Higher Canadian Content Rules for TTC Bus Purchases Good News for Canadian Economy

December 16, 2009, 5:00 PM EST

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Today's Toronto Transit Commission decision requiring 50 per cent assembly labour in Canada for new public transit buses is an important step forward in creating good, green jobs for Canadians, the CAW says.

The policy approved today also requires a minimum of 40 per cent overall Canadian content in a standard diesel bus.

The decision is a strong move forward by this level of government and should be followed by other levels of government across Canada, said CAW President Ken Lewenza.

Lewenza applauded TTC chair Adam Giambrone and the City of Toronto led by Mayor David Miller for standing up for stronger Canadian content rules, more direct assembly in Canada, for creating more green jobs.

"Other levels of government must adopt the same policies," Lewenza said. "In these tough economic times it's vital that our elected leaders make the same commitment to using public dollars to create Canadian jobs and to building a stronger economy for all," Lewenza said.

Government has an important role to play in helping build the Canadian economy, especially at a time of economic hardship brought on by the worldwide financial crisis, said Jenny Ahn, CAW director of membership mobilization and political action.

"After thoroughly examining this issue, the TTC has taken a very important step in ensuring that when local government buys public transit buses with public dollars, those funds will be used to maintain jobs in Canada," Ahn said.

Many governments around the world including those in Europe, Asia and the United States recognize the importance of domestic procurement policies. In the U.S. "Buy America" rules have been in place for more than three decades - these rules mean that public transit purchases must have 60 per cent domestic content and final assembly in the U.S.

The TTC's decision will help create jobs in the Canadian manufacturing sector which has been hard hit in recent years and especially during the current recession. Since 2002 Canada has lost more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs. 

In the Greater Toronto Area alone, 75,000 manufacturing jobs have disappeared since last fall. The rate of job loss is alarming with approximately 5,000 manufacturing jobs being lost each month.

The CAW represents workers at Orion Bus Industries in Mississauga, Nova Bus in Quebec and New Flyer in Winnipeg.

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