NDP MPP Guy Bourgouin (Mushkegowuk—James Bay) issued this statement in response to the government’s announcement on new snow clearance standards for Highways 11 and 17:
“The government’s announcement of a new standard for snow clearance on Highways 11 and 17 is a step in the right direction, but this change does not go far enough to ensure strong road safety standards and prevent tragic accidents for people in northern Ontario.
Northern Ontarians have long been waiting for our highways to be treated with the same safety considerations as those in the South. Communities in Northern Ontario do not just experience the occasional highway closure; nearly every large snowfall we get—and we get snowfalls frequently—results in road closures and accidents.
The NDP has long been urging the Ford government to reclassify Highways 11 and 17 so they receive the same eight-hour snow clearance standards as the Class 1, 400-series highways in the South.
In 2019, the government voted against my bill to ensure Highways 11 and 17 be cleared within eight hours; in 2021, the government passed an initial stage of my bill, but then let the legislation die on the order paper.
This government must stop dragging its heels when it comes to protecting the safety of Northern Ontarians. It should pass legislation right away that brings Northern highways up to the same safety standards as those in the South.”
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