Minister of Transport announces the establishment of the VIA Rail subsidiary to support High Frequency Rail and appoints three founding members to its Board of Directors

News release

December 15, 2022            Ottawa, Ontario                Transport Canada

High Frequency Rail will transform passenger rail service in Canada through the creation of a faster, more frequent, accessible, and sustainable rail service among the major centres of Québec City, Trois-Rivières, Montréal, Ottawa, Peterborough, and Toronto.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced key milestones for the High Frequency Rail project: the establishment of VIA HFR – VIA TGF Inc. (VIA HFR) to manage the development of the new High Frequency Rail project and the appointments of the first three Directors of the Board.

VIA Rail Inc. has incorporated VIA HFR as a new, wholly owned subsidiary and has appointed three founding directors to its Board of Directors: Robert Prichard, Marie-José Nadeau, and Robert Fonberg.  Mr. Prichard will serve as Chair and Ms. Nadeau will serve as Vice Chair.

These three founding directors bring a formidable combination of strategic leadership skills and experience from the private and public sectors, with the capability of building a Crown corporation subsidiary able to deliver on an historic transformation of passenger rail service in Canada. They will immediately focus on the recruitment and selection of VIA HFR’s Chief Executive Officer (currently underway) and the recruitment of additional directors to complete the seven-person board.

VIA HFR will operate at arms-length from VIA Rail and will act as a dedicated project office for the High Frequency Rail project. In the near term, the Government of Canada is leading a procurement process to select a private developer partner for the project. Once this partner is selected, VIA HFR will work with the partner to design and develop the new High Frequency Rail project, in close coordination with VIA Rail. 


“The incorporation of VIA HFR and its role as a dedicated Project Development Office is an important step in the realization of High Frequency Rail in Canada. I thank VIA Rail for its role in creating VIA HFR and its continued support for the project, and I am pleased that Messrs. Prichard and Fonberg and Ms. Nadeau have agreed to serve as the founding members of the Board of Directors. VIA HFR is now well-positioned to lead the biggest Canadian infrastructure project of the century.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

Quick facts

  • VIA HFR will report to Parliament directly through the Minister of Transport.

  • The head office for VIA HFR will be located in Montréal, with another office in Toronto.

  • Recruitment for the CEO of VIA HFR is underway (more information is available here)

  • Ongoing collaboration between the Government of Canada, VIA Rail, VIA HFR, and the private developer partner is the best approach to promoting innovation, designing better service for travellers, improving risk management, and ultimately delivering a world-class High Frequency Rail system for Canadians.

  • High Frequency Rail could transform intercity passenger rail in the Toronto to Québec City corridor through a variety of project outcomes, including, but not limited to:

    • Shortening average journey times between major cities;
    • Providing more frequent departures between major cities;
    • Offering more reliable and improved on-time performance;
    • Adding new services to Peterborough and Trois- Rivières; and
    • Providing a greener rail system and cleaner travel option using electrified technology.
  • Budget 2022 provided Transport Canada and Infrastructure Canada with $396.8 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, to continue advancing key project activities and undertake the procurement phase of the project.

  • The next steps in the High Frequency Rail procurement process include:

    • Request for Qualifications: January 2023
    • Request for Proposals: Late spring 2023

Associated links


Nadine Ramadan
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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