Frank Klees

Press Release

                                                                                                                     Video 3 Oct 29, 2009     

DRIVETEST STRIKE

                                                                                                                    Follow-Up Video Oct 28,2009

Frank Klees calls for second reading see video                                                                                                                 View Video Oct 26

Bill to End Drivetest Strike  Introduced November 23, 2009                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                     In the News

MEMBERS STATEMEMTS: DRIVER EXAMINATION CENTRES November 2, 2009

Mr. Frank Klees: The McGuinty government's unwillingness to bring an end to the strike at its DriveTest offices, which is now in its 11th week, demonstrates that this government either doesn't understand the seriousness of the strike or simply doesn't care.

Over the past weeks, I've called on the Minister of Transportation and the Minister of Labour to bring an end to this strike, which is causing increasing hardship to Ontarians, and all we've heard in response is rhetoric. We've seen no action.

In a desperate attempt to get the government's attention, the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has planned a truck and bus convoy to a rally here at Queen's Park at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning. Up to 300 truck driver trainees and instructors will plead their case.

In a letter to the Premier, Gus Rahim, the president of the Truck Training Schools Association, said this, "Our programs are now virtually at a standstill, with fully trained students waiting to start on a new career path, employers desperate to fill vacancies and our own employees and staff facing massive layoffs."

The response from the Premier and this government has been a deafening silence. Hopefully, tomorrow's protest will help this government to understand the urgency of the situation and finally motivate them to act.

KLEES:  Make Licensing Services Available To Everyone

(TORONTO) Newmarket-Aurora MPP Frank Klees, the PC Transportation Critic is not about to let up on his call for an end to the strike that's keeping thousands of Ontarians from getting access to services at licensing offices across the province. 

Klees raised the issue in the Legislature again today and pointed out that certain services that are being offered at a downtown Toronto Service Ontario office should be made available right across the province.

"Either stop the discrimination against people who live outside of Toronto or stop the strike," said Klees. "More and more people are being affected by this strike as time goes on, and this government seems indifferent to the hardships it’s causing."

The following is the Hansard record of today's Question Period exchange between Klees and the Minister of Transportation:

Read Hansard October 29,2009

DriveTest Strike:  Keeping the Pressure on

(TORONTO) PC Transportation Critic, Frank Klees, MPP, stepped up the call for an end to the strike at Ontario’s DriveTest Centre today by calling on the Labour Minister to order an immediate vote on an offer presented to the union weeks ago.  The following is a transcript of the debate on this issue during Question Period in the Legislature today:

Mr. Frank Klees: To the Minister of Transportation, my question is in follow-up to a question that I put on Monday regarding the DriveTest strike that’s now in its 10th week. Jobs are being lost, lives are being disrupted. I have an e-mail, which is one of many, from a DriveTest employee. They want to get back to work as well, and I want to read from that e-mail:  “We have an offer that our union refuses to let us vote on until Serco deems it to be a ‘final offer.’ The Ministry of Labour mediator has issued his second ‘cooling-off period’ (the first one lasted a month and a half) which is also frustrating.”

I asked the minister on Monday why he will not ask his colleague the Minister of Labour to direct that offer to be put to the employees so that this strike can be dealt with.

Hon. James J. Bradley: In fact, I’ll allow him to ask the Minister of Labour himself.

Hon. Peter Fonseca: I thank the Minister of Transportation and the Ministry of Labour officials as we continue to work with the parties and urge them to come to the table to resolve their differences. We highly respect the collective bargaining agreement process. The member is quite right when he speaks about our mediators; we have some of the best mediators in the world. And we have one of the best labour relations records in the world; 97% of all collective agreements are done without work stoppage. There are some agreements that are challenging, there are bumps in the road, and I ask the parties to come to the table, roll up their sleeves, work together.

  

Mr. Frank Klees: The sleeves are rolled up and we’re seeing no results. What I’m saying is that the Minister of Transportation has a responsibility to ensure that these services are delivered to Ontarians. Serco has a responsibility contractually to deliver them. For the last 10 weeks that hasn’t been happening. The Minister of Labour has the ability under legislation, under section—just so that he can check it out himself—41 of the Labour Relations Act, to force a vote; that is his responsibility. His mediator is not successful. Employees at Serco want to have the vote. They want to get back to work and people across this province want and need those services. Why will the minister not assume his responsibility and ensure that that vote takes place?

Hon. Peter Fonseca: As I said, there are at times disputes that may be difficult. That is why the Ministry of Labour has conciliators and mediators to be there to assist those parties to resolve those differences. I understand, as the Minister of Transportation and many in our communities understand, the difficulties that this imposes on those who want to get a driver’s licence and those who need to renew their driver’s licence. So what we continue to do is work with the parties, to encourage them to come to the table to resolve those differences. As I have said, we have a tremendous record in labour relations in this province. I want to commend those who are at the table, who are working hard, who are making concessions and finding that common ground to get a collective agreement done. 

                                                                                                                           View Video Oct 26

KLEES:  Time to End Strike at DriveTest Centres                Hansard Oct 26, 2009

                                                                                                                        

(TORONTO)  Newmarket-Aurora MPP Frank Klees, the PC Critic for Transportation and Public Infrastructure Renewal today called on transportation minister Jim Bradley to resolve the issues surrounding the now ten-week old strike at DriveTest Centres across the province.

“Jobs are being lost because truck drivers can’t upgrade their licences, new drivers can’t get licences with the result that they can’t get jobs, and they can’t enrol in new job training or college programs,” Klees told Bradley on the floor of the Legislature today.

According to Klees, the Ontario government’s contract with Serco, the private sector company that delivers the services at the DriveTest Centres, obligates it to ensure that wait times for road tests are no more than six weeks, that there are acceptable services levels and that under the terms of the contract, the Ontario Transportation Ministry would “safeguard the public interest.”

“Serco is not meeting its obligations under the contract they have with the province of Ontario,” Klees told Bradley.  “Why has the Minister not stepped in to ensure that they meet those obligations and that Ontarians aren’t held hostage?”

 “Ontarians are hurting.  It’s not enough to extend deadlines (for licence expiry dates).  There are people who need to take those tests to upgrade their licences, to get their first licence.  Not only are people losing jobs because they can’t get their licences, jobs are being lost at businesses, such as Young Drivers of Canada who do driver training, because their clients can’t be scheduled for road tests,”  Klees said.

Klees refused to accept the minister’s assertion that the government does not want to interfere in the labour negotiations.  “It has come to my attention that in fact an offer has been made, but the union is refusing to put that offer to a vote by its members,” Klees said.  “I am asking the Minister of Transportation and the Minister of Labour to intervene to ensure at the very least, that an offer that has been put forward is put to a vote by the employees.”

Klees insists the Ministry of Transportation has a responsibility to do whatever is necessary to end this strike.          

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For more information contact:

Frank Klees, MPP                                                                                            

416 509 8999