Frank Klees

Press Release

PC York Region MPPs Introduce Back To Work Legislation To
End Transit Strike

BILL 7 see the bill

Jan 12, 2012 York Region's Media Release on Transit Strike Offensive click here

Nov 25, 2011 York Region Transit Strike : Update Message from Frank Klees

Nov 24, 2011 AM Klees Questions the Deputy Premier Transcript of question period VIDEO

Nov 24 PM Back to Work Legislation is defeated 37-67 see full Transcript of debate VIDEO

Article by David Fleischer of Era Banner YRT back-to-work bill fails

Letter from Kristopher Kuysten, PhD Economics, Unversity of Guelph November 28, 2011

Remarks by Frank Klees during debate on back to work legislation:

Mr. Frank Klees: Speaker, this message that we’ve just heard from the member from Oak Ridges–Markham is the reason that some 40,000 victims of this strike are today suffering hardship—financial hardship, personal hardship. Seniors can’t get to medical appointments. People with disabilities can’t get from their home to their place of work. And we hear from this member that the reason that she and the government are refusing to act here today on this legislation that could end this strike is because she hasn’t heard from the regional government, that they have not requested this. The reason that we are here and that the member from Thornhill has tabled this legislation is precisely because no one else is taking any action.

I stand here with my colleagues and I say to the regional government of York region: You have failed the people who elected you. I stand here and I say that whether it is the union, who at least is saying, “Bring in an arbitrator so that we can resolve this”—we now have a Liberal government here, probably all four members who are representing people in York region, who are saying, along with the regional government, “We will wash our hands as well.” Shame on the people who are hearing on a day-to-day basis from the people who are suffering.

To the member from Oak Ridges–Markham: Here is an email, which is among many, that I received as a copy. I read for the record, and I’m happy to deliver it over: “My local MPP Helena Jaczek has not taken trouble to return my many calls made to her office. Kindly table a bill to back to” work “legislation and make YRT an essential service.”

Speaker, we can speak nicely here about how we want to follow process. We are elected, all of us here, to represent the people in our ridings who look to us for leadership. I am not going to wait for the regional chair—who, by the way, was never elected by anyone; he was appointed by some regional councillors, and that’s another issue. If anything, what I’ve heard here and the lack of initiative on the part of our regional chair motivate me to bring forth another private member’s bill that calls on the regional chair to be elected so that the regional chair can in fact be accountable to the people who elected him.

I believe that we have a responsibility in this House to ensure that the regional public transit system works for the people who pay for it, the people whose tax dollars pay for it, who you, member from Oak Ridges–Markham, represent—and the member from Richmond Hill and the member from Vaughan. I have some emails relating to the member from Vaughan, too, but I won’t read them.

If we cannot come together here in this Legislature and do the right thing—as the member from Thornhill has so rightly said, it took us less than 48 hours to bring back-to-work legislation in for the city of Toronto and the TTC. And yes, there was leadership from the city of Toronto, but the fact that there isn’t from the region of York doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be doing our job. That’s why we’re here with this legislation today.

I say to the government: I read in the throne speech the importance of an integrated transit system throughout the greater Toronto area. I suggest it begs the credibility if on the one hand we call for an integrated, seamless transit system throughout the GTA and yet have it fragmented because of fragmented labour legislation that relates to it.

I will not shrink from the fact that I believe that transit should, in fact, be an essential service; that no one who relies on public transit should be held hostage through and as a result of a labour negotiation. I, too, believe in collective bargaining, but collective bargaining—ask the gentlemen here who are on the union side—is not working, and that’s why we’re here.

We’re saying, “Bring in the arbitrator,” and that’s exactly what this bill does. It brings in an arbitrator. It sets down some conditions and some guidelines for that arbitration, such as the ability to pay; such as the fiscal condition of York region and the province. But what it does is it ensures that the people who need transit have it while the negotiation is taking place with the assistance of an arbitrator.

And so, here we are. We have four Liberal MPPs who refused to sign a letter that we sent to the Minister of Labour on November 10, simply asking the minister to bring in legislation so that this matter could be resolved. The spaces are blank, and I suggest, from what I’m hearing, that when we vote this afternoon on this bill they will be blank one more time. They won’t vote for this. But they will have to answer to their constituents, to the people in their ridings—



November 23, 2011

PC York Region MPPs Introduce Back To Work Legislation
End Transit Strike

York Region MPPs want transit declared an essential service

(Queen's Park) Today, Newmarket-Aurora MPP Frank Klees announced that he is co-sponsoring a Private Members' Bill to implement back to work legislation to end the York Region transit (YRT) strike. The Bill will be co-sponsored by York Region MPPs Peter Shurman (Thornhill) and Julia Munro (York -Simcoe).  The Bill will be introduced in the legislature today by Mr. Shurman.

“The fact is that in the fifth week of this strike without a sign of a resolution, it would be irresponsible of us not to take this step to get transit back into service,” said Klees. “Seniors can’t get to medical appointments, students are missing classes and jobs are being lost. No level of government should be washing their hands of this issue.”

"The goal of this bill is to get transit working for York Region residents again," Shurman said. "It will also prevent future disruptions in transit and secure a fair agreement for all parties involved in the dispute, including the transit users and taxpayers of York Region. While the Liberal government has refused to act, individual MPPs have a free vote on Private Member's legislation and I look forward to the support of all the members in passing this legislation as soon as possible."

If passed, the York Region Transit Labour Disputes Resolution Act 2011 will make YRT an essential service and prohibit future labour disruptions. This type of legislation was introduced by the McGuinty Government last year in the case of Toronto and the TTC with the support of the PC Opposition. The bill also asks for an arbitrator to facilitate a fair and neutral agreement that takes into consideration economic conditions and employers' ability to pay.

The York Region Transit Labour Disputes Resolutions Act 2011 is set to be introduced in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario this afternoon and scheduled to be debated on November 24, 2011.  York Simcoe MPP Julia Munro says action to end the strike must be taken immediately. 

"My constituents are the victims of this strike and they feel that the McGuinty Government has ignored them," said Munro. "It is time for the McGuinty Government to get on board and end this strike."                                                                                                 

The transit strike in York Region began on Monday, October 24th, 2011 and affects more than 70,000 commuters. York Region PC MPPs have already called for all parties in the dispute to get back to the negotiating table and asked the McGuinty Government to implement back to work legislation. To date, no York Region Liberal MPPs, notably Greg Sorbara, Michael Chan, Helena Jaczek and Reza Moridi, nor their Liberal government have taken any decisive action to end the York Region transit strike.


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For previous action on this issue click here

Media response:

The Star

Era Banner

Canadian Labour Reporter : Conservative bill could end York Region Transit strike

CityNews 3 MPPs will introduce back-to-work bill to end YRT strike

Era Banner YRT back-to-work bill fails

CityNews Union escalates York transit strike with 'huge' picket