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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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