Staff Report #5 – Federal Transit Funding Update

Staff Report #5

February 24, 2021

To All Commissioners

Re: Federal Transit Funding Update


That the report be NOTED and FILED.


On February 10, 2021, the Federal Government announced plans to spend an additional $14.9 billion over the next eight years on public transportation projects across Canada. In terms of spending, the funds will be split as follows:

  • $5.9 billion in short-term funding that will be disbursed on a project-by-project basis beginning in 2021 for shovel ready projects; and
  • $9.0 billion to establish a permanent transit fund of $3 billion per year beginning in 2026.

The intent of the fund is to provide a stable funding source for municipalities to build and expand their transit systems with the four cornerstones of the funding program being to:

  • Help Canadians move around easier and create new jobs by building major public transit systems;
  • Support healthy lifestyles with active transportation projects like building walkways and paths for biking, walking, wheelchairs;
  • Enhance transit systems to reduce pollution and electrify transit including support for 2020 emission vehicles and infrastructure; and
  • Work with rural, remote and Indigenous communities to identify and create transit that meets their needs.

This funding announcement was welcomed by transit agencies across the country given the permanent and ongoing nature of the program. This approach is something that the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) has long been advocating for as it will solve many of the hurdles and delays that municipalities have traditionally faced when attempting to expand their transit systems. This funding will also be critical in supporting initiatives across the country to green transit fleets.

Details with respect to the manner in which the funds will be allocated and the guidelines for use of funds remain outstanding at time of report writing; however the next step in the process for determining same will be a consultation process. The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) and the Ontario Public Transit Association (OPTA) will continue to follow this closely and will participate in consultation opportunities going forward.

Administration will continue to monitor this closely noting a number of projects on the Commission’s 10 Year Capital Budget may meet the eventual criteria for funding, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Highbury Facility replacement – noting this is required in order to continue to grow and green the transit system; and
  • Expansion bus purchases.

Additionally, while not yet included in the Commission’s Capital Budget Program, this funding will assist in greening the transit fleet, both with respect to the buses and the required supporting infrastructure, including retrofits/replacement of facilities.

Administration will continue to participate in consultations through OPTA and CUTA, and will provide updates to the Commission as appropriate.

Recommended by:

Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager