Message from the Executives
CEO's Report: November Commentary
On October 29, the TTC was the victim of a sophisticated cybersecurity incident that impacted a number of internal and customer-facing functions. Over the past few weeks, we have been working day and night to resolve this situation – to get our affected services back online and to gain a clearer understanding of the incident.
The incident resulted in a number of the TTC’s servers being encrypted and locked, resulting in the loss of our VISION system, vehicle arrival information, and online Wheel-Trans booking systems, as well as external network connectivity, including e-mail.
We continue to investigate whether any customer or vendor information was accessed. There is no indication at this time that any of this information has been misused or shared publicly.
To support employees during this time, and as a precaution, we have purchased credit monitoring and identify theft protection/insurance from TransUnion through their myTrueIdentity Program to for all current and former employees, including pensioners. Current and former employees, including pensioners, will have coverage through TransUnion for a three-year period.
I want to express my deep regret that this has occurred to everyone who may be impacted. The fact that in the past year there have been nearly 700 similar attacks on public- and private-sector organizations in Canada is indicative of just how pervasive they really are. I want everyone to be assured the TTC continues to follow best practices in securing our IT infrastructure and that we have leading advisors assisting us in this endeavor. We remain fully committed to learning from this incident.
This incident has once again reminded me how fortunate I am to be surrounded by 15,000 talented employees. Not just the TTC’s IT team who have been working relentlessly to get our systems back up and running, but all our employees whose commitment to our customers has been unwavering. I want to thank all of our employees for their dedication and hard work.
The top concern for the TTC has always been protecting the health and safety of our customers and employees – the cybersecurity incident did not compromise that. We continue to post information as it becomes available on the cybersecurity incident at ttc.ca/cyberinfo2021.
Mandatory vaccination policy update
The TTC did not make any changes to its mandatory vaccine policy despite the cybersecurity incident. The TTC has been communicating regularly with employees about the policy since mid-August.
The deadline to receive two doses (or one dose of a single dose series) remained end of day on November 20. On November 21, employees who were unvaccinated or who had not shared their status were placed on unpaid leave until their vaccination course was complete.
Safety remains the top concern for the TTC and making sure everyone working at the TTC is kept as safe as possible. Getting vaccinated remains an important step in putting the pandemic behind us and ensuring that we are doing everything we can to keep our family, friends and communities healthy.
Diversity and Culture Group
Honouring Remembrance Day
This year, as in previous years, the TTC continued its annual tradition of bringing all its vehicles to a standstill as part of its Remembrance Day commemoration. On November 11, all subway trains were held on station platforms at 11 a.m. Bus and streetcar Operators stopped their vehicles at a regular service stop just prior to 11 a.m. Wheel-Trans vehicles were also brought to a stop at a safe location.
Current and former members of Canada’s military were able to ride the TTC for free along with a companion.
TTC buses and streetcars are also carrying a sign reading “Lest We Forget,” and a special message will run on all subway platform screens.
Strategy and Customer Experience Group
Public art at Wilson Station
Last month, a new series of murals was unveiled at Wilson Station. The murals, Daily Migration, was created by Shalack Attack, an internationally recognized artist, and STEPS Public Art. There are three murals that were completed and tell the stories of migration with the elements of water, fire, earth and air. These stories were shared by community members through art workshops facilitated over the past year.
We encourage customers to visit Wilson Station to view the new artwork.
Canada Running Series partnership
For a second year in a row, the TTC has partnered with Canada Running Series for the TTC Challenge. Beginning November 15, participants started tracking their distance and gegan running or walking 76.5 km – the distance of the TTC subway system. To celebrate the TTC’s centenary, participants can also complete 100 km within the one-month period.
To find out more about this event, visit the Canada Running Series website and look for the TTC Challenge.
To provide a more equitable transit experience, we have worked with PRESTO to change the tones that some customers hear when they tap their card. Starting November 20, Wheel-Trans customers who are part of the Fair Pass Discount Program will hear the same one beep as a typical adult fare payment. This update will also be changing the tone that children hear when they tap their card (going from two beeps to a three chime sound).
This update follows a larger update that was made on all TTC vehicles and fare gates back in late September and early October.
Temporary service plans for November and December
The TTC has temporary service plans in place for November and December, which take into account employees who were ineligible to work due to being unvaccinated or for not disclosing vaccination status. Vaccinated TTC Operators were able to sign up for the next schedule service periods as of November 3. If additional employees come forward and report their vaccination status in the coming days and weeks, the TTC will work to increase service.
The November 21 schedules were planned to be reliable and predictable while protecting existing service on the TTC’s busiest bus routes corridors at the busiest times of day such as Wilson, Jane, Eglinton, Finch and Lawrence East.
Individual route schedules for the period beginning November 21 will be available on the TTC website and through all the usual real-time and online sources.
TTC ridership is at approximately 50 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
Time capsule sealed at McNicoll Bus Division and Garage
Late last month, employees from McNicoll Bus Division and Garage sealed a time capsule containing items of significance to current employees, including masks, postcards written by employees, the TTC 100th anniversary book and more. The McNicoll Bus Division and Garage opened in March 2021 and became the TTC’s ninth bus garage in the network.
The capsule will be opened by McNicoll employees on October 18, 2051, as a part of the TTC’s 130th anniversary celebrations.
Safety and Environment Group
TTC holds more than 60 popup clinics
Getting vaccinated is one of the most important things all of us can do to put this pandemic behind us. To help people get their vaccination, the TTC and health partners have hosted many clinics on TTC properties for our workforce and their families, and at subway stations for our customers and the general public.
At the time of writing this commentary, we’ve held more than 60 clinics and administered almost 9,500 vaccine doses.
The next TTC Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 29 and will be live-streamed on the Official TTC YouTube Channel, starting at 10 a.m.
Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer