Get Canada Back on Track is a joint campaign of Unifor’s national union and Unifor Council 4000 and Local 100.
Our campaign is resolved to expand publicly owned passenger rail in Canada.
At a time when Canadians are clamouring for green public transport and a transition to a low-carbon economy, passenger rail service in Canada is regrettably facing monumental challenges: service and funding cuts, outdated equipment and poor infrastructure are causing a decline in ridership, an increase in operating costs and are putting safety at risk.
Since the creation of the Crown Corporation in 1978, VIA Rail has lacked both a mandate and a stable budget to maintain and expand passenger rail service in Canada – in large part because VIA lacks meaningful input from passengers and workers into the service provided to the Canadian travelling public.
We need to make sure we have a passenger rail system that is built for the 21st century.
Regrettably, the Government's current privatisation plan for VIA Rail is similar to privatisation schemes undertaken in the UK, France, Germany and South Korea which have all lead to higher fares, reduced service, deteriorating safety standards and lower salaries.
It is time for the federal government to create a national passenger rail service that provides safe, reliable and frequent transportation – right across the country – and supports the creation of good, green, long-term jobs.
1 SIGNING OF A VIA RAIL ACT
Our campaign supports the creation of a VIA Rail Act, establishing a mandate to maintain and improve service to the Canadian traveling public.
Via Rail continues to operate without any legislated mandate. This inhibits its ability to operate independently of government and hampers any long-term company planning. Passing a VIA Rail Act would provide the necessary foundation to ensure that VIA is not impeded by political priorities and instead provides a minimum standard of national service, all while remaining accountable to the public.
Further, our campaign supports the establishment of stable, long-term funding that will be used to enhance operations and revitalize and modernize VIA’s equipment and infrastructure. Outdated equipment not only diminishes transportation efficiency, it also endangers safety and requires more costs to maintain.
2 KEEP PUBLIC OWNERSHIP
While the Transport Minister works towards the stated goal to privatise VIA Rail, the network is being neglected.
Our campaign believes that all federal passenger rail development in Canada should be publicly-owned and operated by VIA Rail, and that all plans for privatisation be halted.
We need to expand the number of routes being serviced and increase frequency so that Canadians may once again view passenger rail as a viable, efficient and economical transportation option.
We oppose any attempts to privatize passenger rail routes or services. We have repeatedly seen how privatized transportation services end up costing more while service, transparency and public accountability is reduced.
VIA Rail must remain a public service that benefits passengers – not shareholders.
3 PASSENGER AND WORKER INPUT
Our campaign advocates for the creation of a seat on the VIA Rail Board of Directors for one worker and one passenger representative in order to provide for meaningful, democratic input from passengers and workers into the service provided to the Canadian travelling public.
4 SERVICE EXPANSION
Our campaign is committed to expanding a safe, reliable, fast and publicly owned railway that prioritises the needs of passengers, workers, municipalities and indigenous groups over the profits of private companies.
ADD TAKE ACTION LINK
We encourage you to promote the campaign amongst your family and friends.
We won't be able to do this alone. We look forward to your continued solidarity and support.