Message from the Executives
CEO's Report: March Commentary
The month of March holds increasingly significant meaning for the TTC. Not only do we turn our clocks forward one hour, welcome springtime and wish everyone a happy St. Patrick’s Day, the TTC focuses its attention on employee appreciation.
The TTC, and transit properties across the country, recognized Transit Operator and Worker Appreciation Day on March 18. The TTC is always proud to celebrate the incredible hard work and dedication of its employees. No matter the role – whether it’s working on the frontline, at a TTC location, or from home – we’re grateful for their work in keeping Toronto moving, especially over these past two years.
Beginning this month, the Province lifted more COVID-19 restrictions, including indoor and outdoor capacity limits. We’ve already seen capacity crowds return to Scotiabank Arena for Raptors and Leafs games. We’ve also seen an increase in ridership across all our vehicles. Bus boardings continue to lead at 59 per cent of pre-COVID levels with streetcar and subway boardings at 49 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively.
We’re very pleased to see our customers returning, and their safety as well as the safety of our employees remains the priority for us. On March 9, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kieran Moore, announced that mask mandates for most indoor settings would be lifted on March 21. While public transit was not included in this change, Dr. Moore did say that remaining mask mandates could be lifted on April 27. With that in mind, the TTC’s mask mandate for those travelling on the TTC will remain in place until at least April 27.
The mandate, as approved by our Board on June 17, 2020, allows me to lift it in consultation with Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health. So for the time being, it is status quo with respect to our mask policy.
I look forward to providing further updates as we get closer to April 27.
Returning to the office
With the Omicron wave of the pandemic slowly subsiding, and with a vaccinated workforce in place, the TTC is planning a gradual return to the office beginning in April. Staff who’ve been working remotely will be returning to the workplace two-to-three days a week. Similar to many other organizations, the TTC will continue to follow advice from Toronto Public Health as we have throughout the pandemic.
Diversity and Culture Group
COMTO event caps off Black History Month at TTC
On February 28, the Toronto and Region Chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) held a fireside chat with Steve D. Anderson, the first Black lawyer hired by the TTC and author of Driven to Succeed. His story is filled with personal lessons and broader themes that we at the TTC and others can learn from. Steve shared his experiences of trying to fit in when he was first hired by the TTC’s Legal Department, and the responsibility that being “first” often brings.
As we work to become a more diverse and inclusive organization — and a more inclusive transit system — I appreciate employees taking the time to share their experiences. I want to thank Steve for taking the time to share his story with us.
TTC recognizes International Women’s Day
On March 8, the TTC celebrated International Women’s Day. This year’s theme was Break the Bias. It was an opportunity to recognize the achievements and contributions of women across the organization. This year, on International Women’s Day, we were proud to feature women from across the agency on all the TTC’s internal channels and on social media.
We’ve made some significant progress – in 2021, we exceeded our goal of ensuring four out of every 10 operators hired were women, as set out in the TTC’s 10-Point Action Plan on Diversity and Inclusion. In the last year, we’ve implemented new outreach initiatives and I’m proud to say that six of every 10 operators hired were women. We also hit another milestone for women at the TTC as we had our first-ever all-women Transit Operator Class graduate in August 2021, as well as our first-ever all-women Streetcar Operator Class last October.
Our goal at the TTC is to make everyone feel empowered and encouraged to pursue their career goals without bias or barriers along the way.
Each year on International Women’s Day, we’re reminded that while many strides have been made towards the equality and inclusion of women, there is still work to be done.
Sock Drive for homeless shelters
The generosity of our employees also never ceases to amaze me. Working with all our union partners, the Toronto and Region Chapter of COMTO, as well as the TTC’s Recreation Council, held a sock drive last month. TTC employees collected more than 6,000 pairs of socks. Roughly half were donated to homeless shelters, such as the Good Sheppard, and the rest were given to the Toronto Police Service in order to support some of their programs. Thank you to all those who supported this important initiative.
Strategy and Customer Experience Group
TTC Special Constables update
The TTC’s Special Constables have had some real success over the past month. The following example helps to illustrate the important role that Special Constables play in our transit system.
In late February, Transit Special Constables Jeckie Zhang and Petar Melinkovic administered life-saving Naloxone to an unconscious person in the subway. The two were called to Bloor-Yonge Station where they attended to an unresponsive woman who had taken fentanyl. The Constables assessed the victim and when there was no response, it was determined that they would administer Naloxone nasal spray to counteract a possible drug overdose. Upon arrival of paramedics, the woman regained consciousness and was transported to hospital.
I want to thank our Special Constables for their great work.
TTC hosts 48th Highlanders of Canada
On March 5 and 6, the TTC was proud to host the 48th Highlanders of Canada, one of Toronto’s Army Reserve units, as they conducted a previously scheduled training exercise at the Bay Lower Station.
The TTC regularly partners with emergency services agencies to provide unique training venues. It’s one of the ways the TTC is keeping Toronto safe.
Increases to service
The TTC continues to restore service across the city, which saw temporary reductions last November. Starting on Sunday, March 27, we’ll begin increasing service on the following routes: 24 Victoria Park, 41 Keele, 44 Kipling South, 46 Martin Grove, 63 Ossington, 86 Scarborough, 89 Weston, 87 Cosburn, 102 Markham Rd and 74 Mt Pleasant (weekdays).
The TTC will also introduce new schedules for the following routes to improve service reliability: 37 Islington, 46 Martin Grove, 52 Lawrence West, 64 Main, 109 Ranee, 124 Sunnybrook, 937 Islington Express and 986 Scarborough Express.
The TTC will restore overall service hours in line with the lifting of public health restrictions and the reopening of workplaces. Individual route schedules and service levels will be determined by demand, taking into account overall system needs. We continue to remind customers that wearing a mask is mandatory while riding the TTC.
Wheel-Trans solo rides
On March 20, Wheel-Trans reintroduced shared customer rides in a safe and phased approach. This move is in response to the improving COVID-19 climate, where the Ontario Government has eased a number of restrictions related to capacity limits. In keeping with this direction, and with the support of the Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit, Wheel-Trans reintroduced shared rides starting with Wheel-Trans buses, our largest paratransit vehicles. Shared rides in accessible taxi vans and sedans will be reintroduced in the months to follow.
Safety and Environment Group
Employee safety campaign
Unfortunately, since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen more criminal offences against employees –most recently two assaults a week apart. To address this increase, the TTC
developed an action plan to address assaults on employees and support employee safety, which we shared on the first Transit Worker Assault Awareness Day in December 2021.
We’ve been working closely with our union partners, including ATU Local 113, and we’re committed to our multifaceted approach to provide a safe work environment and service that’s free from violence, and will continue to do all we can to stop this from happening.
Every day, our employees show tremendous dedication and skill in moving the people from point A to point B, and we know it’s important for them to feel safe while doing so. Even one assault is one too many.
Pop-up vaccination clinic
In partnership with Women’s College Hospital (WCH), the TTC hosted a vaccination clinic at Union Station on March 15, 16 and 17. WCH administered both Moderna and Pfizer to eligible customers. To date, there have been roughly 9,850 vaccine doses administered at 70 clinics on TTC properties.
We’re proud of the part the TTC has played, and continues to play, in putting this pandemic behind us. The safety of employees and customers is the top priority for the TTC. As for TTC staff, the Mandatory Vaccine Policy remains in effect.
And finally, I’d like to wish everyone working at our McNicoll Division and Garage in north Scarborough a happy first anniversary. Bus service began rolling out of the new McNicoll complex on March 28, 2021. McNicoll is home to about 90 maintenance employees and 600 Operators and transportation staff.
The next TTC Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 14 and will be live-streamed on the Official TTC YouTube Channel, starting at 10 a.m.
Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer
This commentary is published in the CEO’s Report, which can be found on the TTC Intranet and ttc.ca.