as city shifts to LRT

Hundreds of OC Transpo employees whose jobs were in jeopardy because of the ongoing transition from buses to LRT will have their pink slips rescinded, the city has announced.

Hundreds of pink slips rescinded as transit agency sets sights on service improvements

The bus platform at St-Laurent station in Ottawa on Sept. 6, 2019. (Andrew Lee/CBC)

Hundreds of OC Transpo employees whose jobs were in jeopardy because of the ongoing transition from buses to LRT will have their pink slips rescinded, the city has announced.

In July 2018, the city estimated 345 employees would lose their jobs when the Confederation Line was up and running, a number that was reduced to 339. Those employees were warned their jobs would be affected. 

But in a memo issued Thursday, transportation services general manager John Manconi said there will be no layoffs, thanks in part to the lengthy wait for LRT.

"The 16 months delay of the launch that we experienced provided OC Transpo with further opportunities to reduce the number of impacted staff," Manconi wrote. That was achieved by carefully managing vacancies and retirements, Manconi wrote, but also because of the extra resources that will be needed to expand bus service and improve reliability.

'This is a good day'

In the end, 201 "full-time equivalents" — essentially, positions that were budgeted for but not filled — will be eliminated, leaving enough room to move existing employees into new jobs.

"This will result in no layoffs to staff as they will be deployed to these vacant positions and service areas," Manconi wrote.

"This is a good day, not just for OC Transpo employees, but for the riders of OC Transpo going forward," said Coun. Allan Hubley, who chairs of the city's transit commission. "Our customers are going to have certainty that the person driving their bus has experience."  

He said the details of the service improvements won't be known until the 2020 budget is tabled next month.

"I am a firm believer that there are people who want to use the service, but haven't been able to because they don't want to get on that bus that comes every morning and is packed to the rafters," Hubley said.

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