Ontario Northland Transportation Commission
Table of Contents
The ONTC is a Crown agency of the Province of Ontario with headquarters in North Bay providing telecommunication, rail refurbishment, freight rail and passenger motor coach services.
The Province remains committed to ensuring that northern communities and industries benefit from viable, efficient and sustainable transportation and telecommunications systems. It continues to transform the ONTC in a way that makes sense, and supports regional economic development.
There are multiple options being examined as potential solutions for the ONTC, including divestment, restructuring, alternative service delivery and new partnerships. These options are being considered in a careful, thorough and fair manner.
Minister's Advisory Committee (MAC)
The Minister of Northern Development and Mines has established an advisory committee made up of northern representatives to provide input on the future path of the ONTC.
The Committee is composed of members who will bring forward the perspectives of Aboriginal communities, municipalities, business and industry in the ONTC service area.
Since March 2013, the MAC has been meeting regularly, and is making progress. Members are looking at various options with the aim of long-term sustainability of both telecommunications and transportation services in Northern Ontario.
- The Polar Bear Express train service will continue to ensure year-round ground transportation to Moosonee and the rest of the James Bay coast.
- The Northlander ceased operations in September 2012 and there are no plans to resume this service. Every community that was served by the Northlander train is served by ONTC motor coach service.
- There are five northern communities that depend exclusively on Ontera to provide basic telecommunications services. This service is protected based on a requirement through the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The CRTC requirement will be met regardless of the option chosen for Ontera’s future.
- Q. What has the Minister’s Advisory Committee (MAC) discussed and when will you report back on the outcome of your meetings?
A. The MAC has discussed advice, timing and ideas for moving forward with options for transforming the ONTC. Updates will be provided throughout the process. However, some information is commercially sensitive and is kept confidential.
- Q. Is divestment still on the table?
A. The ONTC is a complex agency with many business lines and each business line may have a different solution. The MAC is considering multiple options for the ONTC, including divestment, restructuring, alternative service delivery, and new partnerships.
- Q. Is the sale of Ontera proceeding?
A. Infrastructure Ontario is continuing discussions with potential buyers of Ontera through their due diligence process, however, this does not presuppose a decision by government. Decisions on Ontera will take into account public interest as well as the current market valuation and long-term business case for Ontera and discussions with the Minister’s Advisory Committee. At this point, a decision has not been made.
- Q. Who are the northern leaders participating on the MAC?
- First Nations:
- Representative from the Metis Nation of Ontario – Chair France Picotte
- Representative from the Union of Ontario Indians (UOI) - Chief Isadore Day, Lake Huron Regional Grand Chief
- Representative from Nishnawbe Aski Nation - Deputy Grand Chief Les Louttit
- Tom Laughren – Timmins
- Al McDonald – North Bay
- Al Spacek – Kapuskasing (President of FONOM)
- Nina Wallace – Englehart
- Mining and Forestry:
- Tembec – Marc LeBlanc
- Xstrata – Geoff Cowell
- Transportation Sector:
- Gord Smith – Manitoulin Transport
- Ted Hargreaves – ONTC Chair – serves in an Ex Officio capacity as a resource for the committee.
- First Nations:
- Q. What is the status of ONTC pension and labour matters?
The issue of employee and retiree entitlements will be addressed by ONTC and its unions during the ongoing transformation process. The ONTC pension plan will continue to be administered and funded in accordance with applicable laws.
Labour negotiations are matters between the ONTC and the unions that represent ONTC workers.
- March 21, 2013 – Minister’s Advisory Committee announced
- December 17, 2012 - Request for proposals issued for Ontera
- October 2, 2012 – Infrastructure Ontario News Release
The government remains committed to ensuring that northern communities and industries benefit from a viable, efficient and sustainable transportation system. As details about the process become available, they will be provided on the MNDM and ONTC web sites.
Visit Ontario Northland online to learn more about the services provided by the ONTC.