“There is an urgent need for leadership, so let us not miss the bus this time. Let us not pass the buck and say that public transit is not in the jurisdiction of the federal government. Let us take the lead.” —Olivia Chow, MP

On September 30, 2011, Transport Critic Olivia Chow stood up in Parliament and introduced Bill C-305, a National Public Transit Strategy. The first of its kind in Canada, it tackled the growing problem of a fragmented and inconsistent approach to public transit planning across the country.

On September 19, 2012, Bill C-305 was shot down by the Conservative government. Instead of moving Canada forward, they chose to continue the tradition of one-off funding and short-sighted planning. But the initiative is far from over!

Photo By S. G. Brooks

Read the full text of the bill or the summary below:

Accessibility:  Increase access to and use of public transit through support for service and affordability measures.

Commute:  Reduce commute times and alleviate congestion in Canadian cities and communities.

Economy:  Improve the economic competitiveness of Canadian cities and communities.

Life:  Enhance the quality of life.

Environment:  Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.

Investment:  Provide a permanent investment plan to support public transit that places it at the center of all Canadian cities and communities.

Infrastructure:  Establish federal funding mechanisms to ensure the financial health of public transit systems, including the rehabilitation and renewal of existing infrastructure and the expanding capacity to respond to increasing public transit needs.

Cooperation:  Work together with provincial and municipal governments, as well as with transit authorities to provide sustainable, predictable and adequate funding.

Leadership:  Provide a leadership role to align, on a national basis, public transit visions, planning goals, project justification, construction time frames and budgets.

Research:  Direct research to identify innovation in sustainable public transit technologies, to develop policy approaches to increase access to and use of public transit and to promote information sharing among public transit systems in Canada.

Sustainability:  Facilitate the shift to established, sustainable public transit technologies such as electrification.

Accountability:  Establish accountability measures to ensure that all governments work together to increase public transit use.