Home > Campaigns > Initiatives

Campaign Initiatives

Historic Transit Victory: Council votes for Rapid Transit Now!

On February 8th 2012, Council voted YES to rapid transit for Toronto!

The morning started with nearly 24,000 petitions and letters from Torontonians asking for efficient, reliable rapid transit to be built now.

TTCriders members and TEA canvassers and volunteers collected thousands of letters and petitions over the last year - and our hard work paid off!

The Council vote was a great example of councillors from all over the city considering their residents, and voting for effective transit that will keep our air clean!

Read more on the TTCriders website.

Read the Council decision here: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2012.CC17.1

On Wednesday February 8th, Council voted on Toronto's transit future at a special Council meeting. TTC Chair Karen Stintz  moved the Metrolinx LRT transit expansion plan to be voted on by Council.

Councillor Stintz’s LRT plan will deliver the rapid transit Torontonians want. 

This plan is based on solid transit principles, will see rapid transit built quickly, underground where it is needed, to all parts of the city, and it’s completely paid for by the Province. 

Councillor Stintz’s plan calls for four Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines to be built: the Eglinton Crosstown (underground from Keele St to Laird Ave and at grade from Leslie Street to Kennedy Station); replacing the current Scarborough RT with LRT and expanding it north to Sheppard Ave; along Sheppard Ave East from Don Mills Station to Morningside Ave; along Finch Ave west from the new Finch West Station to Humber College.

These new LRT lines will have almost no impact on existing car lanes as there is enough space to build new lanes on these wide suburban avenues.

TTCriders launched an e-petition that allows Torontonians to send an email to their Councillor showing their support for the plan.

  • Click here to see the letter signed by 24 Councilliors calling for a special City Council meeting to approve the LRT Plan.
  • Click here to see TTC Chair Stintz’s Letter to Metrolinx in support the original  LRT plan.

Read the TTCriders' February 6th press release calling on Councillors to support Stintz's plan.

Read more about the value of the LRT plan vs the unfunded subway plan here.

Victory! City Council says yes to Local food, again

On July 14th, 2011, City Councillors voted almost unanimously to continue buying local food for city-run daycares and seniors’ homes.

Two weeks ago, some Councillors publicly stated they thought City Hall shouldn’t be supporting local farmers and the city’s food services industry that supply local food. 

In response, over 1,700 Torontonians signed a petition asking Councillors to support the city’s local food procurement policy. As well, nine key players in the food services industry sent a letter to Councillors asking them to support the city’s continued support for local food procurement. 

Because of the decision today, local farmers will have a better chance to supply fresh and nutritious foods to users of city daycares and seniors’ homes. As well, by buying more local food, the city will reduce smog and greenhouse gas emissions as less food comes from far away.

Finally, thanks to all of you for contacting your local Councillor and helping ensure City Hall keeps the welcome mat for local food!


Tell Council that Toronto needs Local Food!

*UPDATE!* On Thursday July 14th, Council voted for Local Food, again!

On Tuesday June 28th 2011, Toronto's Government Management Committee refused to adopt a policy that would direct city staff to buy local food, where appropriate, instead of imported food that may come from thousands of miles away.

The policy will go to City Council on July 12 & 13 for debate and a vote. For more information read TEA's press release: City Poised to Kill Support for Local Food

Please sign this petition to tell City Council that Toronto needs to support local food, local farmers and the environment by adopting a policy to buy local food.

More Information:

Read TEA's press release: City Poised to Kill Support for Local Food - June 28, 2011

To read more about what TEA has done in the past to push for a Local Food policy at City Hall, see our campaign page here: Local & Sustainable Food Procurement


Jamie Kirkpatrick deputes at a TTC meeting about their 2012 budget crunch

Jamie Kirkpatrick, TEA's Transit Campaigner, speaks before the Toronto Transit Commission about a preliminary budget for 2012 that looks to cut over $100 million in operating costs.

Read more about TEA's Transit Campaign here.

Report: Look before you Leap

Look Before You Leap: An Environmental Perspective on Privatizing Waste Collection in Toronto

A report of the Toronto Environmental Alliance

May 2011 


Executive SummaryPhoto by Christopher Drost

For almost 20 years, TEA has been fighting for waste diversion and reduction across Toronto. Today, Toronto has some of the most advanced waste diversion programs in the country. Currently, City Hall is debating whether to privatize waste collection services west of Yonge Street. 

TEA has spent the last few months researching the issue of waste diversion services and diversion rates, and how Toronto’s waste diversion goals might be impacted by contracting out waste collection for a significant portion of the City.

Our research has led to the following key findings:

  • • No applicable studies have examined whether privatization has a negative or positive impact on waste diversion rates;
  • • Significant evidence exists that waste diversion has been jeopardized by private waste collectors; it is unclear if this is a consequence of privatization, bad contract language, and/or insufficient monitoring;
  • • Studies have shown that proper monitoring costs about 20% of the contract value to ensure cities get what they paid for;
  • • City staff have seriously over-estimated the potential savings from privatizing waste collection west of Yonge Street because they have under-estimated monitoring costs.

On May 17th 2011, City Council will be considering a staff report from the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. It recommends that Council immediately proceed with privatizing waste collection services and give staff authority on the final contract language and award. This would exclude Council from having direct oversight over contract language or the opportunity to review the final contract ($250 million and lasting 7+ years) before it is signed. The staff report provides no information about whether waste diversion is affected by privatization. It also under-estimates the monitoring costs for the contract, meaning the potential savings have been over-estimated by at least $4 million per year.


Based on our findings, TEA recommends City Council reject the staff recommendations and instead direct staff to:

  • • Get the facts about what impact privatizing collection could have on waste diversion rates by looking to other cities.
  • • Develop contract language that ensures the City is not penalized for making improvements to our diversion services or programs. This includes avoiding any ‘put-or-pay’ provisions for waste disposal that penalize us for reducing waste.
  • • Find the true cost to the City of properly monitoring private collection contracts.
  • • Propose a process that ensures City Council has direct oversight over contract language development and signs off on any contract before it is signed.
  • • Report back the above findings to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee.

Download the full report here: Look Before You Leap: An Environmental Perspective on Privatizing Waste Collection in Toronto 

Photo by Christopher Drost


TEA Report - Look Before You Leap.pdf1.78 MB

Privatized Waste Collection

TEA is committed to fighting for diversion and waste reduction across Toronto. We will work to protect the great diversion programs we've fought for over the last ten years. TEA is concerned that privatizing waste services reduces local control and puts our valuable waste diversion programs at risk.

Update: On October 24th, City Council voted to accept the bid from GFL (Green For Life) to collect waste in half of the City. The good news is that a number of motions demanding strict reporting were passed, ensuring that we'll have plenty of information to follow in the coming years to ensure that service quality or environmental standards don't decrease! Click here to read more.

Next steps:

In the first quarter of 2012, staff will be outlining the structure used to oversee the contract, its associated costs, and performance targets. Any failure to meet these targets will be immediately reported to Public Works Committee. 

TEA will continue to follow the progress of this issue and keep you informed.

Read TEA's report Look Before You Leap: An Environmental Perspective on Privatizing Waste Collection in Toronto

  • This report outlines our key concerns about risks to diversion programs and the
    need for transparency.
    The report includes a number of examples from Toronto and other cities
    where waste diversion services were compromised due to problems with
    contract language, and monitoring and enforcement

Campaign Activity:

See TEA's media coverage on our TEA In The News page

24 October 2011 - Council votes to accept bid from GFL for waste collection west of Yonge Street. A number of motions for strict reporting are passed.

19 October 2011 - Staff recommend that Council award the waste contract to GFL.

Media Release: Waste Contract Puts Environment at Risk - 21 October 2011

17 May 2011 - Council votes to seek private bids for waste collection in
half the City. Council overwhelmingly rejected the proposal to allow
staff to make the final decision, and voted in favour of the

Media Release: New Study: City report over-estimates savings from privatizing waste collection, puts services at risk - 9 May 2011

Deputation to Public Works and Infrastructure Committee - 26 April 2011

Media Release: Environmental Group to Councillors: It’s your job to safeguard waste diversion programs - 26 Apr 2011 

26 April 2011 - Public Works and Infrastructure Committee approve staff proposal to seek private bids for curbside collection west of Yonge Street.


Take Action - Tell Council: Toronto needs Transit!

January 2011

Toronto's transit is under threat, and we need you to take action! Tell the Mayor and Councillors that you support the Transit City light rail network and that you don't support cuts to service.

  • 1. Send an Email to City Councillors and Mayor Ford. 
  • 2. Ask 5 friends to send an email today.
  • 3. Share this message with your networks.

We need fast, reliable transit across the city now 

Toronto needs more transit, not cuts to bus service. Cuts to late night service hurts late shift workers, students, late night businesses, and the ability of all Torontonians to choose public transit over cars. We also need more frequent, comfortable, and faster service throughout the City as is provided by the Transit City light rail plan.

Transit was being built. But Mayor Ford ordered the TTC to stop the work underway to bring Light Rail Transit  to Sheppard, Eglinton and Finch.  Mayor Ford has stopped transit expansion and in the process has wasted close to $130 million already spent on Transit City. Taxpayers may now be on the hook for signed contracts worth more than $1 billion, including the purchasing of vehicles and tunnel boring machines for rapid transit under Eglinton Ave.

Tell the Mayor and Councillors that you support the Transit City light rail network and that you don't support cuts to service.

Click here to send an email now: http://emailthem.ca/transitcity/ 

Your action matters!

In recent weeks, thousands of Torontonians have called, written and emailed their Councillors about transit, and it's having an impact!

Fare increase cancelled! Delay on decision to cut bus service!

  • On Monday January 10th, the proposed 2011 budget was released, announcing a TTC fare increase and cuts to service along 48 different bus routes. Immediately, TEA mobilized our members, and we were successful!
  • TEA and others, including TTCriders, acted fast (view our press release here). Within a day, Ford and TTC Chair Karen Stintz stopped the fare increase.
  • We also called our members and ally organizations to get people to speak out against the cuts at the TTC meeting on Wednesday January 12th. The TTC wanted to decide on bus service cuts at that meeting, but because of the groundswell of public outcry they delayed their decision to the TTC meeting on February 2nd.
  • The TTC is now planning public consultation meetings to find out what the public thinks of the cuts to bus service.  

Success! Eglinton Light Rail line may be saved!

  • Over just a few weeks in December and January, close to 10,000 Torontonians took action to save the Transit City plan. Thousands of emails were sent and phone calls made to the Mayor’s office and Councillors in support of the Transit City light rail plan.
  • Because of the groundswell of public support for Transit City, Ford’s team is considering going ahead with the Eglinton crosstown – one of the 8 Transit City lines.
  • This is great news - and we need to keep the pressure on the Mayor and our Council to build transit that serves the whole city.


Map shows that Light Rail Plan delivers more winners than Subway Expansion Plan

Take action: send an email in favour of the light rail network to your councillor and the Mayor here: http://emailthem.ca/transitcity/

Toronto City Council will soon be considering two, very different transit expansion plans; one that will build a network of light rail transit lines to all four corners of the city, and the other that relies on subway expansion. 

To help Torontonians, TEA created a map which neighbourhoods would benefit from the 8 light rail transit lines vs. subway expansion along Sheppard Ave. and the Scarborough RT.

Click the image to view it in a larger window, or download a pdf of the poster below.

The map shows that the proposed light rail transit plan will serve 630,000 people in Toronto, over half a million more people than the proposed subway expansion plan, which will serve 61,000 people. Should the subway expansion plan proceed, one in five Torontonians will lose access to fast, reliable transit. 

Light rail transit is also better for the environment (see TEA's report below), and is better for taxpayers: light rail costs less per kilometre at $111 million versus $344 million per kilometrefor the subway plan.  

The information on the map comes from a just released, report called “Making tracks to Torontonians: Building transit where we need it” written by the Pembina Institute. The report provides a detailed comparison of the light rail transit expansion plan adopted by the City of Toronto and the Province and the proposed subway expansion plan.

Check out TEA's recent report Clearing the Air on the TTC: Recommendations to Increase the Environmental Benefits of the TTC to read our analysis of the environmental benefits of light rail transit over subways, and recommendations for the new Council.

TEA Media Release January 5 2011.pdf21.19 KB
Pembina Report - Making Tracks to Torontonians.pdf1.52 MB
TEA Transit Comparison Map Colour.pdf54.75 KB
Pembina BACKGROUNDER - Making Tracks to Torontonians.pdf319.02 KB

Clearing the Air on the TTC - Report

On November 15th, TEA and TTCriders released a report on the environmental benefits of the TTC, with key recommendations for the TTC and the new Council.

Recommendations to Increase the Environmental Benefits of the TTC

Report prepared by Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA) and TTCriders
November 2010

Click here, or on the image below to open the report in a new window.

Clearing the Air


Executive Summary

The TTC is vital to Toronto. Without it, Torontonians would be living in perpetual gridlock and spending even more of their waking hours commuting. Moreover, Toronto’s air would be significantly dirtier and we would be emitting hundreds of thousands of tonnes of additional greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions into the atmosphere.

During the 2010 municipal election, there was much discussion about the future of the TTC. Lots of suggestions were made about how to improve existing services and about how best to expand the TTC, especially into Toronto’s inner suburbs. Almost all of the discussion centred on finances, the merits or drawbacks of various forms of transit vehicles and what type of new transit modes should be built. There was almost no consideration of how proposed changes and expansion plans would impact the environment, specifically air quality and ghg emissions.

Election campaigns are a great opportunity for candidates, pundits and the public to debate ideas and options. Now, the new Councillors and Mayor must move from debate to action. Decisions about the TTC’s existing operations and expansion plans must be made and we cannot afford bad decisions. In particular, we cannot afford decisions that harm our air quality or our ability to reduce ghg emissions.

This report offers information and recommendations to assist our elected officials in making decisions to improve our air quality and to reduce our ghg emissions. In particular, this report provides:

  • An estimate of the ghg emissions avoided due to transporation by TTC instead of private vehicles.
  • An estimate of the ghg emissions avoided should the 2007 Transit City Plan be fully implemented.
  • An analysis of the ghg emissions produced by subways and Light Rail Transit (LRT) using Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs).

Based on this information, we urge the new City Council and the Toronto Transit Commission to maximize the environmental benefits of the TTC by adopting the following recommendations:

  1. Develop a baseline analysis of ghg and smog emissions resulting from current practices as well as a baseline analysis of avoided emissions resulting from current practices.
  2. Develop a methodology to assess the ghg and smog emissions of various operational changes and that the results of this methodology be considered when making decisions about which operational changes to adopt.
  3. Continue implementing the 2007 Transit City Plan and only change course if careful analysis of other expansion plans can clearly demonstrate that they offer greater reduction of ghg emissions per dollar spent and better service to TTC users.

We hope these recommendations will be adopted by our elected officials to help determine the best options for service improvements and for system expansion. Doing so will result in improving and expanding the TTC in such a way that most effectively cleans Toronto’s air and contributes to reductions in ghg emissions.

Toronto Environmental Alliance

Clearing the Air on the TTC - Nov 2010.pdf257.93 KB

TEA joins OneToronto campaign

This upcoming election is not just about the environment, it's also about the future of Canada’s largest urban centre. That's why TEA has joined OneToronto, a network of environmental, arts, student, labour and social justice groups representing hundreds of thousands of Torontonians. 

The OneToronto campaign aims to change the nature of the public debate around the 2010 election. We urge you to get involved, ask questions and talk to your neighbours. Get engaged in a local campaign. Vote. Toronto's future is your choice.

To learn more about OneToronto, visit www.onetoronto.ca.

Read the OneToronto media release "Mayoral Hopefuls: Stop Trash-Talking Toronto"