Ontario Northland Update on Coronavirus
COVID-19 Update Sept 18, 2020
Passengers Travelling By Bus to Wear Face Coverings At All Times
As of September 22nd, 2020, Ontario Northland will require all passengers to wear a face-covering or non-medical mask at all times when travelling on its service. The health and safety of passengers and employees are our number one priority. Throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have continually adapted our operations and services based on best practices and in consultation with Public Health.
As regions across Ontario are in Stage 3 of the province’s re-opening framework, more people have returned to public transit. With more people riding public transit, physical distancing will become increasingly difficult to maintain.
COVID-19 Update July 17, 2020
Passengers Travelling By Bus to Wear Face Coverings
As of July 24, Ontario Northland will require all passengers to wear a face-covering or non-medical mask when boarding and disembarking a bus, and when walking through the aisle. The health and safety of passengers and employees are our number one priority. Throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have continually adapted our operations and services based on best practices and in consultation with Public Health.
COVID-19 Update June 11, 2020
Polar Bear Express
Ontario Northland will be reinstating the Polar Bear Express passenger train service between Cochrane and Moosonee effective June 25th.
The train will operate twice weekly on Mondays and Thursdays with the same departure times.
There will be limited seating on the Polar Bear Express to ensure physical distancing, passengers are encouraged to reserve their tickets in advance by calling 1-800-461-8558.
COVID-19 Update April 21st, 2020
Modification to Bus Service
As more Ontarians are staying home and limiting travel due to COVID-19, Ontario Northland is balancing its service with current passenger demand.
As of April 26, the frequency of motor coach service on select routes will change, impacting trips to Toronto, Ottawa, North Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and Timmins.
Passengers who have reservations on a cancelled route will be contacted and offered an alternative travel time or be fully reimbursed. To change or confirm your reservation please contact 1-800-461-8558 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Non Medical Masks
We encourage passengers to travel with a non-medical mask or face covering that covers both mouth and nose. Masks can be helpful at times during the journey when it’s difficult to maintain physical distance from others.
COVID-19 Update April 20th, 2020
PBX Service Remains Temporarily Suspended
The health and safety of our passengers, employees and communities we serve is our top priority.
To help contain the spread of COVID-19 the Polar Bear Express passenger train service between Cochrane and Moosonee remains temporarily suspended.
At this time a date for reinstatement has not been determined. Weekly discussions with the Government of Ontario, Ontario Northland, Mushkegowuk Council, Moose Cree First Nation, the Town of Moosonee and the local health authority continue.
Freight service between Cochrane and Moosonee continues as scheduled, ensuring the transportation of essential supplies including food, medical supplies, building materials, fuel and equipment.
Important information regarding the delivery of claims for lien
On April 9, 2020 the Province of Ontario enacted an amendment to emergency regulation O. Reg 73/20 issued under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990, Chapter E. 9, lifting the suspension of the time period to deliver claims for lien during the COVID-19 emergency.
Due to COVID-19 Ontario Northland has closed its facilities, including its Head Office. As a result, in order to facilitate the receipt of claims for lien during the emergency, a Claim for Lien may be served upon Ontario Northland by sending a copy to the following email address: email@example.com
Ontario Northland will receive Claims for Lien electronically via the above email, commencing on April 20, 2020, and will continue to do so until the termination of the declaration of emergency made by the Province of Ontario.
COVID-19 Update April 16th, 2020
Thunder Bay Motor Coach Service Temporarily Postponed
The safety of our passengers, employees and the communities we serve is our top priority. To help contain the spread of COVID-19, we are postponing the expansion of Motor Coach service to Thunder Bay at this time.
Ontario Northland is monitoring the evolving situation and will work with affected communities and our agency partners to establish a new start date.
When service begins, the new route will make transportation easier for communities and passengers in Northwestern Ontario by providing seamless connections from Thunder Bay to Eastern Ontario, including stops in Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury and North Bay with connections to Toronto and Ottawa.
COVID-19 Update April 7th, 2020
PBX passenger train service temporarily suspended
The safety and health of our passengers, employees, customers and communities we serve is our top priority.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Polar Bear Express passenger train service between Cochrane and Moosonee will be suspended, beginning April 7, 2020.
This is a temporary measure due to heightened concern for remote communities that are especially vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19.
The decision to suspend service was made in consultation with the Government of Ontario, Ontario Northland, Mushkegowuk Council, Moose Cree First Nation, Town of Moosonee and the local health authority and will be re-evaluated every two weeks.
Freight service between Cochrane and Moosonee will continue as scheduled, ensuring the transportation of essential supplies including food, medical supplies, building materials, fuel and equipment.
COVID-19 Update March 28th, 2020
In order to manage the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada has new restrictions in place for federally-regulated intercity passenger rail travel in Canada. This includes Ontario Northland’s Polar Bear Express passenger train.
As of March 30, 2020:
- NO traveller, who is symptomatic of COVID-19 will be allowed to board the Polar Bear Express passenger train.
- A health check of all passengers will be conducted before they board the train, based on guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
- The health check requires railway company representatives asking simple health questions, looking for visible signs of illness prior to boarding, and recommending the passenger follow guidance from local health authorities.
- A company is required to deny boarding if the person has been denied boarding by a company or any other carrier in the past 14 days due to a medical reason related to the COVID-19, or if the person is the subject of a provincial or local public health order.
- A company is also required to deny boarding if the person has been denied boarding by a company or any other carrier in the past 14 days due to a medical reason related to the COVID-19, or if the person is the subject of a provincial or local public health order.
- Important: No person should provide answers to the health check or questions in a way that they know to be false or misleading.
For more information on these restrictions view the Government of Canada’s document (pdf)
COVID-19 Update March 25th, 2020
Starting Thursday (March 26), we’re making changes to how we provide some of our services during the COVID-19 outbreak.
For the health and safety of our staff, we are encouraging all customers to purchase bus and train tickets online at www.ontarionorthland.ca.
If you must purchase a ticket in person, we request that you use debit or credit card only and avoid using cash.
Our bus drivers will not accept cash payment at the bus. Customers must purchase their ticket prior to boarding our service. Please note many third party ticket agencies are closed due to COVID-19; please check with Ontario Northland by visiting our website (www.ontarionorthland.ca/station-locator) or calling us at 1-800-461-8558.
You will also notice that we’ve put measures in place at our stations to reinforce social distancing practices to keep everyone safe.
The safety and health of our passengers, employees and communities we serve is our top priority.
As the COVID-19 situation evolves, Ontario Northland will respond accordingly to enhance safety and lower the risk of the infection spreading.
COVID-19 Update March 24th, 2020
Cochrane Station Inn
We have made the difficult decision to temporarily close the Cochrane Station Inn as of Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Our top priority is the safety of our guests, passengers and employees. We will be taking reservations again as soon as we can and will be in touch with updates through our website and social media.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and look forward to being of service to you in the future. Please note that the Customer Service counter at the Cochrane Station remains open for Bus Parcel Express and Ticketing services.
COVID-19 Update March 20th, 2020
Polar Bear Express
Ontario Northland is temporarily reducing its service for the Polar Bear Express passenger train following a discussion with community leaders. The train will operate two days per week on Mondays and Thursdays, effective March 26, until further notice. There will be no changes to departure and arrival times.
Freight service between Cochrane and Moosonee will continue as scheduled Tuesday and Friday, ensuring the transportation of essential supplies including food, medical supplies, building materials, fuel and equipment.
Motor Coach Service
Effective Wednesday, March 25, Ontario Northland will temporarily reduce the frequency of its motor coach service on routes that are serviced more than once daily.
We understand that the communities we serve depend on us to travel and ship parcels. Our team is committed to providing a reliable and sustainable level of service, and we will continue to monitor ridership levels to help ensure the safety of our passengers.
Up-to-date information on routes and schedules is available on our website: www.ontarionorthland.ca
COVID-19 Update March 18th, 2020
The health and safety of our passengers is Ontario Northland’s first priority. To help lower the risk of spreading COVID-19, the Polar Bear Express dining car service will not be in service as of March 19, 2020.
Complimentary water will be provided to passengers at the ticket counters in Cochrane and Moosonee before boarding.
All passengers travelling on the Polar Bear Express passenger train are asked to bring their own non-alcoholic beverages and snacks as no food service will be available enroute.
We recommend you plan accordingly.
This is an unprecedented situation for everyone and we would like to thank our passengers and parcel customers for your patience and understanding.
COVID-19 Update March 16th, 2020
As Ontario Northland passengers, customers and employees, your safety has always been and remains our number one priority. We want to provide you with information regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and what Ontario Northland is doing in response.
A Pandemic Response Committee has been formed at Ontario Northland, ensuring that our COVID-19 preparedness and protocols are aligned with current public health authorities and Transport Canada’s recommendations. From the beginning of the coronavirus, we have been in contact with other transportation agencies in the Province to ensure we are aware of and aligned with guidance regarding public transportation. We have increased our disinfecting practices for all passenger touch areas, including heavy-duty cleaning of motor coaches and passenger rail coaches in addition to existing infection control practices such as hand sanitizer availability.
It is all of our responsibility to work together to reduce the spread of infection. We encourage those who can, to practice social distancing measures (including avoiding crowds), wash hands with soap and water, cough into elbows and to stay home and contact your doctor or local health unit if you exhibit symptoms associated with COVID-19.
To help you continue to travel with ease, we will be allowing passengers who made a reservation between March 3rd, 2020 and March 31st, 2020 the ability to change their reservation without any fees, up to two hours prior to ticket expiry (date and time of original scheduled travel). The expiry of 10 trip purchases will be extended to ensure full use of tickets. If you are feeling unwell, please reschedule your ticket and travel at a later date by contacting Customer Service at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1-800-461-8558.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk associated with coronavirus as low for Canada. We recognize that this is an evolving issue and we are committed to providing you with up-to-date information as it becomes available.
It’s important to consume information from trusted, credible sources. The best place to get the most accurate and up-to-date information for Ontarians is by visiting the Ontario Ministry of Health's website www.health.gov.on.ca or Public Health Agency of Canada regarding the outbreak and information on symptoms, treatment, prevention and risk www.canada.ca
On behalf of all of us at Ontario Northland, we value your business and remain fully committed to your safety.
The best way to protect yourself is through prevention.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Sneeze and cough into your sleeve
- Avoid touching your face
- Avoid contact with people who are sick
- Self-Isolate if you feel unwell
- Ontario Ministry of Health
- Public Health Agency of Canada
- Public Health Agency of Ontario
- World Health Organization
- Government of Canada Travel Advice (COVID-19)