Backgrounder: The Governments of Canada and Ontario make the largest investment in public transit in Canadian history


Image of maps for the Ontario line, Eglington Crosstown West Extension, Yonge North Subway Extension and the Scarborough Subway Extension.
Maps for the Ontario line, Eglington Crosstown West Extension, Yonge North Subway Extension and the Scarborough Subway Extension.

All three orders of government are moving rapidly to support the recovery from COVID-19. Building on historic investments in public transit, today the Government of Canada announced $10.4 billion in federal funding for four public transit projects in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA):

  • Ontario Line
  • Eglinton Crosstown West Extension
  • Yonge North Subway Extension (federal contribution amount subject to Treasury Board approval)
  • Scarborough Subway Extension

Building today for the future Canadians deserve

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we use public transit but has not made it any less important. Public transit continues to provide reliable, fast, affordable and clean ways for people to get around. These benefits are felt the most by disadvantaged groups for whom car travel isn’t accessible. Essential workers have public transit to get to where they are needed in grocery stores, hospitals and care facilities.

In addition to providing an essential service, Canada’s transit systems are key economic drivers, generating hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions in economic benefits, starting from the planning stage all the way through construction and operation. Investments in public transit, particularly in electrification, are critical to Canada’s meeting its climate targets since the transportation sector accounts for about 25 percent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.

An investment in public transit infrastructure today is an investment in the future of Canada. It will spur economic growth and job creation immediately and over the course of construction, helping our economy recover and ensuring that Canada builds the infrastructure it needs for the future Canadians deserve.

Accelerating job-creating projects across the GTA

The Ontario Line

The Ontario Line will bring rapid transit from Exhibition Place in the west through

downtown and will end at the Ontario Science Centre, alleviating overcrowding on Line 1 and providing connections to Line 1, Line 2, the future Eglinton Crosstown LRT, and GO Transit. In addition to contributing to our economic recovery and to building sustainable and inclusive communities, the 15.6 kilometre system will create approximately 4,500 jobs per year during the construction period. Once built, an end-to-end commute on the Ontario Line is expected to take 30 minutes. The project is expected to reduce GHG emissions by 14,000 tonnes per year and result in 28,000 fewer cars on the road daily.. The Government of Canada will contribute up to approximately $4.02 billion towards the Ontario Line project.

The Eglinton Crosstown

The Eglinton Crosstown West Extension will extend the future Line 5 – Eglinton west from Mount Dennis to Renforth Gateway in Mississauga, creating a continuous rapid transit connection and mobility options for residents along the Eglinton Avenue corridor between Scarborough and Mississauga. In addition to creating approximately 4,600 jobs per year during the construction period, the 9.2 kilometre extension will improve transit connectivity, provide congestion relief, support increased transit mode share, and reduce dependency on private vehicles for transportation along the corridor. It is also expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 39,000 tonnes per year. The Government of Canada will contribute up to approximately $1.87 billion towards the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension project.

The Yonge North Subway Extension

The Yonge North Subway Extension will transform the commute in York Region, North York and beyond by extending the TTC’s Line 1 service north from Finch Station to Vaughan, Markham and Richmond Hill, adding up to four stations along an extension of roughly 8 kilometres. The project will connect to the Richmond Hill GO Train and Highway 407 GO bus service as well as local bus routes at every station. Once built, the Yonge North Subway Extension will reduce the time it takes to travel from the Yonge Street and Langstaff Road area to downtown Toronto by as much as 22 minutes - going from 70 minutes today to 48 minutes with the extension. This project is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4,800 tonnes per year. Federal funding of up to $2.24 billion for the Yonge North Subway Extension is subject to submission of updated project information for formal review and Treasury Board approval.

The Scarborough Subway Extension

The Scarborough Subway Extension will feature three new stations that will extend Line 2 - Bloor-Danforth at Kennedy Station to Sheppard Avenue East, with proposed stations at Lawrence Avenue East, Scarborough Centre and Sheppard Avenue East. The 7.8 kilometre extension will improve transit connections between Scarborough and other rapid transit systems and replace the current Scarborough rapid transit system, which will reach the end of its useful life in 2023. This project will create approximately 3,000 jobs per year during the construction period. It is also expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10,000 tonnes per year. The Government of Canada will contribute up to approximately $2.26 billion towards the Scarborough Subway Extension project.

Ensuring every taxpayer dollar drives key outcomes

The government understands that every taxpayer dollar invested in public transit must have multiple benefits including creating good jobs, building more equitable and inclusive communities, improving the quality of life for all, and tackling climate change. That is why the federal government’s funding is dependent on satisfying conditions including:

  • Undergoing a substantive environmental review and approval process including an analysis of impacts on the environment (eg, environmentally sensitive areas, species and habitat, etc) and a description of mitigation measures;
  • Undergoing a federal climate lens including assessment of greenhouse gas emissions and how the proponent will drive down emissions (eg low carbon construction material, use of best construction practices, reducing emissions from operations, etc) and be resilient to the impacts of climate change;
  • Conditions to building affordable housing near transit oriented development as is feasible, in line with City of Toronto objectives, and report publicly on them;
  • Incorporate barrier-free design elements for persons with disabilities;
  • Engagement processes that enable early community involvement inclusive of local communities and diverse voices and stakeholders, and opportunities to access decision-makers and influence decisions;
  • Inclusive community consultation processes that address neighbourhood and community improvements;
  • Measures to maximize high quality jobs and benefits for communities including through mechanisms such as Community Benefit Agreements with hiring targets of at least 10% for historically disadvantaged communities, equity-seeking groups, Black, Indigenous and people of colour, with possible higher targets based on an assessment of local representation;
  • Ensuring contractors have in place an anti-racism strategy;
  • Mitigating the negative impacts of project construction and operations and report on these measures (eg noise mitigation for communities).
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