TTC, City to recognize Transit Worker Assault Awareness Day in Toronto

Tomorrow, the TTC and the City of Toronto will recognize the first Transit Worker Assault Awareness Day.

The day is declared by Mayor John Tory and brings attention to the abuse and assault transit workers, including TTC employees, face every day on the job. The day also promotes solutions to build a harm-free environment.

Earlier this year, in response to increased reports of attacks on employees, the TTC developed an action plan to protect and support workers that includes:

• Integrating social service resources in the Special Constable Service unit to assist under-housed individuals and people in crisis.
• Implementing a customer campaign focused on respecting TTC employees and keeping them safe.
• Delivering an operator-focused campaign reminding employees what to do if confronted by a customer.
• Enhancing protective screens for bus operators and mandating their use.

The action plan builds on already-established TTC programs such as reminding operators not to engage in fare disputes, supporting criminal prosecution against those charged with criminal acts against employees through the Court Advocacy Program, sharing video and photos of attackers with police, and providing trauma supports through the Employee and Family Assistance Program, community mental health programs and peer support programs.

This week, the TTC rolled out an internal campaign to remind employees about the plan as well as other ways they are being supported.

TTC data shows that between 2019 and the first half of 2021, criminal offences against employees have unfortunately increased. In 2019 there were 412 assaults on TTC employees compared to 469 in 2020 and 243 in the first half of 2021. These numbers do not include incidents that may go unreported.

The TTC takes all instances of physical abuse, harassment and threats seriously and will work with police to prosecute to the full extent of the law.

“Throughout the pandemic, TTC drivers have been on the frontlines getting residents to the places they need to go. While working hard to help residents get to and from work, school and around the city, they have been experiencing an increase in assaults on the job. Everyone in our city deserves a healthy and safe work environment – by proclaiming today as Transit Worker Assault Awareness Day we are not only raising awareness around this issue but acknowledging the work that we need to do to bring an end to it. I encourage residents to join us in creating a safe and healthy work environment for our TTC workers,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory.

“All transit workers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. As an essential service, TTC employees have played, and continue to play, a critical role in keeping Toronto moving throughout the pandemic,” said TTC Chair Jaye Robinson. “Our workforce has been here for the City when people needed them most - ensuring that all TTC employees are kept safe is a key priority for the TTC Board and Executive Team.”

“Safety of our employees and customers is paramount to all we do at the TTC. We want our employees to know that we are there for them and we want them to feel comfortable coming forward and telling us about what they are facing on the frontline,” said TTC CEO Rick Leary. “I want to thank all our employees for the excellent work they do. We know that COVID-19 has created some unique situations and made some existing challenges more pronounced – but we are here to help.”
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