Sen. Bob Runciman was with Coun. Diane Deans at Ottawa City Hall on April. 24, 2014 to introduce his bill to protect transit drivers. Sarah Taylor/Ottawa Sun
Gloucester-Southgate Coun. Diane Deans, chairwoman of the transit commission, will be on the Hill late tomorrow afternoon addressing a Senate committee on proposed legislation to stiffen penalties for assaults on transit operators.
Sen. Bob Runciman was at City Hall a couple months ago to promote the bill.
Deans says she’ll tell the Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs — which Runciman chairs — why there needs to be more legal protection for public transit drivers.
“Our transit operators have a lot of contact with the public and our drivers are not immune to some negative contacts with customers,” Deans told me today.
Deans said “it’s an honour and opportunity” to speak to senators, especially since City Hall has limited interaction with Parliament, despite the proximity.
“It’s an opportunity to effect a message that our transit operators need to be protected,” she said.
Between January and May this year there were 22 assaults on Transpo drivers. In all of 2013, there were 72.
Also scheduled to present are members of Unifor, the Canadian Urban Transit Association and the Amalgamated Transit Union, including OC Transpo bus driver Suzanne Burgess, who shared her story in April about being assaulted.
Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.