Canada to fund Ontario’s four priority transit projects with C$10.4 billion

May 12, 2021
The federal government and province have reached an agreement that will see Canada providing up to 40 percent of the capital costs associated with the four subway projects.

A deal several years in the making became a reality on May 11 when leaders from Canada’s federal government joined Ontario provincial and municipal officials to announce an agreement concerning the federal share of the C$26.8 billion (US$22.12 billion) for Ontario’s four priority transit projects.

Canada has committed to covering up to 40 percent of the capital costs of the Ontario Line, a three-stop Scarborough Subway Extension, the Yonge North Subway Extension and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension. The up to C$10.4 billion (US$8.58 billion) in funding from the federal government will be combined with the up to C$17 billion (US$14.04 billion) Ontario previously committed toward the four subway projects.

"Public transit is at the heart of a clean, inclusive recovery. Today we are making the largest investment in public transit in the [Greater Toronto Area’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," said Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherin McKenna.

Ontario Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney noted the importance of finalizing the funding commitment for the projects between the federal and provincial governments because the province intends to finalize the first tunneling contracts for two of the projects in a matter of days. In March, Strabag and West End Connectors were named as the First Negotiations Proponents to the Scarborough Subway Extension and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension projects.

“By having the federal government come to the table in this historic partnership, we are moving full steam ahead on building these projects that our residents need today and for future generations,” said Minister Mulroney.

In late 2019, the city of Toronto and province of Ontario reached an agreement on the C$28.5 billion (US$23.52 billion) transit expansion plan with the four subway projects. Toronto finalized the agreement with the province in early 2020, which was followed by a separate agreement between the province and the York Region through the delivery of the Yonge North Subway Extension.

"Transit expansion is critical to the future of our city,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “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.”

The federal government noted while the COVID-19 pandemic changed how public transit is used, the pandemic has “not made it any less important.”

"Transportation continues to be the predominate issue for York Region residents,” said Chairman and CEO of the Regional Municipality of York Wayne Emmerson. “The TTC 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.”

Marco D’Angelo, president of the Canadian Urban Transit Association, issued a statement welcoming the funding.

“Building public transit makes our cities move better, creates family-supporting jobs and lowers emissions,” said D’Angelo. “The federal government’s support of these crucial provincial projects will make the Toronto area less congested and make transit more accessible to more people.”

Earlier in the day, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a press briefing the federal government also planned to support rapid transit in Hamilton. The Hamilton Light-Rail Project (LRT) was originally cancelled in 2019 due to rising costs but re-entered the province’s priority transit sphere earlier this year. The province included it with the four subway projects as part of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program process. Minister McKenna teased additional transit announcements would be coming throughout the week. She told attendees of a virtual press conference announcing funding for the four subway projects that the federal funding is designated for shovel-ready projects and to “stay tuned.”

Based on May 11, 2021, conversion rate of C$1 = US$0.83

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.