We’re Trying, Transpo GM Tells The Public

This is a release from the City of Ottawa:

This week marks one year since Justice William Hourigan released the final report of the Ottawa  Light Rail Transit Public Inquiry.  

On November 30, 2022, Mayor Sutcliffe asked staff to develop a plan to address the Inquiry’s 103 recommendations. OC Transpo took on the role as the lead department coordinating the City’s  response to the Public Inquiry, and worked collaboratively with key partners in the City Manager’s  Office, Legal Services, the Clerk’s Office, Finance and Corporate Services and with Infrastructure  and Water Services to deliver an Action Plan to Council.  

Input from Rideau Transit Group was included in the Action Plan and third-party expertise was  brought in to ensure that the Action Plan was achievable, robust, relevant and in keeping with  industry best practices.  

The report and its recommendations have resulted in an in depth analysis across the organization  and has impacted the daily activities of many individuals and departments. Over the past year,  significant work has been achieved and a formal update on the work was most recently delivered  to the Light Rail Subcommittee in September. Some examples of the progress made to date include:  

  • Rebuilding relationships 

o City management took immediate steps to build a more collaborative relationships  with the new Council and to rebuilding trust with the public through increased  transparency. 


o Significant efforts have been made to repair and strengthen the relationship  between the Rideau Transit Group and the City of Ottawa, including a Global  Settlement and a Charter of Shared Commitments. 

  • Commitment to transparency: The City remains committed to improving the way we work, including putting the public interest first, with a focus on accountability and  transparency. Actions taken to increase transparency include:  

o The City proactively publishes all memos sent to Council on Ottawa.ca. 

o OC Transpo’s Commitment to Transparency webpage was launched and supports public reporting on the Action Plan and the status of each recommendation. o A strong communication strategy to support the opening of Line 2 and 4 has been  developed including a commitment to bringing daily updates to Council on  performance results of trial running and a Technical Briefing to Council on the final  outcomes prior to selecting an opening date. 

o Staff has established new processes to ensure consistent, timely briefings for  Council and the media when an issue of significance occurs related to LRT.  o Staff are bringing regular, data-driven updates to the new Light Rail Sub-Committee to support Council’s oversight over light rail construction progress.  

o A detailed technical presentation on axle bearings was brought to Transit  Commission in October supported by representatives from both RTG and Alstom.  That presentation outlined a plan to resolve the bearing issue, which included a  redesign of the axle bearing assembly as a sustainable solution. 

  • Commitment to safety: OC Transpo’s number one priority is the safety of customers and  staff. Actions related to this area include: 

o An independent safety auditor for all three Stage 2 extensions was engaged early in  the design process to provide oversight from the outset of the safety certification  processes. 

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o Many lessons learned from Stage 1 light rail have already been incorporated into  Stage 2, including a longer 21-day trial running program with embedded contractual  testing criteria and a longer “bedding in” period before revenue service begins. 

  • Commitment to service delivery: OC Transpo is committed to improving rail service  reliability. Actions taken to date include:  

o The creation of a new Transit Engineering Services team to increase in-house  expertise and oversight 

o Investigating permanent solutions to interface issues and condition monitoring  systems with the assistance of the National Research Council 

o Continuing regular inspections of key systems, including the overhead catenary  system 

o Increasing oversight over maintenance through third party experts 

  • Renewing City policies: Many of the Public Inquiry’s recommendations reflect best  practices that are most appropriately addressed through updates to City policies and  procedures. This work includes: 

o Supply Services has updated the City’s P3 Policy and Administrative procedures.  o Legal Services is conducting a review of the Employee Code of Conduct. o A Records Management Plan has been established for the City.  

Detailed information is publicly available on completed recommendations and ongoing progress  on the OLRT Public Inquiry Action plan dashboard. Staff expect to have approximately 75 of the  95 recommendations fully completed by the end of this year, with the remaining substantially  complete or fully incorporated into ongoing work or processes. The next formal update will be  brought to the Light Rail Subcommittee in early 2024.

In the Executive Summary of his report, Justice Hourigan chose to end on a note of optimism,  noting recent improvements to service reliability and expressing hope that these would continue if  all parties were willing to work together in a spirit of good faith, communication, and co-operation as well as a recognition that their first obligation must be to the public. The City remains steadfast through the Action Plan and commitment to improved relationships to deliver to Ottawa’s  residents the public transit system that they expect and deserve. 

Should you have any questions, please contact me at ext. 52111.  

Original signed by 

Renée Amilcar 

cc: Senior Leadership Team 

Transit Services Departmental Leadership Team 

Director, Public Information and Media Relations

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