North Bay Mayor Urges Review of Rail Car Refurbishing Contract

July 5, 2011, 4:30 PM EST


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The Ontario government should review the full financial impact of a Metrolinx Transit decision to award a $122 million GO Transit coach refurbishment contract to a company other than Ontario Northland, says North Bay Mayor Al McDonald.

Canadian Allied Diesel in Lachine, Quebec bid $2 million lower than Ontario Northland, based in North Bay, Ontario. But Mayor McDonald in a July 4 letter to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said the decision doesn't factor in the full financial impact to the province.

"Metrolinx did not and could not, for whatever reason, factor in revenue from the contract to reflect what the Province of Ontario would have received if the contract was awarded to the ONTC," McDonald said.

"Our numbers show that if the contract was awarded to the ONTC, it would have saved over $6.2 million in the life of the five-year contract. This does not take into account severance costs which would be over $10 million for the long-serving members of the ONTC," said McDonald.

CAW Local 103 represents workers at Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, who currently have an existing contract with GO Transit to refurbish 121 rail passenger cars.

The new contract decision by Metrolinx, which is a Crown agency, clearly flies in the face of the stated goals and objectives of the province's Growth Plan for Northern Ontario, said the North Bay Mayor. While the original decision was made with the information presented at the time, it's time to make the correct decision with a more complete set of facts, McDonald urged the Premier.

"You have the opportunity to stand up for one of the most important industries in Northeastern Ontario, the hard working individuals of the ONTC, the citizens of Northern Ontario and the taxpayers of Ontario," McDonald said.

The contract would secure 104 direct jobs at Ontario Northland and many more spin
off jobs, CAW President Ken Lewenza said in an earlier letter to the Ontario Premier. The economic multiplier across Ontario would be $258 million from the contract, he said.

Lewenza has demanded an urgent meeting with Premier McGuinty seeking to reverse the decision and the CAW has joined with the broader community in North Bay and northern Ontario to demand the Metrolinx decision be reversed. 

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