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]

975 signatures

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Latest Signatures
975 Merle MacKenzie Hamilton, ON Jul 28, 2017
974 Andrew Shields Hamilton Jul 28, 2017
973 Lindsay Boyd Hamilton, ON Jul 28, 2017
972 Sean Campbell Hamilton, On Jul 28, 2017
971 Barry Conway Hamilton, Ontario Jul 27, 2017
970 Carina Lisson Hamilton, Ont Jul 27, 2017
969 Pat Ryerson Hamilton Jul 27, 2017
968 Stan Hoffman Stoney Creek Jul 27, 2017
967 Jay Cuttler St. Catharines Jul 27, 2017
966 Mike Cole Brantford Jul 27, 2017
965 Dan Arcaro Burlington Jul 27, 2017
964 Patrick Buchinski-Johnson Welland Jul 27, 2017
963 Fabio Marrama St. Catharines Jul 27, 2017
962 Zach Palamarchuk Hamilton Jul 27, 2017
961 Michael Peace Calgary Jul 27, 2017
960 Mike Peace Hannon Jul 27, 2017
959 Steve Bernier Hamilton Jul 27, 2017
958 Daniel Dion Dundas Jul 27, 2017
957 Nadev Chowdhury Hamilton Jul 27, 2017
956 Naweed Chandhury Hamilton Jul 27, 2017
955 Donna Lozecky Hamilton Jul 27, 2017
954 Gary Josefik Hamilton Jul 27, 2017
953 Katie Cooper Hamilton Jul 27, 2017
952 cortnee pope Hamilton Jul 27, 2017
951 Danielle Mackenzie Welland Jul 27, 2017
950 Colleen Wyhode Hamilton Jul 27, 2017
949 Jazmine Groves Brantford Jul 27, 2017
948 cheryl groves Brantford Jul 27, 2017
947 Chery Hetherington Hamilton Jul 27, 2017
946 Paul Peacock St. Catharines Jul 27, 2017
945 Greg Eckhardt St. Catharines Jul 27, 2017
944 John Taylor Stoney Creek Jul 27, 2017
943 Ralph Martinello stoney creek Jul 27, 2017
942 Felicia J Hamilton Jul 27, 2017
941 Patrick Tomaszewcki Hamilton Jul 27, 2017
940 Dean Paprocki Hamilton Jul 27, 2017
939 Chris Blunsdon Hamilton Jul 27, 2017
938 Robert Blunsdon Hamilton Jul 27, 2017
937 Stuart Robertson Oakville Jul 27, 2017
936 Curtis Bona Cambridge Jul 27, 2017
935 Conor Cymbalski Cambridge Jul 27, 2017
934 John Cynbalski Oakville Jul 27, 2017
933 William Swindells Hamilton Jul 27, 2017
932 Susan Weir-Swindells Hamilton Jul 27, 2017
931 Kiel Howarth Burlington Jul 27, 2017
930 Chris Kelly Binbrook Jul 27, 2017
929 Olivia Marshall Binbrook Jul 27, 2017
928 Rebecca Grectt St. Thomas Jul 27, 2017
927 Phil Richardson Dundas Jul 27, 2017
926 Akilah Alexander Hamilton Jul 27, 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.