Province wants union’s business plan – by Gord Young (North Bay Nugget – November 9, 2012)

The province is willing to consider a ports authority proposal aimed at revitalizing the ONTC as part of its divestment process, says a spokeswoman for Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci.

Laura Blondeau confirmed Thursday the General Chairperson’s Association (CGA), which represents unionized employees at the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, recently met with Bartolucci to discuss the proposal, which calls for the transfer of the Ontario Northland Railway and other ONTC assets to a new ports authority that would be operated under the Canada Marine Act.

Blondeau said the CGA was advised to put together a business plan and participate in the procurement process by submitting the proposal to Infrastructure Ontario. GCA spokesman Brian Stevens could not be reached Thursday for comment.

A request for pre-qualifications closed late last month for the purchase of Ontera, the telecommunications arm of the ONTC and the first division of the Crown agency that’s up for sale.

The province has said there is significant interest in Ontera. And the next step in the process, the issuing of a request for proposals, could come later this month.

The entire process is expected to be completed by early winter, and the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission will review any sale and ensure mandatory service obligations are addressed.

The province has not yet indicated which division will be sold next.

The CGA proposal was unveiled last month during a news conference at North Bay city hall.

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