Published Tuesday, January 8, 2019 6:16PM EST
A much-anticipated report on the future of Toronto’s subway system will be kept confidential, according to the Ontario transportation minister’s office, sparking concerns among some city councillors.
A three-member panel tasked with looking into the issue delivered its first report to Premier Doug Ford’s cabinet in December.
The panel is led by Michael Lindsay, who was appointed as a special advisor in August, tasked with helping the government determine “the best approach for the upload, including the building and maintenance of new and existing subway lines,” according to a government news release issued at the time.
The transportation minister’s office says any advice given to the cabinet is going to be kept confidential.
“Mr. Lindsay’s advice is being provided on an ongoing basis,” said Andrew Buttigieg, the press secretary for the minister, in a statement to CTV News Toronto. “Decisions on how that advice will be used have not yet been made.”
Neither the Premier’s Office nor the transportation minister have provided a timeline for when Lindsay’s final report will be delivered, but that too will be kept secret.
“His final report to Cabinet would be confidential,” Buttigieg said.
City councillor Josh Matlow said that Toronto residents “deserve to know” the province’s plans for subway infrastructure, including whether the city will be compensated and whether any TTC property will be sold off.
“I’m not surprised that Ford wants to keep the future of Toronto’s subway confidential,” Matlow told CTV News Toronto. “If he has a plan that he can be proud of and is genuinely in the public interest, he should be comfortable to share it with the people of Toronto.”
TTC board member Shelley Carroll said the discussion is in the very early stages and conversations with Toronto’s city manager, city council and the TTC’s CEO haven’t even begun.
“Today, if you ask Rick Leary, the person currently running the subway system for the TTC, ‘what does upload mean?,’ his answer is still ‘I don’t know what upload means’,” Carroll said.
Any advice from Linsday to cabinet, Carroll said, would be preliminary.
The Premier’s Office hasn’t said whether any part of the report will be made public, or whether city council will be given a confidential copy of the report.
During the provincial election, Ford pledged to upload the responsibility for building and maintaining Toronto’s subway lines to the province. Toronto Mayor John Tory has said that he looks forward to consulting with the province on the plan to make sure the deal is in the best interest of the city.
Provincial consultations with the City of Toronto are expected to begin sometime in 2019.