OC Strike is a Man Made Crisis Situation Which Could Prove Deadly

If you are affected by today's OC Transpo strike then I urge you to send a clear message to all City Council Members(http://www.ottawa.ca/city_hall/mayor_council/councillors/index_en.html), along with Alain Mercier of OC Transpo, John Baird, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure(see below) and Communities that the OC Transpo workers must be mandated back to work and that the OC Transpo Service must be an Essential Service!

For seniors and persons with disabilities, today is the start of a “man made crisis situation”! One that could have been avoided but one which could see serious consequences such as injuries and or death for community members!

Mayor O'Brien and OC Transpo Alain Mercier have announced a number of options for transit users, however options such as opening up bus lanes, extended on street parking etc do nothing for seniors and persons with disabilities who do not drive or who do not have access to an accessible vehicle. For those who do have an accessible van there is little comfort as they are prevented from using their ramps on sidewalks lined with snow banks!

Para will be an option for some but with a service which is already over loaded it will not be able to keep up with the increased demand. People who are lucky to get bookings could see long delays in pick ups meaning that they will be late for work, late getting home, perishable groceries could be destroyed etc. Others who do not have regular bookings could see themselves not being able to get to work, school etc.

Sadly the reality is that no matter how hard Para tries and they are trying, they will not be able to meet the increased demand and many Para registrants will not be able to get bookings! Many will not be able to get to the store for their food, will not be able to get to important medical appointments, to therapies, social gatherings, important meetings etc.

For those who live close enough to stores who may have been able to manage to get there using their wheelchairs, walkers etc. they have also lost this option with the latest snow storm as many of the sidewalks will not be usable.

Again I urge you to contact your City Councillor, the Mayor, Alain Mercier and your Member of Parliament and demand that OC Transpo workers be mandated back to work. All have been cc'd on this email!

Special note for those of you who use the Senior's / Community Pass who will be forced back onto Para please I urge you NOT to top up your pass with tickets or cash. The OC Website states that pass holders should hold onto their passes as they will be used for providing credit towards a future bus pass, however there is nothing about reimbursing bus tickets!

Please have patience, do not allow for any intimidation when booking Para and please be safe. I would also encourage all who live alone to buddy up with someone and ensure that you both have daily contact with each other so that each knows the other is ok, that you both have enough food, medication etc. This will be a trying time, however if we have patience and put our pride aside we will make it through! If you need help and do not know who to call please let me know and I will try to get you connected!

Thank you,

Catherine Gardner

Community Advocate,
www.catherinegardner.ca

Send all emails to the following as well as all City Councillors at the above address:

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