OTTAWA, June 25, 2015 /CNW/ - For 3 years now, the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE) has been pressing Parks Canada to deliver on its responsibility to upgrade and modernize infrastructure on Canada's three major canal systems - TSW, Rideau and Chambly. The June 19th announcement to spend $285 million on capital in the Trent-Severn system is important and critical to the long term viability of this important tourist asset, watershed and hydroelectric power source.
Despite this excellent investment, there is still a long way to go before historic under investment in our canal assets are repaired. Internal Parks Canada studies report that the three canal systems are currently underinvested by more than $1 billion. But this is an important start and we applaud the government for recognizing its obligations.
UCTE continues to work with all stakeholders in the system, including local town and municipal councils, tourist operators and the Members of Parliament along the system, to promote capital investment and new operating and funding models for the canals. We will carry on these efforts until such time as the infrastructure is in top shape and the governance and human resource management models are appropriate to the importance of these historic and strategic infrastructure assets.
"UCTE members are the lifeblood of the canal system. They are the lockmasters and the canal operators that perform multiple tasks including watershed management, interpretation, repairs and upgrades. These essential seasonal jobs have been under attack by cut-backs in the past few years," said Christine Collins, UCTE National President. "With this new government capital investment, we are confident that there will be a corresponding commitment to human investment. Without the people that make canals function, no amount of capital investment will be sufficient."
The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees, a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, represents the majority of workers on Canada's canal systems.
SOURCE Union of Canadian Transportation Employees
For further information: Lira Buschman, Communications & Special Projects Officer, Christine Collins, UCTE National President, 613-238-4003