Commuters can ride the TTC today without fear of being stranded after MPPs voted unanimously to order transit staff back to work from an unexpected weekend strike.
The legislation means the traffic chaos, late arrivals at work and other troubles feared by area residents should not materialize.
“Life can carry on as it should in the City of Toronto,” Labour Minister Brad Duguid said after a rare Sunday sitting of the provincial parliament called to pass the law.
“It’s nice to see the legislature come together and the partisan politics drop away to make a decision that we all believe is in the best interest of the public,” he added.
If the Amalgamated Transit Union disobeys the Toronto Public Transit Service Resumption Act, it could be fined up to $25,000 daily with workers facing $2,000 fines.
It took MPPs just 31 minutes to pass the back-to-work legislation, but not without swipes at the transit union and president Bob Kinnear for failing to give the TTC’s 1.5 million daily riders the promised 48 hours warning of a walkout.
With transit staff reporting for work yesterday expressing fears of assaults from angry passengers, Premier Dalton McGuinty and Duguid repeatedly called on TTC riders not to take out their anger and frustration on front-line transit staff.
Underscoring the urgency of getting the country’s largest transit system back on track quickly, legislative officials jumped in a vehicle to rush the eight-page law to Lt.-Gov. David Onley for his signature and royal assent within 30 minutes of its passage. Onley was at the Air Canada Centre, dropping the ball to start a Toronto Rock lacrosse game.
Under the law, the TTC and its unions have five days to choose an arbitrator or mediator.
At City Hall yesterday, Mayor David Miller said the TTC and the union had already agreed on an arbitrator and would meet today to begin the process.