TTC could be declared essential service by April

CTV Toronto has learned that the TTC could be made an essential service as early as April 1, which could strip transit workers' right to legally strike.

Sources tell CTV Toronto's Queen's Park bureau that the Ontario government has taken the first step in the legislative process.

A letter has been sent from the Minister of Labour to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, informing the mayor that the government has contacted three TTC unions to begin discussions about the declaration.

Phone calls were made Friday by provincial officials to the Amalgamated Transit Union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the Canadian Union of Public Employees to invite them to a meeting about the change.

MPPs are set to return to Queen's Park on Feb. 22, meaning the legislation could be enacted before the current TTC contracts expire on March 31.

Premier Dalton McGuinty has indicated that he is willing to work with Ford on the essential declaration.