ONTC Divestment Will Hurt Communication in Northern Ontario

Date published: Wednesday, April 17, 2013
The Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) is once again calling on the Wynne government to halt the divestment of the ONTC. FONOM is increasingly concerned that while the Wynne government is prepared to engage in a dialogue, no commitment to pausing the process during that dialogue has been made.

RFP submissions have been received for Ontera, the region’s telecommunications service, and many stakeholders are concerned that the government may not receive full market value through this RFP process.

The divestment of the provincially owned ONTC has been criticized by a number of stakeholders. The province continues to turn a deaf ear to pleas from private citizens, business owners, and community groups alike for a moratorium on the process and a fair assessment of the ONTC’s economic viability.

With a coverage area of more than 200,000 square kilometers and providing internet, cellular service, and telephone services to remote and hard to reach communities, Ontera is a vital resource for northeastern Ontarians.

A Ministerial Advisory Committee, including representation from northern leaders, has been established by Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle to provide input into the divestment process. FONOM believes that while this committee is a step in the right direction, divestment should be paused during this process.

“This Ministerial Advisory Committee is a positive move, but to be meaningful, the divestment process must be put on hold until after proper consultation has taken place,” Spacek said. “The ONTC is vitally important to Northerners, and privatizing it is not something that should be rushed. We need to be sure that all the key stakeholders have been consulted, before the government makes any decisions. It is our hope the government will listen.”

FONOM continues to reach Ontarians through Facebook, Twitter, and OurOntarioNorth.org to garner and demonstrate public support for maintaining ONTC as a provincially owned resource.

For More Information:

Al Spacek, President, FONOM – 705 335 0001

North Claybelt Community Futures Development Corporation, South Temiskaming Sud Community Futures Development Corporation, Kirkland Lake and District Community Futures Development Corporation; Nordaski Regional Economic Development Corporation; The Venture Centre Community Futures Development Corporation; NECO Community Futures Development Corporation.

www.fonom.org fonom.info@gmail.com

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