Our Meeting with Metrolinx
The Ontario Legislature Interns had the pleasure of meeting with Martin Gallagher, Chief Safety Officer at Metrolinx, and his Senior Advisor Jocelyn McCauley. As the Chief Safety Officer, Mr. Gallagher is responsible for the risk assessment and safety oversight of the organization. In addition to his work at Metrolinx, he has chaired the United Nations expert committee on rail safety since 2013. We were also excited to meet Ms. McCauley as she has a special connection to the programme. She used to be a Committee Clerk at the Legislative Assembly and was a former OLIP administrative team member.
During our discussion, we had the opportunity to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on Metrolinx and how the organization has adapted over the past two years. Mr. Gallagher noted that the health and safety of customers and the community has always been a top priority but that the pandemic brought its importance into greater focus. The organization made two decisions to promote those priorities: to not enforce loitering rules, especially for those who may be experiencing homelessness, and to start GOVAXX bus mobile vaccine clinics.
Another issue that Mr. Gallagher has contended with in his role has been railway fatalities. While they are happening less and less, when they occur, they have a large impact on riders, staff, and the broader community. An initiative that was implemented to help combat this issue was mental health and safety training for all Metrolinx employees. When incidents occur, mental health professionals are now made available onsite for employees.
It was very interesting to hear how Metrolinx is looking at the issue of safety and the steps that they have taken to provide a safe environment for riders and the broader community, especially during a pandemic. We also want to give a special thank you for sending us some gear and for taking the time to meet with us. It was a very insightful discussion!