Sisters and Brothers,
While masks are now mandatory on the TTC and in public spaces in Toronto, ATU Local 113 first began calling on the TTC to allow its members to be allowed to wear masks in January – but it wasn’t until March that the policy was changed to allow our operators and maintenance workers to wear a mask to protect themselves. We again called for masks to be made mandatory for riders on the TTC in May but had to wait until July for that policy to come into force.
Our politicians and public health officials have failed us.
Now, after months of inaction, those same politicians and public health experts who had previously deemed masks ineffective are encouraging mandatory masks both on the TTC and in public spaces in Toronto, finally saying what we knew to be true months ago.
While ATU Local 113 supports these efforts, implementing mask policies earlier could have slowed the spread of the coronavirus and protected the health of transit workers and riders alike. If ATU Local 113 had not pressured the TTC to make these changes, masks would still not be mandatory on the TTC today.
We urge all levels of government to not make the same mistake when it comes to providing emergency transit funding. I first called on all levels of government to provide emergency funding in April, and I’m still waiting for a response.
Our members have played an irreplaceable role in Toronto’s pandemic response by getting essential workers to the frontline and will continue to play that role in facilitating Toronto’s economic recovery as we reopen. You’ve put your own health and safety, and the well-being of your loved ones, at risk to serve Toronto. Now it’s up to our elected officials to do their part.
Without immediate support from the provincial and federal governments, Toronto’s transit system will be crippled, putting both the economic recovery and public health of our city at risk.
President, ATU local 113