On December 17th, the City of Toronto will mark Transit Worker Assault Awareness Day.

ATU Local 113 continues to advocate strongly for transit workers in Toronto and to fight to make the TTC a safer place to work.

In 2021, Local 113 launched a survey to better understand the experiences and safety concerns of our members. The results highlighted that the problem of violence and harassment is worse than we thought. Our union has  since called on the TTC and the City of Toronto to work with us to make public transit a safer place for workers and passengers alike.

Last year, our union held a joint press conference with ATU Canada, where our members offered their testimony on the violence and assaults they encountered on the job, and the impact these incidents have on their daily lives.

As a result of the union’s due diligence, a Joint Management Health and Safety committee was established to ensure the employer was held accountable for safer work environments for all.

Local 113 continues to pursue several recommendations to develop and implement a comprehensive workers’ safety strategy, including:

Building greater public awareness

As a significant number of assaults on transit workers are committed by members of the public, it is important to develop a better relationship with the public and to create engagement with transit professionals. Conversations must take place within the community to raise awareness. In-person outreach programs can be designed to implement a customer campaign focused on respecting TTC employees and keeping them safe.

Improvements to organizational culture

To support our members and create a workplace environment that prioritizes employees, there needs to be improvements to organizational culture. The TTC needs to improve the current reporting system and actively listen and act upon worker-initiated reports more vigorously. They need to do more to support transit workers mental health, promote diversity and inclusion, improve investigation procedure and risk assessment, provide better training, protection and enforcement, and create external campaigns to increase community engagement.

Investments in improved technology and innovation

Local 113 has recommended that engineering controls be put in place to provide more protective barriers in the workplace to prevent transit workers assaults. Improved communications technology, measures, and procedures for summoning immediate assistance when workplace violence occurs is also required.

Enforcement of proper penalties

There must be consistent and proper enforcement of penalties for members of the public who violate the guidelines on harassment and discrimination or commit acts of violence.

Stopping the violence and assaults on public transit requires collaboration and a commitment to results.

Local 113 will continue to have the voices of our members heard, and advocate for making public transit safer for all.