CAW Urges GO Transit Refurbishing Contract for Ontario Northland

July 5, 2011, 4:27 PM EST

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The CAW along with North Bay's mayor, city staff, Ontario Northland management and local Chamber of Commerce officials are joining together to urge the province to overturn the awarding of a major GO Transit contract to a Quebec-based firm.

The province awarded a $122 million GO Transit coach refurbishment contract to Canadian Allied Diesel in Lachine, Quebec. Their bid was $2 million lower than Ontario Northland, which has an existing contract with GO Transit to refurbish 121 rail passenger cars. 

CAW Local 103 President Brian Kelly, whose members work at Ontario Northland, said the tax revenue the new contract could generate in Ontario far outweighs the $2 million difference in the two bids.

 "The province cannot ignore the $7.5 million that would flow back to them through taxes should the work and jobs remain within Ontario," said Kelly, who attended a meeting June 28 of key stakeholders in North Bay. "Taking this into consideration that puts the Ontario Northland bid $5 million better than the lowest bid we are calling on the provincial government to review this decision through the lens of the greater good of Ontario and ensure the good jobs remain here," Kelly said.

On June 28 CAW President Ken Lewenza sent a letter to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty expressing frustration with the awarding of the Metrolinx contract to an out-of-province facility.

Lewenza said the contract would secure 104 jobs in Northeastern Ontario and the $34 million spent on direct wages would provide a $7.5 million return in tax revenue to the province.

"In Northeastern Ontario the direct and indirect wages would be $50 million over the life of the contract," Lewenza said. "The overall benefit is even greater as the $122 million spent in the local economy and across the province would have an economic multiplier suggesting a total impact for Ontario of $258 million."

Lewenza stressed that the overall benefit of retaining the work at Ontario Northland far out weighs having the work leave the province.

"On behalf of the workers and their families at Ontario Northland, I am requesting your government immediately reverse this decision," said Lewenza, who also requested a meeting with the Premier.

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