Transit Commission




Vice Chair:


Ex officio:

Councillor Stephen Blais

Councillor Michael Qaqish

Councillor Marianne Wilkinson
Councillor Keith Egli
Councillor Tim Tierney
Councillor Tobi Nussbaum
Councillor Jeff Leiper
Councillor Jean Cloutier

Public Members

Susan Burt
Blair Crew
François Malo
Graham Milner

Mayor Jim Watson



Terms of Reference

The Transit Commission is responsible for ensuring the development of a safe, efficient, accessible and client-focused transit system and for providing overall guidance and direction to the Transit Services Department on all issues relating to the operation of public transit, including the O-train and Para Transpo.


Membership of the Transit Commission shall consist of eight (8) Members of Council and four (4) citizen members, as approved by Council. The Mayor is an ex officio member of the Commission. The Chair and Vice-Chair shall be appointed by the membership of the Commission from among the members of the Commission who are also Members of Council.

Where Joint Committee meetings of the Transit Commission and another Committee of Council are held to consider matters of which transit is a component, citizen members of the Commission shall be non-voting, ex-officio members of the Joint Committee.

Matters for Which the Commission Is Responsible to Council

The Transit Commission shall:

  1. Be responsible to Council for those items related to the operation of transit services emanating from:
    1. The Transit Services Department;
    2. Advisory Committees or Sub-committees that are within the area of responsibility of the Transit Commission; and
    3. Local boards, agencies and corporations that are created by, and report to, this Commission. 
  2. Subsequent to the approval of the budget, consider, for recommendation to Council, all operating and capital budget adjustments pertaining to items within the Commission’s mandate and in excess of the overall Council-approved transit budget.
  3. Review and recommend to Council transit fares, the annual operating and capital budget for the Transit Services Department.
  4. Ensure co-ordination and consultation with Standing Committees and departments where responsibilities overlap on transit matters and on issues relevant to the mandate of more than one Committee.
  5. Consult with the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and recommend to Council any changes that would affect taxation in the rural transit areas.
  6. Review and recommend to Council revisions to the Transit Commission Terms of Reference, as required.
  7. Recommend to Council, the City of Ottawa’s participation in federal or provincial cost-sharing programs for matters within the mandate of the Commission.
  8. Recommend to Council proposed by-laws that are under the Commission’s jurisdiction.
  9. Review and recommend to Council strategic plans strictly related to transit matters. 
  10.  Review and make recommendations to Council on City policies and plans that have a public transit component.
  11. In collaboration with the Transportation Committee, review and make recommendations to Council on transit infrastructure matters, such as transitways and traffic management, so as to achieve the transit goals of the City’s Official Plan and the Transportation Master Plan.

Responsibilities under Delegated Authority of the Commission

The Transit Commission shall have final decision-making authority with respect to the following specific responsibilities:

  1. Provide direction on, and ensure the implementation of, policies and programs with respect to the operation of Transit Services.
  2. Exercise other specific responsibilities set forth by relevant statutes and City Council.
  3. Consider and approve all operating and capital budget adjustments pertaining to items within the Commission’s mandate and within the overall Council-approved transit budget.
  4. Pursue the following objectives in order to provide the best possible public transportation service for all transit users:
    1. Attract an increasing number of customers to transit;
    2. Determine and meet the transit needs of residents and visitors;
    3. Provide excellent customer service and foster a reputation of safety and reliability;
    4. Provide a transit service that is accessible and affordable;
    5. Ensure that safety standards are managed in accordance with recognized public transportation standards;
    6. Strive to develop and maintain a system that is adaptable to emerging changes in technology; and,
    7. Support policies that are consistent with the City of Ottawa Official Plan objectives.
  5. Identify new transit services by-laws, policies, guidelines, and government funding programs for transit operations.
  6. Act as the official bargaining agent of the City of Ottawa in negotiations with representatives of the Transit Services’ unions within Council-approved mandates. The Commission may delegate its bargaining powers, however, the Commission has the authority to direct staff on the parameters of the negotiations and no final agreement resulting from such a delegation shall be binding until it is approved by the Commission and Council.
  7. Review and approve all changes to transit network policy and performance standards related to operations.
  8. Review and determine the service level standards for and the allocation of budgeted resources among urban and rural transit taxation areas.
  9. Receive and approve staff recommendations for major service changes.
  10. Receive and approve Transit wayfinding, branding and advertising standards and alternative revenue strategies.
  11. Provide direction on strategic asset plans (Fleet composition, stations, Park and Ride, on-street amenities) related to operations.
  12. Review and approve technology matters related to public transit operations, including Smart Card, on-board technology, communication, control and monitoring systems, real-time data, and customer information, with the ability to refer technology matters to the Information Technology Sub-committee for input as the Transit Commission deems necessary.
  13. Receive the Transit Services Department Annual Report.
  14. Hear briefings on litigious matters related to the operation of transit services and to give direction to the City Clerk and Solicitor on such matters where it is consistent with current Council direction or policy.
  15. Receive reports from staff regarding the exercise of delegated authority (By-law 2014-435) on items within the Commission’s mandate.
  16. Receive regular status updates regarding inquiries and motions relating to matters under the Commission’s mandate.
  17. Receive delegations from the public and hold public hearings as required by statute and Council.
  18. Have the delegated authority to decide matters that are consistent with the application of federal and/or provincial statutes and/or regulations.
  19. Pursuant with the Delegation of Authority By-law (Section – Conferences and Conventions), approve Members’ travel and attendance at conferences that are related to the Commission’s mandate (e.g. Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA)).
  20. Provide direction and guidance with respect to the operation of interprovincial public transit and co-ordination with the Société de transport de l'Outaouais (“STO”).

Council and committee agendas and minutes

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Council and Committee Meetings and Reports

Live Standing Committee Audio Casts
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