Governance refers to the decision-making structures, processes, policies and practices in place to support the delivery of transit needs to serve the City and Region.


In Toronto, planning, delivery, construction, operations and maintenance of the City’s integrated transit system involves multiple organizations with roles, responsibilities and expertise that sometimes overlaps.

Ontario logo, black and white with a trillium to the left and the word Ontario beside it

  • Establishes direction for guiding growth in the Province through the Provincial Policy Statement and the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
  • Many ministries are involved in implementing the policies related to transit and transportation planning.
  • Created Metrolinx as its regional transit agency in 2006.
  • Contributes to funding Toronto’s transit system.

Metrolinx Logo: Image of 2 tracks in the shape of an 'M' with the word Metrolinx beside it

  • Provincial agency established through the Metrolinx Act, 2006.
  • The regional transit authority for the GTHA with a mandate to provide leadership in coordinating, planning, financing, developing and implementing an integrated multi-modal regional transit network, for the regional area covering 21 municipalities.
  • Operates GO Transit.
  • Governed by a Board with up to 15 members appointed by the Province of Ontario.
  • Sole responsibility project lead for Ontario Line, Line 2 East Extension, Yonge North Subway Extension, and Eglinton Crosstown West Extension.

City of Toronto Logo: image of City Hall to the left (in simple line art), and the word Toronto to the right

  • Local planning authority with responsibility for ensuring Toronto is a livable city. The City has a responsibility over establishing local planning policies through the Official Plan that align with Provincial direction.
  • Finances the capital and operating costs of the TTC to provide local public transportation.
  • The Official Plan policies outline that the City must:
    • Maintain the existing network (e.g. ensure system is in a state of good repair)
    • Improve the existing network (e.g. enhancements such as transit priority measures)
    • Expand the network (e.g. add bike lanes, expand the rapid transit network, etc).
  • The City’s Rapid Transit Evaluation Framework is used to evaluate how transit projects achieve the City’s Official Plan goals.

TTC Logo: the word TTC inside a red upside down triangle with a red rectangle with slanted angles coming out of the bottom of the triangle

  • An agency of the City of Toronto with exclusive authority to operate local passenger transportation.
  • Governed by a 10-person Board, appointed by City Council (four are public members and six are City Councillors).
  • The TTC system makes up nearly 85 per cent of all public transit trips in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Other GTHA Providers

  • Other transit service providers and operators with authority to operate local passenger transportation in the GTHA (e.g., MiWay, York Region Rapid Transit, Brampton Transit, Durham Region Transit.)

In February 12, 2019, the City of Toronto and the Province signed a Terms of Reference that outlines a process for a realignment of transit responsibilities between the parties. The Terms of Reference identifies the following as core discussion areas:

  • The accelerated implementation of priority expansion projects;
  • The integration of transit services across modes and agencies (e.g., TTC, Metrolinx and other 905 transit agencies);
  • The modernization and enhancement of the existing subway system, while ensuring the system is maintained in a state of good repair;
  • The continuity of safe, reliable service to all residents whom depend on it for mobility; and,
  • A long-term sustainable, predictable, funding model for the existing transit system and future transit need.

Current Status

There have been several milestones since the Terms of Reference was established in February 2019, including:

  • Consultation & Engagement: the City and TTC undertook a public information campaign to inform residents about the transit responsibilities review.
  • Province of Ontario announced priority transit projects for Toronto in its 2019 Budget.
  • Province of Ontario introduced its Getting Ontario Moving Act (Bill 107).
  • Toronto-Ontario Transit Partnership Agreement was announced in October.
  • Preliminary Agreement signed by Toronto and Ontario, formalizing series of terms set out in Toronto-Ontario Transit Partnership in February 2020.

Further work and discussions continue under the Terms of Reference to ensure roles and responsibilities among all organizations involved in planning, delivery, operations and maintenance of transit in Toronto continue to meet the needs of Toronto and the region’s evolving needs.

On October 29, 2019, City Council approved moving the Toronto-Ontario Transit Partnership Agreement forward. The key elements of the arrangement between the City and Province include:

  • the City retains ownership of the existing subway network
  • TTC retains operations of the transit network
  • funding from the Province, with the help of the federal government, for almost $30 billion in transit expansion projects
  • the City’s $5 billion – the funding that would have been Toronto’s required share of expansion funds – will go towards state of good repair for the existing transit system and other City priority transit projects
  • the Province and the City agree to work together to get the Province’s priority projects (i.e. Ontario Line, a three-stop Scarborough Subway Extension, the Eglinton Crosstown West LRT, and the Yonge North Subway Extension) built as quickly as possible
  • costs the City has incurred planning transit up to this point will be covered by the Province along with staff costs incurred in building out the four new lines
  • the Province will cover any cost overruns of its four priority projects
  • a commitment to work together as partners to address local issues along these routes so that neighbourhoods are protected and residents listened to when they raise concerns

As part of the partnership, the City and Province have also established a Memorandum of Understanding for Transit Oriented Development (TOD) that establishes several shared objectives and the respective roles and responsibilities of the City and Province for TOD as it relates to the four provincial priority projects and GO Expansion/SmartTrack.

Next Steps

As directed by City Council, the City and Province recently signed the Preliminary Agreement, the first in a series of agreements that result from the Toronto-Ontario Partnership. The City and Province continue to negotiate more detailed agreements to lay out respective roles and responsibilities for the implementation of transit initiatives, and operations and maintenance of the four Provincial transit projects for future Council consideration. City Council will be provided with semi-annual updates on ongoing discussions with the Province, including an update on the transit expansion projects.

On May 2, 2019, the Ontario Government introduced Bill 107, the “Getting Ontario Moving Act”. Bill 107 received Royal Assent on June 6, 2019. The legislation enables a series of changes to how transit is planned, designed and delivered in Toronto, including the ability for the Province to designate rapid transit projects as sole responsibility projects of the Province or Metrolinx.

On July 23, 2019, Ontario Regulation 248/19 “Interim Measures- Upload of Rapid Transit Projects” went into effect. The regulation identifies the Ontario Line, Line 2 East Extension, and Yonge North Subway Extension in Toronto as sole responsibility projects of Metrolinx.

This means that Metrolinx, as sole responsibility party, will lead the planning, development, delivery, and construction of the Ontario Line, Line 2 East Extension, and Yonge North Subway Extension in Toronto. The Eglinton West LRT is also considered a Provincial priority by virtue of being an extension of the provincially-owned Eglinton Crosstown LRT that is currently under construction.

The City of Toronto and TTC will play a critical role as key inputs into the planning, development, delivery and construction of these projects as the local planning authority and future system operator.

More information on multi-billion dollar transit expansion program underway.