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UPDATE: Provincial government launches public inquiry into Ottawa’s light rail system

“The issues plaguing Stage 1 of the Ottawa LRT have been unacceptable and disappointing," said Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney.
2019-07-26 lrt ottawa o-train light rail MV2
Ottawa light rail train on the Confederation Line, July 2019. Mike Vlasveld/

The updated version of this story includes a statement from Mayor Jim Watson to CityNews, which was issued on the evening of Wednesday, November 17.


The Ontario government has announced it will be launching a public inquiry into Ottawa’s light rail transit (LRT) system.

In a statement, Wednesday, November 17, Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney said her government will be looking to “get to the bottom of these issues” plaguing Ottawa’s LRT system.

“As a funding partner for the project, we need certainty that the City of Ottawa will be able to successfully deliver the remaining phases of work for this project,” said minister Mulroney.

The statement went on to say that the province expects to launch the inquiry as soon as possible.

“In the coming weeks, we will establish the scope of the inquiry and its terms of reference, with the intention of receiving a report on what has transpired and recommendations to prevent this from happening again.”

Mayor Jim Watson also released a statement to CityNews following the Ontario government's decision to go ahead with its own public inquiry, saying: "Both Premier Ford and I share the goal of better public transit for the residents of Ottawa."

"As I have said over the last year, my number one goal is to get RTG and Alstom to fix LRT and start delivering the world class transit service Ottawa paid for and transit passengers deserve."

He added, "I support the Province's decision to get to the bottom of why RTG and Alstom have failed to deliver on their obligations to our City, and I support the shorter process proposed by the province. I will look forward to responding more fully when we are informed of the scope of the province's effort."

Ottawa's LRT resumed partial service last Friday after a September 19 derailment sidelined the O-Train. 

On CityNews' The Rob Snow Show last week, Carleton MPP Goldie Ghamari said the Ford government would take further action on Ottawa's LRT project once all options for increased provincial oversight had been reviewed by Transport Minister Caroline Mulroney.

The Ontario government has already withheld $60 million from Stage 1 of the project until certain conditions are met. In total, the province has pledged up to $600-million for Stage 1 and up to $1.208-billion for Stage 2.

In early October, Ottawa city council opted for an in-house audit over a judicial inquiry into the LRT's procurement.

At Wednesday’s City of Ottawa Transit Commission meeting, General Manager of Transportation Services Renée Amilcar said the city would be replacing a section track in the Confederation Line tunnel, near Rideau Station due to excessive noise.

The LRT is currently running partial service with seven trains on the tracks, but an eighth train is expected to be added on Thursday.


Victoria Williston

About the Author: Victoria Williston

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