Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow was endorsed Friday by Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents a majority of workers at the TTC, because she understands public transit.
Chow said she was pleased to be supported by the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents about 200,000 across the country. The ATU Local 113 represents nearly 12,000 TTC workers.
She said they shared vision in building “a system that isn’t starved but has enough funding and revenue to operate reliably and frequently.”
Chow said they also shared the same goals in ensuring the TTC is safe for riders and workers.
“We need to reverse the cuts to TTC, and improve transit service to the pre-pandemic levels,” she said.
Chow, who doesn’t drive, said she honoured workers’ efforts in the daily operation of the transit system as she takes the TTC to commute.
She said she spent time talking to transit workers and listening to their “heroic stories” in making sure riders were safe.
ATU Local 113 President Marvin Alfred said they met with several other candidates who sought the local’s support, but Chow was the “only one candidate who understood really understood public transit.
“The first time we spoke, I feel like she knew issues with TTC as well as I did,” Alfred said. “And she had the vision for how to save it.”
ATU Canada spokesperson Rose Carusone said in a media release the union representing both public and private sectors jointly endorsed Chow as they knew “the tremendous challenges facing the next mayor.”
They shared “the belief that Olivia Chow is the candidate with the vision to build a Toronto for everyone,” she said.
Chow said she believed showing gratitude was important in governance and she hoped that would be reflected in the promised yet provided $235 million pandemic support fund.
“Public transit here in Toronto drives our economy, Toronto is the financial centre in Canada,” she said. “We need operating funds, not just capital.”
Toronto needed reliable and ongoing support from federal and provincial government, but not one-off, Chow said.
“We love the partnership,” she said.
Chow’s rival Brad Bradford said in an announcement on May 25, 2023, that she would not make the city affordable with better deals because she spent her career fighting with the province.
Chow countered she would welcome any announcement from all levels of government that helps Toronto.
Survey results from Mainstreet Research showed Chow led the mayor race with 22 per cent support. The poll interviewed 1,125 Toronto adults on May 16 and May 17, 2023, and it had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 per cent.
The by-election is set to be held on June 26, 2023.