UCRU URGES GOVERNMENT TO FINANCIALLY SUPPORT PUBLIC TRANSIT SYSTEMS DURING COVID-19
8 July 2020 Ottawa- Undergraduates of Canadian Research-Intensive Universities (UCRU) is an advocacy organization of U15 schools’ student unions from across Canada. On behalf of over 250,000 undergraduate students and the 9 municipalities they live in, we urge you to financially support our public transit systems. COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on public transit systems which rely on revenues generated from rider fares. Even as public health restrictions lift, and more Canadians return to work, there are health and safety concerns making individuals hesitant to use public transit.
Public transit is a critical service that students and many others rely on for essential activities such as commuting to work, getting groceries and meeting medical needs. The municipalities providing these transit services are a core provider of services for Canadians. Municipalities also offer other essential services such as local health agencies and emergency services. They are a critical part of Canada’s response to COVID-19 and must not be neglected in the government’s distribution of aid.
Across the country, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) estimated that public transit systems have lost $400M per month, accounting for 30-50 percent of the net losses in municipalities. Other sources of revenue, such as recreation facilities and tourism, are similarly affected, leaving municipalities, and their citizens, in a precarious position. In order to effectively support their residents, municipalities must receive emergency operating funding.
UCRU is calling on the federal government to work alongside provincial partners to support our municipalities and the critical services they provide. We support the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ recommendations to provide funding for municipalities. In particular, we are calling on the federal government to collaborate with provincial governments to financially support transit systems in order to maintain critical service levels.
UCRU is an informal coalition of student associations whose mandate is to advocate to the Canadian federal government for an affordable, inclusive and high-calibre undergraduate university education. UCRU represents 9 member institutions across Canada.
Mackenzy Metcalfe Kristin Smith
UCRU Chair UCRU Vice-Chair
 Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association, UPass Survey Data, July 2020.  Federation of Canadian Municipalities. “Protecting vital municipal services.” April 28, 2020. https://data.fcm.ca/documents/resources/reports/protecting-vital-municipal-services.pdf  Ibid.