Transit Commission

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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 conventional bus service, the O-Train and Para Transpo.


Membership of the Transit Commission shall consist of Members of Council, as appointed by Council.  The Mayor is an ex-officio member of the Commission.  

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. The Finance and Corporate Services Department on matters directly related to the mandate of the Commission;
    3. Advisory Committees or Sub-committees that are within the area of responsibility of the Transit Commission; and
    4. Local boards, agencies and corporations that are created by, and report to, this Commission. 
  2. Consider the annual operating and capital budget for the Transit Services Department, excluding those under the mandate of other Standing Committees, subject to the budgetary powers and duties assigned to the head of Council under the Municipal Act, 2001 and associated regulations and any Council-approved budget process.  
  3. Receive, consider, and refer to Council for approval, the annual compliance report from the City’s Light Rail Regulatory Monitor and Compliance Officer.
  4. Ensure co-ordination and consultation with 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 rapid transit corridors 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. Receive regular information updates from Transit Services on operational matters related to the transit system including rail, bus and Para Transpo.  
  2. Provide direction on, and ensure the implementation of, policies and programs with respect to the operation of Transit Services.
  3. Exercise other specific responsibilities set forth by relevant statutes and City Council.
  4. 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, subject to the budgetary powers and duties assigned to the head of Council under the Municipal Act, 2001 and associated regulations and any Council-approved budget process.  
  5. Pursue the following objectives in order to provide the best possible public transit service for all customers:
    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 and best practices;
    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 and Transportation Master Plan objectives.
  6. Identify new transit services by-laws, policies, guidelines, and government funding programs for transit operations.
  7. Act as the official bargaining agent of the City of Ottawa in negotiations with representatives of the unions representing OC Transpo workers 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.
  8. Review and approve all changes to transit network policy and performance standards related to operations.
  9. Review and determine the service level standards for and the allocation of budgeted resources among urban and rural transit taxation areas.
  10. Receive and approve staff recommendations for major service changes.
  11. Receive and approve wayfinding, branding and advertising standards and alternative revenue strategies for the transit system.
  12. Provide direction on strategic asset plans (Fleet composition, stations, Park and Ride, on-street amenities) related to transit operations.
  13. Review and approve technology matters related to public transit operations, including fare systems, on-board technology, communication, control and monitoring systems, real-time data, and customer information, with the ability to refer technology matters to the Finance and Corporate Services Committee for input as the Transit Commission deems necessary.
  14. Receive operational performance reporting related to the transit system. 
  15. Receive briefings on litigious matters related to the operation of transit services and to give direction to the City Solicitor on such matters where it is consistent with current Council direction or policy, excluding those matters that are under the mandate of another Committee.
  16. Receive reports from staff regarding the exercise of delegated authority on items within the Commission’s mandate.
  17. Receive regular status updates regarding inquiries and motions relating to matters under the Commission’s mandate.
  18. Receive delegations from the public and hold public hearings as required by statute and Council.
  19. Have the delegated authority to decide operational matters that are consistent with the application of federal and/or provincial statutes and/or regulations. 
  20. Pursuant with the Delegation of Authority By-law (Section 10 – Conferences and Conventions), approve Members’ travel and attendance at conferences that are related to the Commission’s mandate.
  21. 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”).
  22. Receive any audits within the Commission’s mandate as may be referred by the Audit Committee.

Approved by City Council on February 22, 2023

Meetings, agendas and minutes

Meeting agendas, minutes and videos for City Council, its committees and select local boards can be accessed through the City’s agendas and minutes web portal

See using the City’s Agendas and minutes web portal for more information.

The following is available through the portal:

  • Meeting schedules
  • Agendas
  • Minutes
  • Meeting documentation
  • Live streams
  • Meeting recordings for meetings held on or after June 27, 2022

Live meeting streams and archived meeting videos continue to be available on the Ottawa City Council YouTube Channel. More information is available in the Watch or listen to Council and committee meetings article.

Meeting documentation from January 2001 to June 2012 can be accessed through the legacy agendas and minutes application.

If at any time you are unable to find a document or access the links above, please send an email to