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For Immediate Release -- 26

March 4, 2004

Measures Protect Ontario Northland Jobs And Services

NORTH BAY – The McGuinty government is acting to ensure a strong and prosperous northern economy by introducing measures to protect jobs and improve services at the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC), Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci announced today.

“ After three years of failed privatization efforts, the ONTC has mounting financial problems—and has made no progress on better serving Northern Ontario communities. This wasteful inaction ends today, ” said Bartolucci. “We are stopping the previous government's plans to privatize the ONTC and we are setting out a bold new course that will bring long-needed sustainability, certainty and openness to current and future planning for the organization.”

First, the provincial government is approving the ONTC's request to provide an early retirement offer (ERO) to more than 200 eligible employees. The ERO provides an opportunity for employees and helps the organization begin to chart a more viable future.

The government has also asked the ONTC to finalize an agreement with TELUS to provide enhanced telecommunications management services and expertise to O.N.Telcom. This strategic alliance will result in better service and product selection for Northeastern Ontario and will strengthen O.N.Telcom's commercial viability.

The government has also directed the ONTC to develop a long-term strategy aimed at protecting jobs, and securing services that are competitive, safe, reliable and responsive to customers, residents and businesses.

“These measures, together with a recent successful ONTC bid on a contract for GO Transit refurbishment, will mean a much brighter future for the ONTC,” said Bartolucci.

“ A renewed ONTC will be able to drive economic and community development opportunities for the region, while providing efficient, competitive services. The ONTC will remain in public hands, jobs will be protected and services will be improved and Ontarians will continue to see real, positive change from our government.”



Laura Blondeau

Minister's Office – Sudbury

(705) 564-7454

Roy Hains


(705) 472-4500 ext. 201

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