Cathy Benjamin-Ostrander Wins Excellence Award
Cathy Benjamin-Ostrander received the Excellence Award at the 2023 CUTA Awards Ceremony.
One of the themes in CUTA’s Transit Vision 2040 is strengthening knowledge and practice so that Canada’s transit industry can more effectively respond to future opportunities and challenges. Cathy illustrates this in many ways. She joined the Women’s Transportation Seminar, Toronto Area Chapter (WTS TAC) upon ratification in 2013 and volunteered to form its Communications Committee. In 2016, she became a director, later elected as Vice-President, and in 2019, became President for an unprecedented four-year term. Beyond her busy career and work with WTS, Cathy joined the Toronto Railway Club (TRC) as a TRC Board Director in 2017, then became TRC’s Second Vice President in 2022 and first Vice President in 2023. In 2024 she will become TRC President, the third woman in this role in TRC’s 92-year history. Canada’s transit and rail sector needs talent, and her leadership in promoting opportunities for women, recent graduates and BIPOC candidates is exemplary support.
Cathy collaborates with industry associations like COMTO, TRC, TRACCS, and the WTS Canadian Education Foundation to enhance transportation inclusivity and education. She has initiated joint professional development and networking events to promote their missions. In 2020, Cathy supported the establishment of a new WTS chapter in Southwestern Ontario, ratified in 2022, by providing WTS TAC resources. As President, she contributed to governance reviews and worked with the Board Nominations Committee to ensure a fair election process. Cathy consistently advocates for Transit Vision 2040, fostering discussions among policymakers, community leaders, and stakeholders to emphasize transit’s role in sustainable urban mobility.
Cathy has had tremendous success in securing sponsorships from Canada’s foremost engineering/construction firms. Sponsors increased, and scholarships grew, including two new scholarships for Indigenous students. Despite COVID-19 at the height of her term, the WTS Mentorship Program grew by more than 100%, she mentored three young professionals and spearheaded very successful virtual conferences.