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November 18, 2014

Update All Unifor Local 103 Members

The Bargaining Committee has confirmed that we will be meeting with the company on November 27th and 28th in North Bay to continue negotiations in Agreements #5 (On Board Services) and Agreement #9 (Cochrane Station Inn).

We are in the processing of confirming future dates for Agreement #1 (Clerical), Agreement #4 (CMC-CSU, Stores – Express) and Agreement #12 (Shops), soon as we have dates confirmed in those agreements we will apprise the membership.

In Solidarity,
Bargaining Committee

 


November 11, 2014

GCA Update

The GCA met with senior ONTC management yesterday in North Bay. At this meeting the company made an overview presentation to the unions about managements’ government approved business plan to restructure or in their words transform the ONTC.

The plan we heard yesterday was not the joint union/management plan put together last February at Premier Wynne’s request, but management’s plan from November 2013 with some alterations.

Management stated that there would be organizational and operational changes that will see some portions of work now performed in North Bay relocated to Englehart and Cochrane. The Company did not provide specific details on the operational and organizational changes or any adverse effects to our members at this meeting. That would be provided to the unions in the form of Article 8 or Material Change Notices, in the coming weeks or months. Once the respective unions have those details they will be shared with their membership.

The GCA will continue to press the Ontario government including Premier Wynne to live up to their commitments over the last number of years to put work into our facilities and to provide the services all northern communities that as Ontarians they require to grow and prosper no different than communities in the southern parts of the province.

In Solidarity,
General Chairperson’s Association

 


October 20, 2014

GCA Notice

The GCA has been invited to meet with the Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle to discuss the future of the ONTC and how we can work together to make transformation of Ontario Northland a success.

The meeting is scheduled for November 5, 2014 in Toronto.

We will keep members apprised as developments unfold.

In Solidarity,
General Chairperson’s Association

 


October 2, 2014

To All Unifor Local 103 Members

Yesterday’s announcement that the Competition Bureau had approved the sale of Ontera by the Wynne Government to Bell Aliant is indeed a very sad day for all people who work at Ontera and in the proud history of the ONTC.

Our hearts go out to all Ontera workers and we wish them all the best, you will be sadly missed.

To our Unifor Local 103 members who work for Ontera we have been asking for the last six month for the company to inform of us of any potential adverse effects to our members caused by this sale. The company has been evasive and has consistently replied that the transition to Bell Aliant could take up to a year to complete and that the services our members supply are still needed during the transition but nothing else.

Today we again wrote the company requesting that they meet with us as soon as possible so they can advise us of any adverse effects to our members now that the sale has received regulatory approval.

We will apprise the membership soon as a meeting date has been confirmed. We understand this is a stressful time for all members and in this case especially our Clerical members, soon as we have definitive information from the company on the impacts of this sale we will advise the membership immediately.

In Solidarity,
Brian Kelly
President

 


September 30, 2014

Update All Unifor Local 103 Members

Local Bargaining Committee met with the ONTC over the last two days in North Bay to exchange proposals to begin the process to renew our five collective agreements.

We emphasized the importance of meaningful dialogue with the Premier, the Minister of Northern Development, the Minister of Transportation and the ONTC surrounding ONTC's participation in the Ring of Fire; finalizing a strategic alliance with Metrolinx and the refurbishment of rail passenger equipment in our North Bay facilities.

We proposed in order to gain efficiencies in the administration of the five collective agreements, that we are open to the consolidation of the four federally certified agreements. As well we are open to the inclusion of Agreement #9, although it falls under provincial jurisdiction.

We anticipate this round of bargaining may be somewhat protracted, due in large part to the complexities presented by the past two plus years of divestiture uncertainty. In response to these complexities and the importance surrounding the future of the ONTC we offered to set aside the strike and lockout provisions under the Canada Labour Code. We proposed to begin discussions as per Section 79 of the Code and meet with the assistance of an agreed upon mediator to continue discussions in reaching new collective agreements.

We are awaiting the company’s response on these proposals as well as future meeting dates. In the interim we will be meeting to begin discussions on resolving outstanding grievances.

We will continue to apprise the membership as negotiations unfold.

In Solidarity,
Bargaining Committee

 


August 25, 2014

Notice
Agreement #12
Unifor Local 103

Here are the members who have accepted nomination for Unit #12 Chair:

  • Darin Axcell
  • Rob Castellan
  • Mike Lavergne
  • Dwight Wagner

The election committee will be in your area as follows (Northern times may vary by a few minutes or so):

  • Advance polls to take place at the Unifor office
    Suite 102B
    107 Sheriff Avenue
    North Bay
    Wednesday Sept. 3rd @ 1500-1700
  • Englehart Maintenance of Way Shops
    Monday Sept. 8th @ 10:00-10:30am
  • Hoyle Car (Kidd Creek) Shack
    Monday Sept. 8th @ 12:00-12:30pm
  • Timmins Bus Garage
    Monday Sept. 8th @ 1300
  • Cochrane Shop Lunch Room
    Monday Sept. 8th @ 1530-1615
  • Cochrane Shop Lunch Room
    Tuesday Sept. 9th @ 7:30-8:15am
  • Moosonee Express Building
    Tuesday Sept. 9th, shortly after train arrival
  • Rouyn Car Shop
    Wednesday Sept. 10th @ 1600
  • North Bay Diesel Shop Union Office
    Thursday Sept. 11th @ 8:30-10:00 and 1500-1615
  • North Bay Bus Garage - Lunch Room
    Thursday Sept. 11th @ 11:00-11:30am

In Solidarity,
Election Committee

 


July 15, 2014

Update All Unifor Local 103 Members

Today the Union delivered the ONTC and the Wynne Government with the legal “notice to bargain” which is a requirement under that Canada Labour Code and the Ontario Labour Relations Act requesting that we meet to begin negotiations to renew with the 5 separate collective agreements (Agreements 1, 4, 5, 9 and 12)

We want to thank everyone who has submitted their comments and items for inclusion into our proposals over the past several months and we are in the process of finalizing them now. As everyone can well appreciate, this round of negotiation is more than wages, benefits and contract language, this round of bargaining will be about the Wynne’s Government long term commitment to the north, through the ONTC.

Premier Wynne, Minister Gravelle and others around the cabinet table have committed to working with Unifor, ONTC, Metrolinx and Ministry of Transportation to “get done” the work of formalizing the strategic alliance with Metrolinx. Additionally, the Ontario government recognizes that Ontario Northland can play a role in the transportation infrastructure in the Ring of Fire and we want to be part of those discussions they have committed to having.

These and other discussions will undoubtedly form part of the dialogue in this round of negotiations, to ensure a stable and sustainable organization that can support wider economic development in the North.

This round is about the future.

No meeting dates have been established to exchange proposals at this time and we will keep you updated throughout this round of negotiations.

In Solidarity,
Bargaining Committee

 


July 8, 2014

Election Notice
For Unit #12 Local Chair

Due to the resignation of Local Chair Chris Mong we will now be accepting nominations of the said position from July 14th to August 8th.

Acceptance of nominations will run from August 11th to August 22nd.

Advanced polls will take place in North Bay at the Local Office on Sheriff Avenue on September 3rd.

Northern polls will take place from September 8th to September 10th.

North Bay polls will take place on September 11th.

All times to be determined.

In Solidarity,
Election Committee

Please forward nominations, questions or concerns to Mr. Bill Briscoe (b.briscoe @ontarionorthland.ca) or Mr. Paul Van Schaayk (paul.vanschaayk@ontarionorthland.ca) or Mr. Lindsay MacIvor call shops at 705-472-4500 x431

 


June 10, 2014

Unifor Local 103 throws support behind NDP in ridings serviced by ONTC

North Bay - Unifor Local 103 representing 350 unionized employees at the ONTC is urging its members and the general public to support the NDP candidate in the riding where they live, in the upcoming Ontario Election this Thursday June 12, 2014.

“The Liberal party put Ontario Northland workers and the communities we serve through two years of gut wrenching chaos with their plan to conduct a fire sale of ONTC assets. After much lobbying and support from the communities, customers and employees the Liberals have decided to keep the ONTC with no plan for future work but still intend to sell off ONTERA to Bell Aliant. A vote for the Liberals is a vote to continue the chaos”, said Unifor Local 103 President Brian Kelly.

In March 2012 workers rallied outside PC MPP Vic Fedeli’s office. When asked if he was with the workers at Ontario Northland in opposition to divestment Mr. Fedeli stated:

“I going to be straight with you. I have always been straight with you," said Fedeli, reminding the group that he has been a friend to the ONTC from more than 30 years. "I can't tell you what you want to hear… I can't say I'm opposed to privatization”

“Mr. Fedeli and his party are no friends of the ONTC and do not deserve our support”, continued Kelly.

“The only provincial political party that has consistently supported the retention of the ONTC as a public agency, the cancellation of the sale of ONTERA, a strategic alliance between the ONTC and Metrolinx and a role for the ONTC in the transportation network to the Ring of Fire is the NDP. We are urging everyone to vote for the NDP candidate in the following ridings on June 12th”, concluded Kelly.

Nipissing – Henri Giroux

Timiskaming – Cochrane – John Vanthof

Timmins – James Bay – Gilles Bisson

Sudbury – Joe Cimino

Nickel Belt – France Gelinas

Algoma – Manitoulin – Michael Mantha

Sault Ste. Marie – Celia Ross

For more information please contact Brian Kelly 705-471-5263

 


June 6, 2014

Ontario Northland General Chairperson’s Association – 2014 Election Questions
Ontario NDP Response

  1. Does your Party support the retention of the ONTC as a Crown Agency of the Government of Ontario?

    Yes. The Ontario NDP has fought hard to keep ONTC public and will continue to do so.

  2. Does your party support the sale of Ontera to Bell Aliant?

    No, we do not. We believe Ontera should stay public and be part of a public ONTC.

  3. Does your party support the retention of Ontera as a division of the ONTC, and the termination of the sale to Bell Aliant?

    Yes, see above.

  4. Will your party implement a Strategic Alliance between the ONTC Refurbishment Division and Metrolinx that will allow GO Transit coaches to be refurbished at the ONTC North Bay facilities?

    Yes, the ONTC and Metrolinx should pursue a new strategic alliance for the refurbishment of GO Transit equipment. This will provide badly needed jobs in North Bay and ensure that Ontario tax dollars are put to work creating jobs in Ontario.

  5. Will your party implement a Strategic Alliance between the ONTC Motor Coach Division and Metrolinx that will allow greater cooperation and integration of Motor Coach services and routes between the two Crown Agencies?

    Yes, such an alliance would allow for a seamless transfer between the two services and would be in the interest of both systems.

  6. Does your party support changing the ONTC Act to provide Ontario Northland with the means to be the Ring of Fire's Transportation Agency?

    There are a number of options to deal with the transportation needs of the Ring of the Fire. An Ontario NDP government would sit down with all stakeholders and examine a range of optionsbefore making a decision on this vital project.

 


June 6, 2014

GCA Notice

As you may know, KWG Resources is a significant stakeholder in the Ring of Fire project and is a vocal proponent and supporter of utilizing rail as the preferred transportation option into the region. KWG has started an online petition asking for public support to persuade all 3 major Ontario Political Parties to make changes to the ONTC Act that would allow it to become the Northland Development Corporation, and to provide the Corporation with the means and governance model necessary to build and operate a rail transportation system into the Ring of Fire.

The GCA firmly believes that the ONTC can play a vital role in the development of the Ring of Fire, and we ask that you take the time to sign the petition at the link below. Please feel free to pass this information onto your family, friends and coworkers. This is an important initiative for the future growth and prosperity of the ONTC.

Go to the petition

 


May 30, 2014

Job plan latest reason to defeat Hudak
By Jerry Dias

If Tim Hudak is elected, Ontario will see unprecedented job cuts, healthcare cuts, education cuts and the decimation of workers’ rights.

For those who value decent jobs, good health care, strong communities and a bright, stable future for our children, the primary objective in this election must be to keep Tim Hudak from becoming premier.

Read the full letter

 


April 24, 2014

GCA Update

The presentation being made to North Bay City Council on Monday April 28th has been cancelled.

 


April 22, 2014

GCA Update

The GCA will be making a presentation to North Bay City Council on Monday April 28th about a truly sustainable future for the ONTC through an alliance with Metrolinx and a role for Ontario Northland in the development of a transportation infrastructure for the Ring Of Fire.

It would be great to have as many ONTC workers in the council auditorium that evening as we ask the community for their continued support for Ontario Northland.

Meeting is at 7 pm Monday April 28, 2014 North Bay City Council Chambers, 200 McIntyre Street East.

In Solidarity,
General Chairperson’s Association

 


April 11, 2014

GCA Update

The GCA will be making a presentation to North Bay City Council on Monday April 14th looking for their support in convincing the Wynne Government that the sale of ONTERA is not in the best interest of its employees, company, communities and taxpayers.

It would be great to have as many ONTC/ONTERA workers in the council auditorium that evening as we ask the community to continue their support of ONTERA and Ontario Northland.

Meeting is at 7 pm Monday April 14, 2014 North Bay City Council Chambers, 200 McIntyre Street East.

In Solidarity,
General Chairperson’s Association

 


February 25, 2014

GCA Update

As requested by Premier Wynne at a meeting with the GCA and Senior ONTC Management on February 5, 2014, the GCA and ONTC Senior Management have met over the last number of weeks to develop a joint business plan to transform the company as an alternative to divestment.

Yesterday, Monday February 24th, we completed an all-encompassing business plan for the entire organization, including ONTERA.

The next phase in this process is to present the business plan to the Wynne government for their review and approval.

As the document has not been submitted to government, and until the government has had the opportunity to review it and make a decision on its implementation, the contents of the business plan have to remain confidential.

We will apprise the membership as any additional information becomes available.

In Solidarity,
General Chairperson’s Association

 


February 7, 2014

GCA Update

The GCA and ONTC Senior Management will resume Transformational discussions as per Premier Wynne’s request. Our first meeting is scheduled for Monday February 10, 2014 in North Bay.

We will apprise the membership as developments unfold.

In Solidarity,
General Chairperson’s Association

 


 

February 6, 2014

GCA Update

We met yesterday with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, North Bay Mayor Al McDonald, ONTC President Paul Goulet and ONTC Chair Ted Hargreaves in North Bay to discuss the ONTC.

It was a very positive meeting with a good discussion about the issues confronting the ONTC and possible solutions. The discussion turned to the problems both management and unions had in securing authorization from the Ministry of Northern Development to begin discussions on developing a business plan to keep all divisions of the ONTC intact as a Crown Agency.

We also raised our concerns that the sale of ONTERA appeared to be imminent and that it would be sold before we had an opportunity to complete and present a business plan. The Premier responded that no decision had been made on ONTERA and that no decision would be made until we had an opportunity to present the Minister’s Advisory Committee (MAC) with a business plan.

The Premier encouraged both Mr. Goulet and the GCA to meet and stated that Mr. Goulet had the authority to work with us on developing a plan but insisted that time was of the essence and that she would like to see a business plan soon. No date was established for having the plan ready but we expect one will be set soon.

There is an incredible amount of work to be done and tough decisions will have to be made but we believe this is the opportunity all of us have been asking for over the last two years. We are hopeful that even after two very trying years there can be a positive outcome for the employees of Ontario Northland and the communities we serve. The GCA recognizes the terrible strain the last two years of indecision has had upon our members and wishes to thank them for their continued support.

In Solidarity,
General Chairperson’s Association

 


 

January 31, 2014

Northern Development Minister Michael Gravelle encourages GCA to continue ONTC Transformational talks

North Bay - In a January 29, 2014 letter to the General Chairperson's Association (GCA) representing unionized employees at Ontario Northland, Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle’s encouraged the GCA to continue participating in transformational business plan discussions with the ONTC as a viable option to divestment.

"Mr. Gravelle responded to our most recent letter reaffirming his commitment made to the GCA on December 9, 2013 that the ONTC and GCA develop a transformational business plan for Ontario Northland", said GCA spokesperson Brian Kelly.

"The GCA has written ONTC President Paul Goulet proposing future meeting dates in the coming weeks and the first item on the agenda will be the tele-communications division ONTERA ", continued Kelly.

“We expect that in the absence of bureaucratic interference, we will develop a long term plan that will not only transform and sustain the ONTC, but ensures that all lines of business of the crown agency remain viable and intact. This will allow the 110 year organization to continue as Minister Gravelle desires, providing sustainable and affordable public services for Northern Ontario”, concluded Kelly.

For more information please contact Brian Kelly at 705-471-5263

 


 

January 24, 2014

GCA Update

The GCA made a presentation to North Bay City Council on Monday January 20th. We asked for their support in pressing the Minister of Northern Development and Mines to keep the commitment he had made to the GCA on December 9, 2013 to allow Senior ONTC management and the GCA leadership the opportunity to develop a business plan as an alternative to divestment.

The Mayor and Council were very supportive of our request and will be putting a motion forward for adoption at the next Council meeting. The meeting is scheduled for 7 pm Monday February 3, 2014 North Bay City Council Chambers, 200 McIntyre Street East.

It would be great to have as many seats filled by ONTC employees as possible in the Council Auditorium that evening. This will demonstrate to Council the importance of their support on this critical issue for the community.

Hope to see you there.

In Solidarity,
General Chairperson’s Association

 


 

January 8, 2014

Unifor Local 103 Ratifies 3 Year Agreement with Dyno Nobel Canada Inc.

Unifor Local 103 which represents employees at Dyno Nobel Canada Inc., an Explosives Manufacturing & Distributing company located in North Bay, Ontario concluded bargaining on Tuesday January 7, 2014 with a new three year deal expiring December 5, 2016.

“This agreement allows Dyno Nobel to maintain competitive in the growing market while continuing to recognize the importance and value of its employees” said Andy Mitchell, Vice President Unifor Local 103.

“Contract language improvements in the renewed Collective Agreement were well received by the membership who ratified the deal today (January 8, 2014) by a margin of 100% in favour” said Mike Martin, Local 103 Unit Chairperson.

“The three year agreement provides for wage improvements of 1.5% in the first year, 2% in the second year, 2% in the third year and a $2500 signing bonus for each employee” added Mike Martin.

“Both parties entered into this round of negotiations focused on achieving a fair and equitable agreement. The respectful labour management relationship played a key role in achieving this agreement as we discussed the tough issues. We look forward to continuing to work with Dyno Nobel to grow as this market expands” concluded Mitchell.

Unifor Local 103 represents 9 employees at Dyno Nobel.

For additional information please contact Andy Mitchell at 705-493-3817

 


 

December 19, 2013

Update to Members

The GCA met Wednesday December 18, 2013 with Senior ONTC Management to discuss the next phase in the transformation of Ontario Northland. This meeting was initiated at the request of the Minister of Northern Development and Mines when we met with him on Monday, December 9th.

The company provided the GCA with a briefing on concepts and thoughts as to what a transformed and restructured ONTC may look like as an ongoing government Agency. The meeting was a positive one and the GCA and ONTC Management agreed that we would meet again in the New Year to further explore each other’s concepts and begin to formalize a business plan involving all divisions, including Ontera. This would be in line with Minister Gravelle’s public comments “…I continue to work alongside a dedicated group of Northerners that include members of my ONTC advisory committee, ONTC management, and union representatives to transform the ONTC. We share a goal of sustainable telecommunication and transportation services and we certainly share the goal of a prosperous North”.

The GCA has requested that serious consideration be given to securing the assistance of a facilitator and some industry experts to assist if needed. We see this as an important opportunity to work with Senior Management and others leaders to provide Minister Gravelle with the transformed and sustainable integrated transportation and communication Agency serving the needs of northerners and Ontario.

At this time the GCA wishes to thank all members for their support and wish all a Merry Christmas and a safe a Happy New Year.

In Solidarity,
General Chairperson’s Association.

 


 

December 10, 2013

Update to Members

The GCA met with Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle in Toronto on Monday December 9, 2013.

The meeting was a positive one with the Minister valuing the importance of a relationship with the GCA and the role that all unions can play in transforming the organization.

The GCA agreed to the Minister’s request that we continue discussions with senior management of the ONTC about potential changes to Ontario Northland’s operations.

We believe there is a significant opportunity to work with the Minister and the ONTC from which a positive outcome for all stakeholders of Ontario Northland can be achieved.

In Solidarity,
General Chairperson’s Association.

 


 

November 11, 2013

GCA requests invite to Ontario Premier Wynne’s Ring of Fire Development Corporation table

North Bay - The General Chairperson's Association (GCA) representing unionized employees at Ontario Northland has written Ontario's Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle and Premier Wynne, requesting that the ONTC and the GCA be included in discussions with all partners across the North about building a publically owned transportation infrastructure into the Ring of Fire.

“During Minister Gravelle's media conference Friday he stated that any interested parties should make their intentions known quickly if they wish to be included in these discussions, the GCA has done just that sending a letter to the Minister today”, said GCA spokesperson Brian Kelly.

“There should be no question that the ONTC/GCA must be involved in these discussions as the North's transportation and communication infrastructure provider. We know the north and our knowledge and expertise will be crucial in meeting the expanded transportation, internet and tele-communication needs into the Ring of Fire and the region's First Nations communities”, added Kelly.

“The ONTC/GCA involvement in this important Ontario government initiative may lay the groundwork for a pleasing resolve to ill-conceived divestiture plan announced in March 2012. Both Premier Wynne and Minister Gravelle have stated they are open to other options to divestiture and since then they have put the Development Corporation on the table and that concept should be fully explored”, concluded Kelly

For more information please contact Brian Kelly at 705-471-5263

 


 

November 8, 2013

GCA Encouraged with Creation of Ring of Fire Development Corporation

North Bay - The General Chairperson's Association (GCA) representing unionized employees at Ontario Northland is encouraged with the direction Premier Wynne’s Government is taking with today’s announcement that it will be creating a development corporation which will bring together both private and public parties to develop, construct, finance, operate and maintain a publically owned infrastructure to access the Ring of Fire.

“This proposal by Premier Wynne’s Government is a positive step for all Northerners and the GCA is ready and willing to be part of any discussion about this new corporation. The Minister of Northern Development and Mines Advisory Commission (MAC) should play an important role in these discussions”, said GCA spokesperson Brian Kelly

“It is a natural fit for the ONTC which is a major provincial infrastructure holding in the north to be involved in accessing the Ring of Fire. Converting the ONTC into an integrated transportation and communication system for both north eastern and north western Ontario makes sense and would also help improve the social and economic development of all communities in Northern Ontario” added Kelly,

“The ONTC can be the catalyst to develop an environmentally responsible transportation corridor into this pristine area that will access and develop the vast mineral deposits for the betterment of all Northerners”, concluded Kelly.

For more information please contact Brian Kelly at 705-471-5263

 


 

October 23, 2013

GCA Update

The GCA Leadership attended a meeting yesterday with representatives of the Ontario government.

At this meeting the GCA was presented with an overview of a report done by the consulting firm IBI regarding Ontario Northland's current status and their suggestions on how to correct it.

The GCA does not agree with some of the reports conclusions and much of the information relied upon was biased and/or flawed. However, the document was helpful in giving us a clearer view of the issues and contemplated approaches involving each ONTC division from the consultants and governments’ perspective. Unfortunately this report did not provide any information about ONTERA as consultants were instructed not to look at that part of the organization.

The government representatives were unable to provide any information concerning the next steps in the process, and whether or not the GCA would be engaged in further discussions. They are awaiting further instructions from the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines on that issue.

The GCA remains steadfast that the resolve to the issues and challenges facing the ONTC, is to allow all stakeholders to work together to develop a business plan that would keep the ONTC together and in public hands and we will continue to advocate that to Premier Wynne and her government.

We will keep the membership apprised as developments unfold.

In Solidarity,
Ontario Northland General Chairperson’s Association

 


 

October 21, 2013

GCA Update

The GCA has confirmed that it will be meeting with representatives from the Ontario Government and the consulting firm IBI on Tuesday October 22, 2013 in North Bay.

The meetings were originally scheduled to be held the week of October 7th with an agreed upon industry respected Mediator who was to act as a facilitator. These meetings were cancelled and the government backed out of the agreed facilitated process for unexplained reasons.

The meeting will now take the form of a presentation by IBI without the assistance of the facilitator. The IBI presentation is on behalf of Infrastructure Ontario which we strongly suspect reflects the pro-divestment position of Ministry of Northern Development and Mines bureaucrats, which as we know from Freedom of Information requests have been working on divestment of the ONTC as far back as 2011.

We appreciate the memberships continued support and we will update membership as developments unfold.

In Solidarity,
Ontario Northland General Chairperson’s Association

 


 

September 26, 2013

Is Cliffs ready to cash out in the Ring?

(NorthernOntarioBusiness.com) - Cliffs Natural Resources is not throwing in the towel in the Ring of Fire but the clock is ticking.

After a recent Ontario Mining and Lands Commissioner's decision that denied Cliffs road access to its Ring of Fire chromite property, the Ohio miner is evaluating whether to keep spending millions each month on a remote deposit that doesn't have overland access.

Read the entire article by Ian Ross on NorthernOntarioBusiness.com

 


 

September 16, 2013

KWG disappointed in rail delays, reaffirms support for union's ‘New Deal’

TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Chromite mining hopeful KWG Resources on Monday said it was “disappointed that things got delayed” and ended up in legal proceedings, reaffirming that it was in favour of constructing a 300 km railway into the Ring of Fire over its staked claims.

After staking the right-of-way claims and conducting preliminary railroad engineering design and assessment, the development of the railroad concept in the Ring of Fire was delayed for almost three years as a result of the dispute with US iron-ore major and joint-venture (JV) partner Cliffs Natural Resources, before the provincial Mining and Lands Commissioner last week dismissed Cliffs’ request to the Natural Resources Ministry for a road-access easement over KWG's claims.

Read the entire article by Henry Lazenby on MiningWeekly.com

 


 

September 12, 2013

GCA comments on Ring of Fire right of way decision

North Bay - The General Chairperson's Association (GCA) representing unionized employees at Ontario Northland is pleased with this week’s decision by the Ontario Mining and Lands Commissioner to dismiss the application by Cliffs Natural Resources for an easement to allow that company to build an all-weather road over mining claims staked by KWG Resources.

“The GCA believes the best, most cost efficient and environmentally responsible manner to provide transportation into and out of the Ring of Fire development for all stakeholders is a railway. A private, provincially funded $700M + road is in no one’s best interest, least of all taxpayers” said GCA spokesperson Brian Kelly.

In the fall of 2012, the GCA unveiled a high level proposal that would, in consultation with the Government of Ontario, Government of Canada and First Nations create a new federal crown corporation that would see all ONTC assets including its telecom division ONTERA transferred. This new crown corporation would provide an expanded and revitalized, integrated transportation and communication system across the north while having the ability to obtain financing to design and build a railway into the Ring of Fire that would ship thousands of tons per day of chromite, nickel, other minerals and finished products to markets around the world.

“This Mining and Land Commissioner decision finally quashes this ill-conceived scheme to sink millions upon millions of taxpayer’s dollars into a private road built through muskeg that would require millions upon millions of more tax dollars to maintain the road on a yearly basis. This single purpose road, would do nothing to improve the social and economic development for First Nation’s communities in the region” added Kelly.

“We call upon the Minister of Northern Development, Premier Wynne to bring to an end the years of bureaucratic Northern Growth rhetoric and stand up for Northerners and initiate the meaningful dialogue with Federal government and First Nations that is needed to creating significant new job and economic opportunities in Ontario’s North for the benefit of the North” concluded Kelly.

For more information please contact Brian Kelly at 705-471-5263

 


 

August 21, 2013

Update to Members

The GCA met last Friday August 16th with ONTC President Paul Goulet, Chief Operations Officer Corina Moore and 2 lawyers from the firm Filion Wakely.

Mr. Goulet explained that he had been directed by Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle to engage the GCA in discussions about the future of Ontario Northland. Mr. Goulet stated that he believed Minister Gravelle’s instruction to the ONTC to begin these discussions was a positive sign from the Wynne Government and their intentions with regard to the ONTC.

These discussions would take the form of facilitated sessions with the assistance of an agreed upon facilitator. The Government wants to have these discussions concluded by December 31, 2013.

The GCA agreed to these terms and committed to meet, but our preference would be to have all stakeholders involved in developing a business plan as an alternative to divestment. Mr. Goulet stated that his instructions from the Minister were that these discussions would be between the Unions and ONTC only.

We are waiting to confirm dates to begin discussions and at the same time the GCA will continue to pursue its campaign to have all ONTC stakeholders meet to develop a business plan that would keep the ONTC whole and in public hands.

As developments occur we will update the membership.

In Solidarity,

General Chairperson’s Association.

 


 

August 13, 2013

Update to Members

The GCA has been asked by representatives of the government to attend a meeting this Friday August 16th in North Bay. We foresee this meeting as a first step in beginning a process to finding a solution to the current circumstances the ONTC finds itself in, or as Premier Wynne and Northern Development Minister Gravelle have said “I am not convinced the only option is divestment”

We will apprise the membership of the details of this meeting after it has concluded.

In Solidarity,
General Chairperson’s Association.

 


 

August 12, 2013

Notice: All CAW Local 103 Members

The Company has requested that the CAW meet with them on August 15th to continue discussions began last December in regards to the cancellation of the Northlander passenger train. The only CAW members adversely affected by the Northlander’s cancellation have been those working in Agreement #5 - On Board Services.

We will keep you apprised of the details of those discussions.

In Solidarity,
Brian Kelly

 


 

August 12, 2013

Rethinking the ONTC Requires a Plan
From the Office of the Mayor, Peter Politis, Cochrane, Ontario

Growing the North as opposed to simply stopping the bleeding or minimizing the pain as we seem to be resolved to do, cannot be done without an effective multimodal transportation system. That system requires rail and not just the current rail but investment into growing the rail and accessing the vastly under realized northern development potential. While there seems to be a concerted effort to convince us Northerners that all of this is being addressed, as Mayor of a municipality precariously dependent on the outcomes associated to the ONTC, I’m just not at a point where I can drink the proverbial Kool‐Aid.

For example, while the government says some of the things we want to hear, creates a Minister’s Advisory Committee after ignoring all the overtures by the regional leaders to mutually correct the haste in heading down this path in the first place, and while suggestions are being made that multi‐modal transportation is important and on the radar, the current situation of unilateral rail divestment continues unabated. Rethinking an asset key to a region’s future requires planning. Building a future requires planning. And of course, engineering a society requires actual planning ‐ Not just calling things a plan. I sat on the Northern Growth Plan Northern Advisory Committee and was part of the refined Design Team. We spent two years putting together a plan for economic development in the North that sat on someone’s desk for another year and has been rejected by the government with no explanation or revised direction since – done, all except the optics of planning taking place! The difference between optics management and actually creating a direction is an actual plan with a strategy for outcome, actions, responsibilities, goals and expectations that are all followed up with implementation strategies.

Rethinking the ONTC will never meet the expectations we as northerners have if “optics” are the goal as opposed to developing a workable plan. Knowing the complications that come along with being government, we can give the benefit of the doubt where required and continue to reach out constructively looking for opportunities at collaboration. In doing this I politely suggest to Minister Gravelle that it’s time for a proper plan, with all key stakeholders playing a role (including the employees) in the rethinking process. Where a roadmap is “planned” out, a resource support group is put together to support the team, the current divestment process is suspended until this option is explored, and the team is given all opportunity to restructure the ONTC to in effect become the key asset to growth we urgently need here in the North. All of which would best be led by someone with skin on the line who can give the government and Ministry credible recommendations, developed from the ground up by the very people who must live with the results, the stakeholders themselves. My suggestion would be that one of the three most impacted communities who actually have to live the outcomes take the lead (Cochrane, Englehart or North Bay). Subject to Englehart’s thoughts, my support would go squarely behind Mayor McDonald of North Bay as he has a clear understanding of the issues and needs, as well as a strong relationship with the employees and regional municipalities.

Being part of a home grown plan that everyone can take ownership in is a critical piece of a successful rethinking process. As the old saying goes, if you don’t have your own plan, you are usually part of someone else’s! Premier Wynne and Minister Gravelle, it’s time to recognize that the North needs to plan its own future.

 


 

July 25, 2013

Brian Kelly's Speaking Notes: Media Conference July 25, 2013

First we would like to thank all of you for coming today, we would like to thank everyone across the entire North for showing their support for the ONTC from community and first nations leaders, to Federal and Provincial members of Parliament to customers and everyday citizens to employees, we thank you for your long standing support for Ontario Northland especially during the past 16 months.

The unions of Ontario Northland have been trying to arrange a meeting with the Premier and/or the Minister of Northern Development and Mines to discuss the future of the ONTC for some time now. We have written multiple letters over the last 8 months requesting to be part of the discussions and consultation process to find an alternative to divestment. We have provided copies of those letters in the media briefing file which we handed out earlier. Over that time the government has not replied to any of our overtures.

At the same time the Premier and the Minister of Northern Development have advised the Minister's Advisory Committee on the ONTC and the public at large that the Wynne government was willing to look at a viable option other than divestment of Ontario Northland. The Premier and Minister have been quoted in the media as saying “We need to be open to options other than divestment”. We have included copies of some of those reports in the media file.

Thus far from the GCA’s perspective no one is taking a leadership role on developing that viable option to divestment. We know as of this date no one is working on an option to divestment, this is causing great uncertainty and anxiety among the workers and their families at Ontario Northland. We are therefore calling upon Premier Wynne to demonstrate leadership and commitment to Ontario Northland and the North. To demonstrate this the Premier needs to direct the true stakeholders of Ontario Northland consisting of community and first nations leaders, customers, management and workers representatives to come together as soon as possible to develop a business plan that could be a viable option to divestment.

These discussions to develop a new business plan must be comprehensive and deal with all issues at Ontario Northland to be successful. The GCA hereby commits today that it is willing to enter into these type discussions with no preconditions except that stakeholders have an open and frank discussion about all the issues facing the ONTC from governance, structure, capital and operational funding, to collective agreements, business lines and future opportunities for growth to name just a few.

An undertaking of this magnitude needs to be led by a person with strong leadership abilities. They must understand that all communities from James Bay all the way down the Highway 11 corridor will be affected by any decision in regards to the ONTC and have the confidence of all the stakeholders that he or she will represent their best interests. We believe that as a member of the Minister’s Advisory Committee and as Mayor of the largest community affected by divestment North Bay Mayor Al McDonald could be the person tasked by the government to lead this important initiative.

Premier Wynne, Minister Gravelle, the communities and customers Ontario Northland serves and its employees need to be assured that a viable option to divestment will be presented to the Minister’s Advisory Committee for their consideration. The GCA is willing to enter into wide ranging discussions with all stakeholders to come up with that viable option. Premier Wynne, Minister Gravelle please heed our call and today lets begin the process of working together to ensure a brighter future for all the stakeholders of Ontario Northland.

 


 

June 17, 2013

Local Meeting
All CAW Local 103 Members Welcome

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
4:30 p.m.
Voyager Hotel
Delaware Room
123 Delaware Ave
North Bay, ON

  1. Roll Call – Financial Report
  2. Report of Committees – President and Units
    • Ontario Northland update
    • Brinks Negotiations Update
    • Provincial politics
    • CAW-CEP Merger
  3. Unfinished Business
  4. Good and Welfare
  5. New Business
  6. Open to Member Time
  7. Closing

 


 

May 3, 2013

Update to Members

As you many of you are likely aware the Wynne Government tabled its budget yesterday May 2nd. It is noteworthy that in regards to the ONTC, the government’s tone is quite different from the previous McGuinty - Bartolucci budget which was all about the fire sale of Ontario Northland’s assets.

Although the budget document did not emphatically take divestment off the table, it does recognize the importance of the ONTC in delivering services in the North, something northerners have been saying all along. Ms. Wynne’s government it appears is sending a message that it intends to look at all available options for the ONTC. If that is correct, then the GCA lead New Deal proposal goes a long way in meeting the government’s policy objects of building a transportation infrastructure into the Ring of Fire. At the same time it would provide the catalyst to bring about the needed change to revitalize and enhance the integrated transportation and communication services the ONTC provides to northerners.

We continue to work with the community stakeholders lead by North Bay’s Mayor Al McDonald in reaching out to the Wynne government conveying that ONTC can remain in public hands and be revitalized without the need to sell off its assets to the private sector. We also continue to meet with MP Jay Aspin and MPP’s John Vanthof, Gilles Bisson and Mike Mantha and others in continuing efforts to gain momentum for the New Deal proposal.

At the moment it is not clear what the government’s next move will be, but we are hopeful that the government’s change in tone will allow all stakeholders, including the GCA the opportunity to have meaningful dialogue with the Wynne Government about the future of Ontario Northland.

In Solidarity
General Chairperson's Association.

 


 

March 28, 2013

Membership Update

Over the last number of weeks the Liberal Government had made a number of positive statements about the divestment process at Ontario Northland. That gave many of us renewed hope that the Bartolucci planned fire sale would at the very least be paused.

This past Monday the Minister of Northern Developments freshly appointed Advisory Committee made up of First Nation, Community and Business leaders met in North Bay. As many of you may be aware this first meeting did not go well with Northern Development Minister Gravelle telling the committee that they would have no input on ONTERA and the only input that his government wanted was how best to continue the fire sale of the ONTC.

This caught many people, including no doubt the municipal leaders on the committee by surprise. Premier Wynne's stated preference is supposedly to have meaningful dialogue with interested parties to find solutions to problems that everyone would be comfortable with, but not if it is in regards to Northern Ontario.

From Media coverage we would assume that the Minister’s message did not sit well with the committee especially Municipal leaders. North Bay Mayor Al McDonald as well as the the Mayor of Timmins, Kapuskasing and Englehart have been steadfast in their support of Ontario Northland and we are confident that they will do everything possible to get the Wynne government to change course on divestment. We have worked with these municipal leaders since the divestiture was announced and we will continue to work with them to apply pressure on Premier’s Wynne government to stop this ill-advised plan.

At the moment the bureaucrats at Northern Development and Mines are in charge of the divestment process. We are lead to believe this because of events of the last week wherein the GCA had been contacted on numerous occasions by the government lawyers to try and schedule a meeting with the entire GCA for some reason which the lawyers said they were not at liberty to say. The meeting was tentatively scheduled for Thursday March 28th in North Bay but then abruptly late Tuesday afternoon it was cancelled with no explanation. We assume the reason for this is account the lawyers have to get approval from the bureaucrats at Northern Development. This can cause delays and problems in clarifying what the instructions are.

Ultimately this gives us hope that the Premier will figure out that this ministry is taking her government down the road to another potential debacle like Ornge, EHealth and Power plant cancellations. The numbers this Ministry is using to support the ONTC fire sale is at best wrong and at worse skewed.

The GCA believes that with the large amount of support we have from across the North that our fight back campaign will eventually have a positive outcome for not only those who work at Ontario Northland but for those people and communities that depend on the services it provides as well.

In Solidarity,
General Chairperson’s Association

 


 

March 26, 2013

“Premier Wynne, let’s talk?”

North Bay - Representatives from the General Chairperson’s Association (GCA) which represents all unionized employees at Ontario Northland (ONTC) are puzzled by the Wynne’s Governments approach to consultation in regards to the Minister of Northern Development’s (MNDM) recently set up Advisory Committee on the ONTC.

“MNDM has mishandled the Ontario Northland issue from day one and it appears that will continue unchecked by Premier Wynne and facilitated by Minister Gravelle. The Premier has admitted that the Liberal Government mishandled the power plant cancellations, Ornge, horse racing industry and Teachers negotiations, but in the North there is no such acknowledgement and it is full steam ahead on the fire sale of Ontario Northland”, said GCA Spokesperson Brian Kelly.

“It is an insult to Northerners that during the leadership campaign a number of the candidates, now serving as Ministers, came to the North to declare their support to pausing the divestiture and their first, last and only move is to invite stakeholders of the ONTC into a room and tell them it is too late to have any input on ONTERA, but help the government implement the rest of their ill-advised fire sale”, added Kelly.

“All this is being done at the same time the Auditor General is conducting a review of the information the government used to base their decision to sell off Ontario Northland. Why does the Wynne government not wait until that review is done? In the meantime, work with stakeholders, including the Federal Government, First Nations partners, industry and Communities stakeholders to explore initiatives that will build on our valued northern infrastructure and lead the way into the Ring of Fire development potential”, added Kelly.

“Time has come for both opposition parties to stand up and be counted. They have to put action to their words and demand the Wynne government to pause the fire sale of Ontario Northland including ONTERA now and begin anew the process that enhances northern infrastructure not dismantles it”, concluded Kelly.

For more information please contact Brian Kelly at 705-471-5263

 


 

March 19, 2013

Local Meeting
All CAW Local 103 Members Welcome

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
4:30 p.m.
Voyager Hotel
Delaware Room
123 Delaware Ave
North Bay, ON

  1. Roll Call – Financial Report
  2. Report of Committees – President and Units
    • Ontario Northland and Port Authority update
    • Dyno Nobel Update
    • Brinks Update
    • Provincial politics
    • CAW-CEP Merger
  3. Unfinished Business
  4. Good and Welfare
  5. New Business
  6. Open to Member Time
  7. Closing

 


 

March 7, 2013

GCA welcomes Ontario’s Auditor General Review of ONTC divestment

North Bay - Representatives from the General Chairperson’s Association (GCA) which represents all unionized employees at Ontario Northland (ONTC) are pleased that the Standing Committee on Public Accounts has directed the Auditor General to review the Ontario Government’s divestment of the ONTC.

“We have said from day one that the decision to sell off the ONTC did not make sense and we appreciate the all-party committee support in passing this directive to the Auditor General to review this decision”, said GCA Spokesperson Brian Kelly.

“The numbers the Government are using to support their decision to divest are based on a one year anomaly. The government has purposely amalgamated their pension obligations, investment in passenger rail coaches, infrastructure and the acquisition of Sault PUC to deliberately magnify the contributions to services provided in order to justify their decision to shut down valuable services to Northerners and sell off all assets in a fire sale”, added Kelly.

“Given the involvement of the provincial Auditor General, we believe that the government is obligated to pause the divestiture process including the contemplated sale of ONTERA. This will also provide a window for Minister Gravelle’s Stakeholder Committee to fully and properly review all options for the ONTC including the all in New Deal proposal for Northern Ontario. We are confident that review will demonstrate clearly that working with First Nations, north eastern/north western Communities, industry, Federal Government and stakeholder representatives including the GCA, that all policy objectives of government for the north can be met within the New Deal proposal ensuring social and economic long-term prosperity for the region”, concluded Kelly.

For more information please contact Brian Kelly at 705-471-5263

 


 

February 27, 2013

GCA encouraged by Liberal Government’s change in tone about ONTC

North Bay - Representatives from the General Chairperson’s Association (GCA) which represents all unionized employees at Ontario Northland (ONTC) are encouraged by recent media reports about the Wynne government’s willingness to receive input from community leaders and other stakeholder’s about the ONTC through a working group or committee.

“The GCA met with the Ministers of Northern Development and Mines and the Minister of Infrastructure last December regarding the ONTC and the New Deal and would welcome the opportunity to participate in this Northern committee”, said GCA Spokesperson Brian Kelly.

“This would be a significant first step in bringing First Nations partners, stakeholders including North Eastern and North Western Communities, the GCA, vital industry leaders and potential future customers from the Ring of Fire, along with representatives from the Provincial and Federal Government together for the benefit of the entire region and Province”, added Kelly.

“We believe there is an alternative to divestiture and with all stakeholders input a plan can be developed to revitalize the ONTC so that it could play a lead and expanding role in developing opportunities such as the Ring of Fire for the benefit of Ontarians now as well as for future generations”, concluded Kelly.

For more information please contact Brian Kelly at 705-471-5263

 


 

February 26, 2013

Update to Members

There have been a number of important developments recently regarding the proposed divestiture of the ONTC and the Ring of Fire of interest to our membership.

Firstly the new Premier Ms. Kathleen Wynne and her cabinet were sworn on February 11th. With Mr. Bartolucci’s resignation as Minister of Northern Development, MPP Michael Gravelle was sworn in to replace him. Mr. Gravelle’s first public comments on the ONTC were positive as he stated that he wanted dialogue and input from the communities and other affected parties about how best to proceed on the ONTC. This follows on the heels of equally positive comments about the ONTC and Ring of Fire project made by leadership contender and now Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Glenn Murray. From a provincial government perspective, this can only be viewed in a positive light. The GCA has written Minister Gravelle requesting a meeting to provide the details of the New Deal. In addition, Roy Hains and Brian Stevens were invited to attend the Throne Speech and had the opportunity to speak briefly with various Ministers and MPPs on all sides of the house along with former MPP Monique Smith who is leading the transition team for Premier Wynne.

Secondly the GCA wishes to acknowledge the continuing good work of North Bay Mayor Al McDonald & Council, Northern Mayors Politis (Cochrane), Laughren (Timmins) Spacek (Kapuskasing) and others along with the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) for strenuously advocating that there is an alternative to the McGuinty government’s plan for divesting itself of the ONTC. On Monday a delegation of these northern representatives met with Premier Wynne, Minister Gravelle and other cabinet Ministers. It has been widely reported that MNDM Minister Gravelle committed to form a working group to review the divestiture of the ONTC. While it has yet to be determined how this will impact the divestiture process, we would welcome the opportunity, as a significant stakeholder to participate in some capacity. This is clearly another example of the Wynne government’s attempt to distance themselves from the policies of the previous government.

Thirdly the Prime Minister has appointed Treasury Board President and FedNor Minister Tony Clement to coordinate and lead the federal government’s involvement in the Ring of Fire development. Mr. Clement has stated that he wants to bring all parties together to build a consensus on the best way to develop the mineral deposits including the necessary transportation infrastructure rail or road. We have written Mr. Clement as well asking for a meeting.

Fourth Canada Chrome Corporation released a study on February 21 prepared by international engineering firm Tetra Tech which showed that a railroad and not a road was the best transportation option for the development of the Ring Of Fire due to the significant cheaper shipping costs to move ore and the potential for more cost efficiencies as more mining develops in the area.

This further strengthens our plan to have the assets of the ONTC transferred into the James Bay Port Authority followed by the building of a rail line into the Ring of Fire for the benefit of the communities, First Nations peoples, industry, the province and the country.

In Solidarity,
General Chairperson’s Association

 


 

February 20, 2013

GCA calls on Premier to release ONTERA Documents

North Bay - Representatives from the General Chairperson’s Association (GCA) which represents all unionized employees at Ontario Northland (ONTC) have been denied by Infrastructure Ontario access to the recent Request for Proposal (RFP) documents in regards to the contemplated sell off of provincially owned ONTERA.

“Premier Wynne’s throne speech outlined her government’s willingness to hear all the voices of this province and work to prevent mistakes before they occur. That message, while still fresh, has not made its way down to the bureaucrats. Today we wrote to Premier Wynne, Finance Minister Sousa, Infrastructure Ontario Minister Murray and Northern Development Minister Gravelle, requesting that they instruct Infrastructure Ontario to release the ONTERA RFP documents” said Brian Kelly, GCA spokesperson.

In March 2012, in announcing the selloff of the ONTC including the cancellation of Northlander passenger train, the then Minister of Northern Development and Mines Rick Bartolucci assured everyone that “our government will be fair, open and transparent as we proceed with this transition”

“There’s approximately $125M in outstanding severance, pension and benefits owed to management, unionized employees, retirees and surviving spouses who need to be assured those earned benefits are fully protected in any potential transaction” added Kelly.

The GCA believe this refusal by Infrastructure Ontario staff is out of step with the government’s commitments to a fair, open and transparent process “concluded Kelly.

 


 

February 7, 2013

Update to Members

As you are aware the Ontario Liberal Party recently elected Ms. Kathleen Wynne as its new Leader replacing outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty. Ms. Wynne and her new cabinet will be sworn in on Monday February 11, 2013.

Ms. Wynne has made a number of statements to the media recently about the ONTC divestiture issue. She has stated that she wants to review the divestiture to ensure that it is headed in the right direction and that it was being done with community input. We view this in a positive light Ms. Wynne is willing to take a serious look at divestiture at the same time is willing to have input from northern communities. Northern communities are supportive of the ONTC and specifically the New Deal - Port Authority proposal. North Bay City Council recently passed a resolution in support of the GCA lead Port Authority plan and other community based groups have also spoken out in favour of our initiative.

The New Deal for Northern Ontario group has written the Premier –Designate requesting a meeting so we can present our plan to her to have the assets of the ONTC transferred to the James Bay and Lowlands Port Corporation.

We understand these are trying times for everyone but the GCA is committed to seeing this fight through and we are confident that Ontario Northland’s best days lay ahead. We ask that you visit the www.newdealnorth.ca website to keep up with events as they unfold and to show your support for the New Deal for Northern Ontario.

In Solidarity,
General Chairperson’s Association.

 


 

February 6, 2013

New Deal for Northern Ontario Letter to Premier Wynne

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne
MPP, Don Valley West
Province of Ontario

Re: ONTC and the New Deal for Northern Ontario

Dear Premier Wynne,

On behalf of the New Deal for Northern Ontario, congratulations on your recent victory in the Liberal leadership race and on becoming Premier-Designate.

Both during and after the leadership race, we have closely followed the debate on transportation issues, the Ring of Fire and the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, all of which are of special interest to us and almost everyone in the province’s north.

We have been pleased to see strong support from you and other leadership candidates for development of the Ring of Fire and a revitalized ONTC.

On Jan. 14, the Sudbury Star quoted you as follows: "The issues around Ontario Northland have to do with having a comprehensive transportation strategy for the North. I think we need to look at how are we going to move freight around the North, how are we going to make sure that people can move across Northern Ontario and from Northern Ontario to southern Ontario and back.”

We believe strongly that the New Deal for Northern Ontario is a key part of any solution to these challenges. The New Deal will make ONTC’s existing operations sustainable and keep them in public hands. It will create significant new job and economic opportunities in Ontario's North by providing rail access to the Ring of Fire.

Now that you are Premier-Designate, and very soon to be Ontario’s Premier, we urge you to learn more about the New Deal and to make it part of your new government’s plan for Northern Ontario infrastructure revitalization. We also urge you to immediately suspend the divestment of ONTC assets pending the formulation of your plan.

The New Deal will deliver benefits to all stakeholders, including the Ontario government, and we therefore urge you to give it full consideration. To that end, we would appreciate an opportunity to meet with you to discuss the New Deal at your earliest possible convenience.

Yours truly,
For: Roy Hains & Brian Stevens
cell – 416.567.8281

c.c. Charles Sousa MPP Mississauga South, Monique Smith former MPP Nipissing & Transition Lead

 


 

February 4, 2013

Co's Spar Over Ore Transport

Read the article "Co's spar over ore transport" from the Sudbury Star about whether road or rail should be used to access chromite deposits for Cliffs Natural Resources in the Ring of Fire.

 


 



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