Largest public transit investment in GTA history will create jobs and kickstart the economy

News release

Ottawa, Ontario, May 11, 2021—Public transit is at the heart of a clean, inclusive recovery that restarts our economy and creates good jobs. From construction workers, to transit drivers, to  worker on assembly lines, to the small business owners supporting these projects  – tens of thousands of jobs are created when we invest in public transit. Investing in public transit supports Canadians through the pandemic, positions Canada for a strong recovery and transforms our society for a cleaner, better future.

Cities need good public transit to thrive. People want to live and work near good public transit. It reduces congestion and takes cars off the road. It helps our essential workers get to work, and for many, especially immigrant families, women and youth, it is the only viable option. It also connects residents in historically disadvantaged neighbourhoods to school and work. Cleaner transit also cuts pollution, raises air quality and improves public health. And by electrifying our public transit system, and linking it to cycling and walking paths, we are investing in a critical solution to climate change and helping to drive Canada to net zero emissions by 2050.

The Government of Canada supports strong cities and respects transit decisions made by local decision makers, based on what is best for their communities.

Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, the Hon. Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade and Member of Parliament for Markham-Thornhill, Caroline Mulroney, Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, Kinga Surma, Ontario’s Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA), his Worship John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, his Worship Frank Scarpitti, Mayor of Markham, and Chairman Wayne Emmerson, CEO for the Regional Municipality of York announced, after lengthy negotiations, a historic investment  of $26.8 billion for four shovel-ready public transit projects in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), prioritized by the province, the City of Toronto and York Region:

Scarborough Subway Extension - $5.5 billion
Eglinton Crosstown West - $4.7 billion
Ontario Line - $10.9 billion
Yonge North Subway Extension - $5.6 billion

The federal government is contributing 40% of each project, up to a total of $10.4 billion. Federal funding for the Yonge North Extension is conditional on Treasury Board approval.

This once-in-a-generation public transit investment in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), which represents 20% of Canada’s population and growing, has the third highest transit system ridership in North America. When complete, 6 million people across the GTA will have better access to Toronto services, with public transit routes covering 1,200 kilometres. And with light rail vehicles producing near zero emissions, it is critical  to reducing emissions in the transportation sector and driving Canada to net zero emissions by 2050.

These investments are a key part of our plan to kickstart our economy and create one million jobs. These projects will also create opportunities for businesses across the GTA and Canada, which is good for the region, the province and for Canada.

The federal government understands that every taxpayer dollar invested in public transit must have multiple benefits including creating good jobs, building more equitable and inclusive communities,  and tackling climate change. That is why the federal government’s funding is dependent on satisfying conditions including demonstrating how the investments will drive down emissions and build resilience, substantive environmental reviews, ensuring affordable housing along the line, incorporating accessibility, mitigating local concerns, maximizing benefits for communities including through Community Benefit Agreements, and meeting employment thresholds for underrepresented communities including Black, Indigenous and people of colour, and women.

Transit expansion depends on strong partnerships between the federal government and provinces and municipalities. Support from all orders of government is essential and we look forward to continuing to work together to get shovels in the ground as quickly as possible.

Investing in public transit infrastructure builds strong communities across the country and delivers a better quality of life for  Canadians. The federal government will continue to invest in infrastructure projects that best support our recovery, create good middle class jobs and economic growth, and help us reach our climate targets. Together, we are building  a Canada that is cleaner, more competitive, and more inclusive for generations to come.


“Public transit is at the heart of a clean, inclusive recovery. Today we are making the largest investment in public transit in the GTA’s history - helping to kickstart our economy and create tens of thousands of jobs as part of the Government’s plan to create one million jobs. It will help get cars off the road, and the residents of Canada’s largest community, especially essential workers, women, immigrants and youth, get around in faster, cleaner and cheaper ways. And it will help drive Canada to a net zero emissions future. This historic investment is good for the city, the region and for Canada.”

— The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“Extending the Yonge Line from Finch to Langstaff, will connect our communities across York Region--from students and seniors, to workers and businesses. This is good news for all of Markham, Thornhill, and the region, and will unlock opportunities for years to come. Our government is ready to get shovels in the ground, create jobs and generate inclusive, sustainable growth.”

— The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade and Member of Parliament for Markham—Thornhill

“Transit expansion is critical to the future of our city. It ensures that we are supporting economic recovery post-pandemic, will help create a greener future and represents a substantial contribution to equitable access to our city, jobs, education and much more. I want to thank the federal and provincial governments for working with us to invest in our city and for committing to build up Toronto’s transit system. Today’s announcement is another good example of what we can accomplish when all governments work together towards mutually beneficial goals. This transit funding will be vital in ensuring that Toronto – Canada’s economic engine – will come out of this pandemic stronger and ready to thrive and prosper."

— His Worship, Mayor John Tory

"The merits of the Yonge North Subway Extension are well documented and the Federal Government’s commitment to funding its share of the project is welcome news for existing and future transit riders of York Region and the GTA. The Yonge North Subway Extension to Markham, York Region’s number one transit infrastructure priority, will spur economic recovery, provide greater access to other rapid transit lines, serve urban growth centres and support a sustainable future. With today’s announcement, I am confident we will soon see shovels in the ground.”

— Mayor of Markham, Frank Scarpitti

“Transportation continues to be the predominate issue for York Region residents. The Yonge North Subway Extension to the Richmond Hill / Langstaff Urban Growth Centre is a critical part of both York Region’s transportation system and the transit network of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. An infrastructure project of this magnitude will bring thousands of jobs and support the economic recovery of our communities brought on by a global pandemic. On behalf of York Regional Council and York Region’s 1.2 million residents, we applaud the Government of Canada for their commitment to fund 40% of this vital transportation project. We also thank the Ontario government and all levels of government for support in advancing the delivery of the Yonge North Subway Extension.”

— Wayne Emmerson, Chairman and CEO, The Regional Municipality of York

Quick facts

  • Through the Investing in Canada plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.

  • Since 2015, the government has spent over $13 billion in more than 1,300 public transit projects across Canada. These investments have helped build more than 240 km of new public transit subway and light rail line, purchase over 300 electric buses, and create almost 500 km of active transportation trails, bike and pedestrian lanes and recreational paths.

  • On February 10, the Government of Canada announced a plan for $14.9 billion in new public transit funding over eight years, including $3 billion in ongoing annual transit funding beginning in 2026-27 - from major shovel-ready projects to electric buses to rural transit to cycling and walking paths.

  • Through the Investing in Canada plan, the Government of Canada is already investing $28.7 billion to support public transit projects, including $5 billion available for investment through the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

  • The Government of Canada is investing $2.5 billion over 5 years starting this year, as well as a portion of the $3 billion per year in ongoing funding announced on February 10, to expand transit systems in large urban centres by enabling key, high-readiness major transit projects to advance. It will do this by supporting transit projects entering the construction phase in the near-future, and also helping to plan projects that will be constructed down the road.

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Chantalle Aubertin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

Natasha Tremblay
Press Secretary
Office of the Ontario Minister of Transportation

Communications Branch

Media Relations
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