Ontario Line Subway Project Reaches Major Milestone

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Requests for Proposals Issued to Deliver New Transit Infrastructure and Vehicles

December 17, 2020



TORONTO - The Ontario government is a step closer to getting shovels in the ground to build the Ontario Line, the signature project in the largest subway expansion program in Canadian history. The province issued two Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for procurement packages to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Ontario Line project. The Preliminary Design Business Case for the Ontario Line was also released.

The announcement was made today by Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, and Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA).

Following the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process that began in June 2020, shortlisted teams are now invited by Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and Metrolinx to bid on two RFP packages:


  1. The first package includes designing, building, financing, operating and maintaining the subway trains, communications and train control systems, a maintenance and storage facility, and the fare equipment that will be integrated with the PRESTO system. 

  2. The second package includes designing, building and financing the tunnels and transit stations for the southern segment of the line from Exhibition Place to just west of the Don River. It also includes utility and conduit work and building structures to prepare for track installation.


After evaluating the proposals received, IO and Metrolinx expect to award these contracts in 2022. The Ontario Line is being built under three separate public-private partnership (P3) contracts and a package of Early Works contracts.

"By issuing these first Ontario Line RFPs, Premier Ford's vision for a world-class regional transit system continues to make steady progress," said Minister Mulroney. "The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on our economy, and major transit projects like this will contribute significantly to our recovery by stimulating future growth and job creation."

Issuing of the RFPs was accompanied by the release of the Preliminary Design Business Case for the Ontario Line, which offers a more detailed understanding of the project's design and benefits for the community, reflecting feedback from residents and businesses. Some of the benefits noted in the business case include faster travel and increased transit access and capacity.

Once complete, the Ontario Line will be one of the most technologically advanced subway systems in the world with the highest degree of automation, on par with subway systems in Paris, Copenhagen and Barcelona. During rush hour, travellers can look forward to an Ontario Line train arriving at each station as frequently as every 90 seconds, with improved comfort, safety and reliability.

"We are closer to delivering a state-of-the-art subway that leverages existing rail corridors to minimize costs and disruption," said Associate Minister Surma. "By building this project our government is bringing rapid transit to currently underserved neighbourhoods and developing transit-oriented communities which will provide needed housing options."

The Ontario Line Preliminary Design Business Case also highlights the economic benefits of this massive project with a forecast of over 4,700 construction jobs per year between 2020 and 2030, followed by continued employment after 2030 for the subway line's operations and maintenance. In addition, the business case estimates the Ontario Line could put more than 255,000 people within a 10-minute walk of a new Ontario Line station and serve up to 388,000 trips each day by 2041.

"Our government is making historic investments in our transit and transportation infrastructure to support the province's growth and economic recovery," said Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure. "The Ontario Line is one of the most significant transit projects for the Greater Toronto Area in a generation and it will be delivered using Ontario's world-class P3 model, which will allow us to do it quickly and respect taxpayers."

In April 2019, the province announced its historic new transportation vision, with a preliminary estimated cost of $28.5 billion. This includes four priority transit projects: the all-new Ontario Line; a three-stop Scarborough Subway Extension; the Yonge North Subway Extension; and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension.

Quick Facts

  • The Ontario Line will extend 15.6 kilometres between Exhibition/Ontario Place to the Ontario Science Centre, providing fast, frequent, and reliable service and significantly reducing crowding on other lines and routes.
  • With 15 transit stations, including new connections to GO Transit, existing TTC subway stations and streetcar lines, and the Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit line, the brand-new Ontario line will create a more resilient and integrated transit network for commuters.
  • Moving people and reducing emissions is a core benefit of the Ontario Line, potentially reducing overall energy expended for transport by up to 7.2 million litres of automobile fuel every year – equivalent to nearly 120,000 fill ups at the pump per year.
  • Improving public transit is vital to supporting Ontario’s economic development and recovery. For every $1B invested in transit, over 10,000 hours of full-time employment is supported in a one-year period, boosting Ontario’s real GDP by another $1B, providing hundreds of millions of dollars in time savings to commuters, and significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The Ontario Line has a benefit cost ratio of 1.05, meaning that for every $1.00 invested in the Ontario Line, up to $1.05 is generated in socio-economic benefit for the City of Toronto.
  • In addition to the three P3 contracts, some segments of the Ontario Line will be procured separately, such as areas where it will run within GO Transit rail corridors. Work on these sections is expected to start before construction commences on the three major work packages, and procurement has already begun for the early works that will take place at Exhibition Station.
  • In July 2020, the Building Transit Faster Act became law, providing the province with the tools to expedite the planning, design and construction process of the four priority transit projects, including the Ontario Line.

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