Editor's note: The following is an open letter to Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre and Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré.
For almost 40 years, there has been a Transport Canada office in northeastern Ontario.
Originally located in Timmins in 1980, this TC office was moved to the Sudbury airport in 1997. There is one other office located in Northern Ontario, which is in Thunder Bay and the Ontario Regional Transport Office is located at 4900 Yonge St. in Toronto.
The Sudbury office services an area that stretches from the Quebec border to the east, James Bay in the north, Wawa to the west and as far south as Parry Sound. By any definition, that’s a very large area.
When it first opened, the Sudbury office provided a full range of services to the aviation industry. It was staffed by 12 dedicated aviation professionals. In addition to the aviation inspectors that are located at the Sudbury office, the Transport Canada rail and dangerous goods inspectors also work out of the Sudbury office.
Instead of having to travel to Toronto to write license exams or get help with applications for air operator licences (or any one of the dozens of forms that are part of the aircraft and personnel licensing process, flight training, maintenance type exams) or to meet with an inspector face to face, all can be done right here at the Sudbury TC office.
The location of the TC office at the Sudbury airport has proven to be a valuable asset to the aviation community across Northeastern Ontario, and is one very important reason for aviation companies to locate in our area.
Therefore, it is with great concern that I note an effort on the part of Transport Canada to slowly and quietly diminish the services provided at the Sudbury office.
For some years now, there has been a concerted effort on the part of Transport Canada to downsize the Sudbury office by not replacing personnel as they retire. As a result, the services that have been previously provide are becoming less available, and access to TC personnel is greatly reduced.
It is my understanding that the lease on the current office is up for renewal in 2020 and that there is no intention to renew the lease, which would effectively close the Sudbury office.
If that happens, Sudbury would lose the remaining high-paying government sector jobs, and the aviation community across Northeastern Ontario would lose a valuable resource and incur greater costs when accessing necessary services from the Toronto office.
Transport Canada must not be allowed to quietly close the Sudbury office.
If we want to continue to diversify the economy of Northern Ontario, the services provided by the Sudbury office are a critical asset in achieving and sustaining that diversification with respect to the aviation industry.
Since saving jobs is the focus of the Liberal party of late, here are some local jobs that our local Liberal MPs can save. All that is required is for the Minister of Transport to make it known that the Sudbury office is not to be closed.
So, what do you say Mr. Lefebvre and Mr. Serré? Will you do everything possible to ensure the Sudbury Transport Canada Office stays open?
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