Ontario Increases Transit Support for York Region
March 5, 2021
York Region – Ontario is providing $16,719,831 in funding to help York Region address the financial impacts on its transit system from the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding is in addition to the $2 billion previously committed by Ontario and the federal government through the Safe Restart Agreement to help municipalities continue to deliver critical transit services. During the peak of the pandemic, ridership dropped up to 90% of normal levels for some of Ontario’s transit systems, which resulted in significant financial impacts for municipalities.
"Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been hearing from individuals and families here in Vaughan-Woodbridge about the need for affordable, safer and more reliable public transit said Michael Tibollo, MPP for Vaughan-Woodbridge. This investment will help us in getting more people back to work, and access to a transit system for the future that all of us can depend on for generations to come."
The additional $150 million in provincial funding means that there is a total of $650 million in funding still available to municipalities up to December 31, 2021, with extensions to December 2022 granted on a case-by-case basis. In addition, Ontario is calling on the federal government to match the additional funding announced today to help ensure municipal financial needs continue to be met.
“We heard from municipalities and we are responding to their need for more support as COVID-19 continues to result in lost revenue and additional costs for transit systems,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “Transit operators have done an incredible job keeping transit operating during this challenging time, and this support will help ensure there is reliable transportation for people can get to work or pick up essential items.”
As part of the Safe Restart Agreement funding, municipalities need to work with the province to explore options to ensure local transit is safe, sustainable, affordable and integrated, both during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
To support this work, Ontario is allowing municipalities to use Safe Restart Agreement funding towards new initiatives to make it easier and more affordable to travel between different transit systems, like adding capacity for on-demand microtransit and increasing fare and service integration across the region.
“We are committed to supporting our municipal partners in their mission to build back transit ridership when we come out of this pandemic,” said Associate Minister Kinga Surma. “We recognize there’s an opportunity now to work with our partners to ensure transit is safe, sustainable and affordable, both during COVID-19 and as we begin to recover.”
“Public transit is critical in helping ensure members of the community can get to where they need to go and in supporting York Region’s economic recovery. This additional funding of over $16 million will help York Region continue to provide safe and reliable public transit to members of our community now and in the future.”
Christine Elliott, MPP for Newmarket-Aurora
"A strong public transit system lies at the heart of our community, helping essential workers and students get to work and school safely during COVID-19. That is why I am happy to announce that the government is providing an additional $16,719,831 in funding to public transit systems in York Region. With this funding, we can continue to make public transit in Markham-Thornhill safer, faster, and more affordable."
Logan Kanapathi, MPP for Markham-Thornhill
“We are committed to investing in transit to ensure it remains safe and services our community during the pandemic and beyond. This funding will help ensure our residents can continue to have safe and reliable transit.”
Stephen Lecce, MPP for King-Vaughan.
“As part of the federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement, I am pleased that the Municipality of York Region will be receiving an additional $16,719,831 to recognize the ongoing impact COVID-19 is having on transit systems and ridership. Transit operators have done an incredible job ensuring that residents of Markham-Unionville have safe and reliable transit service during the outbreak and we are committed to supporting transit ridership across York Region.”
Billy Pang, MPP for Markham-Unionville
"The financial challenges of the pandemic have been difficult for every municipality, including York Region. I am very happy to hear that our government is investing an additional $16,719,831 to support public transit in our community during this difficult time. This is a very exciting announcement for the residents of my riding, and all of York Region who depend on these critical services."
Michael Parsa, MPP for Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill.
"Prior to the pandemic, the province introduced a variety of initiatives to ensure a much more mobile series of transportation systems across the province, especially in our most dense communities. This additional funding investment demonstrates our commitment, and I'm particularly happy for the area I represent. Transit operators across Ontario have done an incredible job ensuring that people who need to get around, including our frontline workers, have safe and reliable transit service during the outbreak."
Daisy Wai, MPP for Richmond Hill.
“On behalf of York Regional Council and The Regional Municipality of York I thank the provincial government for their sustained support of residents and communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As more businesses and public spaces begin to open across York Region, more residents will be turning to transit to safely travel to-and-from work and other destinations. This funding will ensure safe and reliable transit options that support the economic vitality of our communities.”
Wayne Emmerson, Chairman and CEO, The Regional Municipality of York.
§ The federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement is providing up to a total $4 billion in emergency funding to help Ontario’s municipalities deliver critical services.
§ The first phase of Safe Restart funding flowed $700 million to municipalities in 2020 and to date $1.5 billion funding has been allocated.