The fight for locked out Ontario Northland workers has begun at Queen’s Park. The MPP for Temiskaming-Cochrane is demanding answers from the province about why public transportation in the north is being “destroyed”.

John Vanthof says repair workers for the ONTC in Cochrane and North Bay were locked out over the weekend, after the government walked away from the bargaining table. He says first, the government stopped train services, then they cut back bus routes, and now they are strong arming workers. Northerners fought to take the ONTC off of the auction block, and now Vanthof says the province is putting the company on the chopping block.

The Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Michael Gravelle, says the province is committed to transforming the ONTC to ensure sustainable employment, economic growth, and a strong transportation network in the northeast. He says four out of the five business lines of the ONTC are staying in public hands, which he calls a proud moment for the province.

The union has been without a contract since 2013, and is fighting for better job security. Almost 200 employees are affected by the lockout.