Ottawa cops still can’t find man who socked OC Transpo driver

The suspect responsible for attacking a city bus driver over a fare dispute in March appears to have gotten away with it, for now.

Cops “cannot identify a suspect at this time,” said Ottawa Police Const. Marc Soucy.

The file is deemed closed, although “if new information arises it can be reopened.”

OC Transpo operator Norm MacDuff was sucker-punched more than once by a passenger on March 26.

The male suspect boarded a bus at South Keys shopping centre around 11:30 p.m. with what the driver believed was an expired transfer, police said.

The passenger took offense to being questioned, responding by socking the driver, who suffered facial injuries.

MacDuff refused to return to work, filing a complaint with the federal government alleging his workplace didn’t meet safety standards outlined in the federal labour code.

A decision by a health and safety officer deeming Transpo an unsafe work environment was released July 4 and applies only to MacDuff.

“As this matter is still under investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further,” a Human Resources and Skills Development Canada spokeswoman told the Sun via e-mail.

The city was instructed to rectify the situation by Aug. 1 and has filed an appeal with the feds.

“The purpose of the appeal is to seek clarification both as to the basis on which the HRSDC officer reached a conclusion that driving a bus constitutes a danger, as well as to the changes to the workplace that the HRSDC believes are necessary,” the city’s manager of litigation and labour relations David White wrote in an e-mail response sent through the media relations department.

“In accordance with the process set out in the Canada Labour Code, there are no fixed timelines for the appeal, though it is to be conducted in an ‘expedited’ fashion,” White wrote.

Timing couldn’t be worse for Transpo, said crime prevention expert David Hyde.

“Rather than kind of embrace the idea and work with the union now to kind of move forward and enhance the protection, they’re appealing the ruling and then within two weeks, there’s another pretty serious sounding assault of another driver,” said Hyde.

Transpo is doing a needs assessment to determine “if there’s any gaps,” in workplace violence programs, said general manager John Manconi.

A safety lens “has to be applied to everything that we do,” he said.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

@ottawasunkroche

http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/08/08/ottawa-cops-still-cant-find-man-who-socked-oc-transpo-driver

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