The Ontario Liberals are privatizing your public transit,
but there’s still time to stop them and Keep Transit Public!

How is this happening?

Metrolinx, the provincial arm’s length transit planning organization, is only accepting bids from companies that can supply ALL components of the new Hamilton LRT line.

The components of the bid are: Finance, Design, Build, Operate and Maintain. (FDBOM).

Because the HSR doesn’t Finance, Design or Build, they are ineligible to compete in the tendering process, and are out of the running to Operate and Maintain the LRT. This effectively means that only large groups of private companies may even bid on the project. The current procurement process leaves the door open to the new LRT line being entirely privatized.

However, IT’S NOT TOO LATE. If you take action now, we can pressure Metrolinx and the Provincial Liberal Government to make HSR the default operator and maintenance provider of the new Hamilton LRT line.

What you can do:

1. Sign the Petition
Signing the petition will automatically send emails to all Hamilton City Councillors, all Hamilton area MPPs, as well as Metrolinx, the Ministry of Transportation, Infrastructure Ontario, and Premier Wynne’s office.

2. Call your city councillor

Mayor Fred Eisenberger (905) 546-4200
1 Aidan Johnson (905) 546-2416
2 Jason Farr (905) 546-2711
3 Matthew Green (905) 546-2702
4 Sam Merulla (905) 546-4512
5 Chad Collins (905) 546-2716
6 Tom jackson (905) 546-2707
7 Donna Skelly (905) 546-2706
8 Terry Whitehead (905) 546-2712
9 Doug Conley (905) 546-2703
10 Maria Pearson (905) 546-2701
11 Brenda Johnson (905) 546-4513
12 Lloyd Ferguson (905) 546-2704
13 Arlene VanderBeek (905) 546-2714
14 Robert Pasuta (905) 546-2705
15 Judi Partridge (905) 546-2713

3. Call your MPP
Emails are great, but phone calls carry even more weight!

Hamilton Centre Andrea Horwath (905) 544-9644
Hamilton East Stoney Creek Paul Miller (905) 545-0114
Hamilton Mountain Monique Taylor (905) 388-9734
Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale Ted McMeekin (905) 690-6552
Niagara-West-Glanbrook Sam Oosterhoff (905) 563-1755

Sign the Petition!

Keep Transit Publically owned and operated in Hamilton

Dear honourable City Councillors, MPPs, and Madam Premier

[your signature]

874 signatures

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Latest Signatures
874 James McGinn Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
873 Mark Masters Stoney Creek, ON Jul 21, 2017
872 Karen Masters Stoney Creek, ON Jul 21, 2017
871 Denise Barok Fort Erie, ON Jul 21, 2017
870 Andy Screiner Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
869 Lia McGinn Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
868 Judy Horsley Ancaster, ON Jul 21, 2017
867 Bruce Horsley Ancaster, ON Jul 21, 2017
866 Pat Truckel Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
865 Walton Darlene Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
864 Brian Mitchell Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
863 James Arsenault Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
862 Lisa Thomson Dundas, ON Jul 21, 2017
861 Cameron MacKenzie Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
860 Alison Pipe Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
859 Scott MacKenzie Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
858 Jaime Constable Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
857 Andrew Vryburg Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
856 John Schaeffer Selkirk, On Jul 21, 2017
855 Vernon Musgrove Hamilton, Ontario Jul 21, 2017
854 Mike Bates Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
853 Bunny Marko Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
852 Mary Johnson Jul 21, 2017
851 Wendy & Ken Pelletier Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
850 Melissa Gudgeon Hamitlon, ON Jul 21, 2017
849 Meghan Major Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
848 Ida Caruso Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
847 Michael Caruso Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
846 Melissa Ostrowercha Stoney Creek, ON Jul 21, 2017
845 Stu McLean St. Catharines, ON Jul 21, 2017
844 Nicola Sibanda Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
843 Carolina Gower Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
842 Charles Booth Niagara Falls, ON Jul 21, 2017
841 Pete Quinlin Niagara Falls, ON Jul 21, 2017
840 Steve Lowe Toronto, ON Jul 21, 2017
839 Ashley Quiring Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
838 Tory Pottruff Hamilton Jul 21, 2017
837 Joseph Horaczek Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
836 Bruce Brokenshire Jul 21, 2017
835 Troy Kraysa Jul 21, 2017
834 Brenda James Hamilton, ON Jul 21, 2017
833 Will Portelance Sudbury, ON Jul 21, 2017
832 Jarad Maley Hamilton, Ontario Jul 20, 2017
831 Chad Vandervlist Dunnville, Ontario Jul 20, 2017
830 Jay VanderVlist Brantford Jul 20, 2017
829 Shelly Van Dyke Hamilton Jul 20, 2017
828 Sean Galvin Hamilton , Ontario Jul 20, 2017
827 Josie Lutz Hamilton Jul 20, 2017
826 Jim Galvin Hamilton, Ont Jul 20, 2017
825 Peter Farr Stoney Creek Jul 20, 2017


Quick Facts:
What you Need to Know


Kathleen Wynne’s provincial Liberal government is privatizing your public transit. If you don’t act now, Hamilton’s new LRT line will be a Public-Private Partnership (P3) with a private company operating and maintaining the LRT.

We all know how the privatization of Hydro went. Higher rates and we’re still holding the bag with the debt. Let’s not make the same mistake again.


How did we get here? An ideology of selling public assets for short term gain, leaving the public with a legacy of pain. Metrolinx, the provincial arm’s length transit planning organization, is only accepting bids from companies that can supply ALL components of the new Hamilton LRT line.

The components of the bid are: Finance, Design, Build, Operate and Maintain. (FDBOM)

Because the HSR doesn’t Finance, Design or Build, they are ineligible to compete in the tendering process, and are out of the running to Operate and Maintain the LRT. This effectively means that only large consortia of private companies may even bid on the project. The current procurement process leaves the door open to the new LRT line being entirely privatized.


Why have more than one transit operator in Hamilton? That doesn’t make any sense.

Public infrastructure is big money. Privatizing transit infrastructure is a shell game, allowing governments to keep debt off the books, but taxpayers end up paying anyway. At a time of record low interest rates, no private company will be able to borrow at the same rates as the government and we will all have to pay those higher rates in our taxes and our transit fares for decades to come.

The proof is in the pudding. Take a look at the London Underground and British Rail privatization train wreck. The infrastructure was privatized and it was such a failure that the government had to bail them out and take it over again.


Metrolinx released a Request for Qualifications, in which interested companies put their names in the hat to build and run light rail service in Ontario, in February and that process closed at the end of March. They will be announcing the eligible bidders for the official Request for Proposals sometime at the end of June or early July.

Next, Metrolinx will put out a formal Request for Proposals

The issue is that any interested party has to commit to financing, designing, building, operating, and maintaining the light rail project. A public agency like HSR isn’t in much of a position to be able to finance, design or build such a project, but should be in the running to operate and maintain it. This is would be a step towards to keeping this new transit project publically owned and operated.

However, there’s still time for the bidding process to change in a way that would support the operation and maintenance components being done by the HSR, and not left to private companies and international consortia.

Let’s keep our transit jobs local. Let’s keep transit owned by all of us and not by private companies.


This decision will affect everyone in Hamilton and the GTHA, as well as signalling that transit should stay public to a much wider audience.  If the public raises its voice demanding that transit operation and maintenance be publicly owned, it can happen. If awareness remains low, it’s possible that the Liberal government will award your transit to an international private company driven by a profit motive.


Transit privatization is happening all over Ontario with almost no awareness in the general public. Hamilton’s LRT line is only the latest in a string of new privatized transit projects.

With your help, we can stop the privatization train wreck.

Campaign FAQ

Why is the operation and maintenance of Hamilton’s new LRT line up for bidding?

The Provincial Liberal Government, through its transit agency, Metrolinx, has decided that it doesn’t want the people of Hamilton to operate and maintain the new LRT. Instead, it would rather ask big private companies to come in and run the core of Hamilton’s transit system. They hope that private companies from elsewhere will be able to understand the transit needs of Hamilton better than the people who have operated transit here for over a century.

Why is HSR (Hamilton Street Railway) not the default operator and maintainer given that it’s already operating transit in Hamilton and is wholly owned by Hamiltonians?

A successful transit system needs to be integrated. Most people riding the LRT will be connecting to an HSR bus to get to the Mountain, to Dundas, or anywhere else the LRT doesn’t serve directly. That means that it has to be closely coordinated with the rest of Hamilton’s transit system. That’s why having an entirely separate private consortium that isn’t based in Hamilton operate the backbone of the city’s transit system makes little sense. We don’t want to have to negotiate with some company based in another city or another country every time we want to change the schedule.

What is a Public-Private Partnership (P3)?

P3s come in many forms, but put simply, they are deals where the government signs a contract with a private company or consortium to build and operate a piece of infrastructure or a service on the government’s behalf. In exchange, the government promises them a healthy guaranteed profit over the decades to follow.

Why is our transit even being considered for privatization? Isn’t transit a public service?

The great promise of public-private partnerships is reduced risk, because the private partner promises to deliver the project for a fixed price and to pay penalties if they fall behind schedule. It sounds great in theory. In practice, when private projects’ costs increase, the private partners often simply walk away if they aren’t going to make any money on the deal anymore.

That’s exactly what happened with the London Underground P3. Then the public is left to clean up the mess. Likewise, even though they may promise to pay penalties if they’re late, when the time comes they will threaten to walk away from these deals and throw the project into chaos if the government forces them to actually pay them. These companies spend millions on lawyers who know exactly how to draw up a contract that’s “heads we win, tails you lose.” Look at the TTC, which is finding it impossible to cancel its contract for streetcars with Bombardier even though the deliveries are years late.

In Hamilton, let's not forget what happened when Tim Horton’s Field was contracted out: locker rooms flooding, giant speakers crashing to the ground.

Or how about how the City of Hamilton saved more than $5.5 million after it took its water treatment service out of the hands of private contractors and brought it back in-house.

There are many more examples, but you get the point.

What has happened when transit has been privatized in other areas?

The British government decided to privatize its rail infrastructure and the result was a disaster. The privatized infrastructure company, Railtrack, cut back dramatically on maintenance to keep its profits flowing. The number of delays and accidents soared.

Eventually, the problems got so bad that they went bankrupt and the government was forced to renationalize the system. In London, the government signed a deal with two private consortia to modernize their subway, the historic London Underground.

The private companies promised a fantastic deal in their bids, but unsurprisingly they couldn’t keep their promises. As the companies realized that they weren’t going to make any money because they had under-bid and they experienced delays and cost overruns, they just walked away.

Once again, the public was left to pick up the pieces.

When everything goes great, private companies will still demand a healthy profit that comes out of taxpayers’ or riders’ pockets. When things go badly, the private companies walk away and leave the public holding the bag.

Does service improve?

Privatization does nothing to improve service. In fact, the private partner may have a strong incentive to cut back on service levels in order to increase its profits. Worse, if the city decides that it wants to improve transit service in the future, it could require renegotiating the contract. In that case, the private partner will no doubt demand a hefty subsidy.

Keeping transit public, by contrast, means that service levels are entirely up to the community and not a private company.

Does it result in better jobs?

Private transit operators consistently have higher worker turnover than public agencies. This means that workers can’t build up the skill and experience they acquire over a long career, making transit less efficient and less safe.

Is it safer?

When Britain privatized its rail infrastructure, its accident rates soared. Any private company is going to be tempted to cut back on maintenance to maintain its quarterly profits. It might not cause a problem in the short term but in the long term, it makes a transit system less safe.

Does it cost less?

In most cases, no. But even when it does, cost reductions always have to come from somewhere, whether it's skimping on maintenance, running trains less often, or paying workers less than a living wage. On top of that, private companies need to include their profits, which means an added cost that doesn't exist when transit is publicly operated. Companies often offer very low bids and promise the world to win a contract. But as soon as they run into trouble meeting their promises, they drop the contract and leave the public holding the bag.

The auditor general has said that paying a private consortium to borrow money rather than borrowing it directly has cost the Waterloo Region LRT, which is the prototype for the Hamilton project, an extra $48 million.

You’re just a union worried about losing members, right?

We are transit workers because we believe in the service we provide to citizens. At the heart of it, we benefit when transit service is good for riders. When the frequency of trains gets cut, when safety is compromised, and when the transit agency can't retain its most experienced operators, riders suffer just as much as workers.

We are also concerned about protecting good, living-wage paying jobs in Hamilton. When a private company comes in, they automatically try to cut wages and benefits in order to make a profit.

We believe that everyone in Hamilton deserves the opportunity to earn a living wage and provide for their families.

What can I do to help?

Join the movement to Keep Transit Public!

Our first action is to ensure that Hamilton’s HSR operates and maintains the new LRT line. Nobody knows the streets of Hamilton better than Hamiltonians. We know that we are the best people to care for this critical piece of new infrastructure.