OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 30, 2014) - Unanimous support from all political parties in the House of Commons last night pushed forward legislation on transit operator safety. Bill S-221 would amend the Criminal Code to require courts to consider it an aggravating circumstance for the purpose of sentencing if the victim of an assault is a public transit operator engaged in the performance of his or her duty.

The legislation has received ongoing support from the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) and other transit groups since being tabled in May this year. Voted at 2nd reading with unanimous support from parliamentarians, the bill will now be sent to committee for study.

"We are pleased to see that the coordinated efforts of ATU, UNIFOR, and CUTA are bringing us one step closer to passing this important bill, which is backed by the entire transit industry" says Michael Roschlau, President and CEO of CUTA. He adds "this bill has progressed more quickly through the legislative process than any other similar bill introduced in the past decade."

"Bill S-221 has the full support of the B.C. Associations of Chiefs of Police and the Unions involved including UNIFOR" said Neil Dubord, Chief Officer of Metro Vancouver Transit Police. "As Victor Hugo once said" adds Dubord "Every idea has its time" and the time is right for Bill S-221 for three very compelling reasons: Protection of public transit operators; Public Safety; and the trust and confidence of passengers using public transportation. "

The bill will now make its way to the Standing Committee of Justice and Human Rights, where it will have 60 days to report back to Parliament before receiving final approval in the House.

It will be imperative for Bill S-221 not to be delayed at any point in the process as it runs the chance of being discontinued pending the timing of the 2015 federal election.

About CUTA

CUTA is the collective and influential voice of public transportation in Canada, dedicated to being at the centre of urban mobility issues with all orders of government, and delivering the highest value to its members and the communities they serve. CUTA is the national association representing public transit systems, suppliers to the industry, government agencies, individuals and related organizations in Canada.

Contact Information:

Erin Brophy
Manager, Marketing and Communications