Frontline TTC workers didn't receive vigilance notice: union
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Friday, August 12, 2016 8:24AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 12, 2016 4:56PM EDT
The head of a union that represents TTC workers says his members did not receive a warning to be on alert prior to a terrorism suspect being killed in a police takedown in Strathroy.
TTC Spokesperson Brad Ross previously said that the transit agency had issued a “See something, say something” vigilance notice to all staff after being made aware of a non-specific threat on Wednesday morning but on Friday ATU Local 113 President Bob Kinnear told CP24 that front-line workers were not included in the correspondence.
Rather, Kinnear said that an email memo was sent to supervisory staff only.
“Mr. Ross communicated publicly that a memo had been sent to all employees about the heightened vigilance. That did not occur. I have spoken with dozens of members that got absolutely no information on the day in question,” Kinnear said. “We are not suggesting that the TTC should have sent a memo out to 14,000 people but at the very least the subway operations and station collectors should have been made aware that there was a heightened threat and to use vigilance.”
On Thursday Ross said that the alert that was issued by the TTC did not make any reference to a specific threat but did remind all workers to be vigilant.
In a statement issued to CP24 on Friday, however, Ross said that a memo was sent shortly before 3 p.m.
“It’s important to remember, that at no time was the TTC a terrorist target. We’ll have a look at how the memo was cascaded and see where improvements can be made, generally, but not receiving the memo immediately did not put anyone at risk,” Ross said.
Ross told CP24 that the memo that was sent out to some employees was not “specific to the RCMP investigation” and instead was just a “reminder” to always be vigilant.
Regardless, Kinnear said that the fact that many TTC operators did not receive the warning is proof that there are “missing links in the TTC communications network” that need to be addressed.
“It is very concerning for us,” he said. “Particularly with the subway. The subway systems across the country are probably the most vulnerable (to an attack).”
The TTC wasn’t the only Toronto organization to be alerted to a potential terror threat on Wednesday.
Both Metrolinx and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority also received similar warnings.
The warnings came hours before known Islamic State sympathizer Aaron Driver was killed after being confronted by police while travelling in the back seat of a taxi.
RCMP have said that when officers pulled over the cab and confronted Driver, an improvised explosive device detonated, injuring the cabbie.
Driver was then killed in the ensuing interaction with police, either through gunfire or through injuries sustained in the initial explosion.
It is not known what Driver's intended target was.