The Ontario Northland Transportation Commission - Backgrounder
The Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) is a Crown agency of the Province of Ontario, with headquarters in North Bay. There has been government-subsidized rail service in northeastern Ontario since 1902, when the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway was incorporated.
Over the last nine years, Ontario government funding to the ONTC has increased by 274 per cent from $27.6 million in 2003 to an estimated $103.2 million this year.
Currently the ONTC provides:
- freight rail services between North Bay and Moosonee
- passenger and parcel bus service between Toronto and Hearst
- passenger train service between Toronto and Moosonee
- ferry service between Moosonee and Moose Factory
- telecommunications services to communities across northeastern Ontario
- rail car refurbishment
The Moosonee-Moose Factory ferry service will continue to operate on a contracted basis through the Owen Sound Transportation Company.
Polar Bear Express passenger and freight rail services between Cochrane and Moosonee will continue to receive government funding to ensure dependable, affordable year-round ground transportation between Cochrane and the James Bay coast.
The recent report of the Commission on the Reform of Ontario's Public Services stated that, "Studies and reviews conducted over the past several years in Ontario and other provinces illustrate how its [the ONTC] services could be provided more effectively and efficiently through targeted private-sector involvement. These steps should be undertaken."
ONTC Chairman Ted Hargreaves will chair the interim board, composed of:
- Philip Howell, CEO of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario
- Mahmood Nanji, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation
- Johnathan Weisstub, Head of New Partnerships, Infrastructure Ontario
- Greg Percy, Vice President, Operations, Metrolinx