Unanimous support from all political parties in the House of Commons 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 their duty.
The legislation received ongoing support from the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) and other transit groups since being tabled in May this year. Voted at second 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/CEO of CUTA. "This bill has progressed more quickly through the legislative process than any other similar bill introduced in the past decade."
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.