Sudbury

Ontario Northland president: "We want to move away from entitlement"

The interim president of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission gave a stark warning to municipal leaders gathered in Sudbury this week for the Northern Ontario Federation of Municipalities conference.

"We want to move away from the fact that, you know, we deserve things because we're Ontario Northland."

(Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

Corina Moore says the company is bleeding.

The interim president of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission gave a stark warning to municipal leaders gathered in Sudbury this week for the Northern Ontario Federation of Municipalities conference.

"That highlights crisis situation for the agency," said Moore.

She said it has reached a pivotal point where Ontario Northland can't continue to lose money if it expects to exist in the future.

Moore admitted the future will be challenging because the company hasn't seen much change in 113 years.

"We want to move away from entitlement. We want to move away from the fact that we deserve things because we're Ontario Northland. We are here to say that, starting now, we are focused on performance-based thinking and the way we do things. It's a culture shift and it's a tough one."

Corina Moore is the interim president of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission. (provided)

The majority of northern Ontario leaders support the transportation company, but they have different ideas about what its future should look like.

Timmins Mayor Steve Black believes the future is to have the crown corporation serve the Ring of Fire.

"Then it would give the ONTC a much better footing going forward to be able to be sustainable and be something that the government doesn't have to look at the cost of on a routine basis," he said.

In response, Moore said the company can't dive into the Ring of Fire right now,  because it's just trying to stay afloat. 

"The best thing Ontario Northland could do at this point and I think it actually aligns probably with the time frame for the Ring of Fire is anyways, is for Ontario Northland to get our house in order," Moore said.

She said the company will release a plan detailing a major transformation within the next six months.

Moore said Ontario Northland is expected to break even in its motor coach business, as well as the remanufacturing and repair divisions. She said it'll continue to provide freight rail services and the Polar Bear Express passenger line, with a provincial subsidy.

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