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Public Transit

The Issue

Public Transit

It is no coincidence that some of the most dynamic cities in the world-great places to live that are the engines of their national economies-have some of the best public transit systems. Modern and efficient public transit increases productivity, cuts gridlock and pollution, while connecting people, services and businesses to one another.

Smart investments in transit offer a triple win for Canada - not just economic growth, but more livable communities, and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Local governments own and operate most of Canada's public transit systems and are committed to increasing transit options for Canadians. With a strong federal partner and predictable funding, municipalities of all sizes can make major investments in new transit connections, and renew existing transit networks. The 2016 federal budget responds directly to FCM's request for strong partnership by committing $3.4 billion to fund new public transit projects, as well as the repair and renewal of existing transit infrastructure.

Working in partnership with the municipal sector, the federal government must:

  • Build a long-term funding plan for public transit that meets the needs of Canada's municipalities.
  • Ensure that the funding model for federal contributions provides long-term predictability and respects local governments' fiscal capacity and ability to borrow.
  • Work with local governments to ensure a faster, more streamlined approval process and coordination between federal and provincial/territorial programs for transit investments.

Quick Facts

32 working days

The amount of time the average Canadian commuter spends travelling to and from work.

Source: Statistics Canada, Commuting to Work, 2011 National Household Survey, 2013.


The return to the economy for every dollar invested in transit.

Source: Canadian Urban Transit Association.

$10 billion

The annual amount of productivity lost due to traffic congestion.

Source: Benjamin Dachis, C.D. Howe Institute, Cars, Congestion and Costs: A New Approach to Evaluating Government Infrastructure Investment, 2013.


The growth in public transit ridership in Canada from 2006 to 2012.

Source: Canadian Urban Transit Association.

2.4 million tonnes

The annual reduction in GHG emissions thanks to public transit use, valued at $110 million.

Source: Canadian Urban Transit Association, Measuring Success: The Economic Impact of Transit Investment in Canada, 2010).

Almost 2/3

The reduction in GHG emissions achieved by taking the bus instead of your car.

Source: Canadian Urban Transit Association, Issue Paper 16, 2005.
Page Updated: 26/07/2016