TORONTO, March 21, 2016 /CNW/ - On February 25, 2015 Bill S221 was assented to the Criminal Code of Canada and section 269 was amended so that in the event a transit operator is assaulted while performing their duties, a stricter sentence will be imposed upon the assailant. Up to 10 years for an indictable offence or 18 months on a summary conviction. The change in the law has had no effect on the number of assaults on bus drivers that occur on a daily basis across Canada.
It is unacceptable for even one of our members (Amalgamated Transit Union) to be assaulted while at work. Due to the nature of Public Transportation most assailants are able to flee the scene and escape justice. Those that are apprehended are not sentenced to the full measure of the law.
The logical next step is structural changes to the buses. Specifically the operator workstation, to ensure that these incidents don't happen in the first place. Commercial pilots and train operators are provided with enclosed workstations and yet bus operators are left out in the open susceptible to heinous attacks.
ATU Canada supports protecting bus operators from the risk of assault by requiring in all new vehicles and vehicles in revenue service – transparent partition enclosures around the bus operator seating area capable of withstanding gunfire and a door or window (at least the same size as the passenger emergency window) to the left of the operator seating area allowing for safe and rapid emergency egress and a direct connection to local law enforcement, i.e. a "panic button."
SOURCE ATU Canada
For further information: Paul Thorp, President, ATU Canada, Bus:416-679-8846, www.atucanada.ca