TORONTO – The new Road User Customer Service Improvement Act,
introduced in the Ontario legislature Thursday, is a carte blanche for
corruption and conflict of interest, according to the Ontario Public
Service Employees Union.
Union President Leah Casselman said the law permits the government
to privatize any of its powers and responsibility for highway safety.
"Driver examiners, truck safety, highway construction safety –
they are all for sale to the highest bidder," she said.
John O'Brien, a transportation enforcement officer and
vice-president of OPSEU, said the bill "will be devastating for
road safety in Ontario." He said it would affect at least 900
ministry employees involved in driver testing across Ontario, whose
work will be turned over to the private sector.
The law would also let bidders set their own fees, and give them
access to ministry resources and databases.
"We all use the roads. They aren’t some optional
frill," an angry Casselman said.
"Public employees have done a good job in protecting and
promoting highway safety. A driver’s licence is a privilege, and we
protect the public by a system that ensures each driver has passed a
provincial competency test. It works.
"When truck safety became a huge issue with flying tires, even
this government responded appropriately by hiring more highway
inspectors. It worked," Casselman said.
"With the medical disaster of Walkerton staring them in the
face to point up what happens when government abandons its regulatory
responsibility, why would they even think about this? With the
financial disaster of the King’s Health Centre still on the front
pages, why would they want to go here? she asked."
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For further information:
John O’Brien (cell) (807)628-4364
Leah Casselman (OPSEU President) (416) 443-8888 Ext. 300
Katie FitzRandolph (OPSEU Communications) (416) 448-7440;
home (416) 967-5964; cell (416)561-5651; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org