This site uses JavaScript. Please enable JavaScript in your Browser and reload the page to view the full site.

Transit Commission

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 Transportation 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 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 applicable services areas and branches of the Transportation 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 Transportation Services Department, excluding those under the mandate of other Standing Committees.
  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 rapid transit corridors and traffic management, so as to achieve the transit goals of the City’s Official Plan and the Transportation Master Plan.
  12. Receive for information and forward to Council the semi-annual information reports submitted by the Chief Procurement Officer regarding contracts exceeding $25,000 awarded under authority delegated to OC Transpo.

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 customers:
    1. Attract an increasing number of customers to transit customers;
    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 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.
  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 for the transit system.
  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 operational performance reporting related to the transit system.
  14. Hear 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.
  15. Except for item A 12 above, receive reports from staff regarding the exercise of delegated authority (By-law 2020-360) 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 10 – 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”).
  21. Receive any audits within the Commission’s mandate.

(Housekeeping revisions January 8, 2020)

Council, committee and board agendas and minutes

Please note that while the City of Ottawa is transitioning to new E-Agenda software, you can continue to access Council and Committee materials through the existing SIRE E-Agenda page.

If at any time you are unable to find a document or access this page, please send an email to

Looking for old Council, Standing Committee, Transit Commission or Advisory Committee meeting agendas and minutes?
Review meetings that occurred prior to June 18, 2012.

Upcoming meetings of the Ottawa Board of Health, Ottawa Police Services Board, Ottawa Public Library Board and Committee of Adjustment can also be found in SIRE E-Agenda.