Canada’s three biggest transit agencies urge Federal Government to unlock next wave of funding for public transit

March 19, 2024

Toronto, Montreal and Metro Vancouver’s transit agencies have joined in an urgent appeal to the Government of Canada to accelerate the launch of the promised Permanent Transit Fund (PTF) by two years, to 2024, in response to exploding population growth and increasing financial pressures for the country’s three largest transit systems.

In a joint Federal Budget Submission, TransLink, Société de transport de Montréal (STM), and Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) are calling for the federal government to “advance the commitment of funding under the new federal Permanent Transit Fund by early 2024, instead of 2026, to enable critical projects and programs to advance and support long term capital planning.” The full budget submission can be accessed here.

Public transit in Canada’s three largest metropolitan areas represents critical national infrastructure, an essential service that keeps our cities moving, working, and thriving. Some of Canada’s most pressing current challenges – climate change, housing affordability, immigrant settlement, innovation – require vibrant, successful public transit systems.  

Together the STM, TTC and TransLink in 2022:

  • Generated approximately 60% of Canada’s transit ridership;
  • Enabled mobility at the centre of regions that are home to 1 out of every 3 Canadians; and
  • Served the core of regional economies that generated 40% of Canada’s national GDP.

In the joint submission, the transit agencies outline significant challenges they face due to aging infrastructure, an outdated funding model that relies on regressive sources such as transit fares and property taxes, and the exceptional ridership growth forecasted for the coming decades. With approximately 2.35 million new residents expected before 2050 in the three cities, immediate and sustained investment in transit operations, state of good repair and building capacity is essential to prepare for this growth.

In addition to accelerating delivery of the PTF, the submission also requests that the Government permanently double the Canadian Communities Building Fund (CCBF) as a proven predictable funding stream for municipal infrastructure needs, and establish a forum for ongoing tri-partite engagement with all orders of government on the development of a sustainable, long-term funding model for public transit that considers the full capital and operating costs of providing high quality transit services.

The transit agencies are warning that if the Government fails to deliver new funding for urban transit systems in the 2024/2025 budget, it will put in jeopardy new transit-oriented developments and reduce access to affordable housing that all three cities are working to deliver with their provincial and federal government partners.    


Rick Leary, CEO, Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) –

“A strong public transit system is fundamental to meeting our affordability and climate action goals. With the City of Toronto committing hundreds of millions of dollars to move forward with the busway to Scarborough and the east-end transit corridor, and the Government of Ontario committing to invest with us in expanding our subway system, it is time for the Government of Canada to renew its commitment by taking the actions the TTC and other transit agencies have outlined in this budget submission.”

Marie-Claude Léonard, CEO, Société de transport de Montréal (STM) –

“It is unimaginable that we would cut transit services or delay critical repairs and replacement of our aging transit infrastructure due to federal inaction – especially in light of our rapidly growing population and the urgent need to provide sustainable transportation for new affordable housing developments. The STM requires almost $14 billion in investment from all levels of government to keep our system running and ready to accommodate ridership growth. We cannot afford to wait another two years to access the Permanent Transit Fund.”

Kevin Quinn, CEO, TransLink –

“Just last year, Metro Vancouver’s population grew by 90,000 people – which was nearly double the projected growth for our region. As our population grows it’s imperative that our transit system expands as well. A federal funding commitment is urgently needed to help us meet the needs of our growing region through our ten-year Access for Everyone plan.”

More information:

PDF Link to submission

Media contacts:

TransLink Media Relations