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FAQ

WHAT IS METROLINX?

Metrolinx was created in 2006 as an agency of the Government of Ontario to improve the coordination and integration of all modes of transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). The organization’s mission is to champion, develop and implement an integrated transportation system for our region that enhances prosperity, sustainability, and quality of life. Metrolinx also operates GO Transit, the Union Pearson Express, and the PRESTO fare card system.

WHAT IS A RESIDENTS’ REFERENCE PANEL?

A Residents’ Reference Panel is a forum of residents who agree to volunteer and represent the interests and perspectives of their community. Reference Panels typically meet over a series of Saturdays to learn about a particular public policy issue and provide careful and informed advice to public authorities and decision-makers. Residents’ Reference Panels encourage participants to learn from one another and from experts as they work towards a consensus concerning their preferences and priorities.

WHY IS THIS RESIDENTS’ REFERENCE PANEL TAKING PLACE?

In 2006 the provincial government created Metrolinx, an agency responsible for planning, building, and maintaining transportation infrastructure in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). In 2008, Metrolinx announced The Big Move, a comprehensive 25-year regional transportation plan to dramatically expand the region’s transportation system in order to meet the needs of a growing population and ensure that every resident in the region has access to convenient, affordable, and reliable transportation.

Now almost ten years later, Metrolinx is seeking advice as we review and develop our next Regional Transportation Plan to meet the needs of the GTHA for the next 25 years of growth. The Reference Panel is an important opportunity for GTHA residents to take their seat at the table and be a part of developing our next Regional Transportation Plan that responds to the needs of all transportation users.

WHAT IS THE REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION PLAN?

The Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) guides the work being done to transform the multi-modal transportation network in the GTHA. This work includes the massive transformation of the GO rail network with the GO Regional Express Rail (RER) program, moving forward on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, and the Toronto-York Spadina subway extension. Metrolinx is also advancing procurement of the Hamilton, Hurontario, and Finch West LRTs. The RTP Review was launched in mid-2015, providing an opportunity to bring the latest thinking and advances in transportation into the RTP, re-connect with stakeholders, and clarify policies while continuing the momentum on the projects already underway.

The development of the next RTP is happening in phases and will be closely coordinated with the Ministry of Transportation’s Greater Golden Horseshoe Multi-Modal Transportation Plan and the provincial review of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. After gathering feedback from individuals and groups across the region, a draft of the RTP will be published in mid-2017, with a final version in late 2017, followed by an implementation plan in 2018-2019.

WHAT WOULD I DO AS A PANELIST?

Members of the Panel will meet during five Saturday sessions between March and May 2017. They will hear from transportation experts, learn about the opportunities in the region and implications for different communities in the GTHA, and consider examples of long-term transportation planning from other regions. Ultimately, panel members will work together to determine public priorities for the next 25 years of the region’s transportation system.

WHY DID I RECEIVE THIS LETTER?

Your household is one of 10,000 randomly selected homes across the GTHA that received this special invitation. This invitation is transferable to anyone aged 18 and over who would like to and is able to participate as a Panel member, and who lives at the address on this letter.

BUT I’M NOT AN EXPERT — CAN I STILL BE INVOLVED?

Absolutely. We do not expect you to have any specialized knowledge about transportation planning. You will learn everything you need to know to make an informed contribution with other Panelists in the five sessions. Staff will always be on hand to answer questions. Your perspective and experience as a resident matter most.

WHO IS INELIGIBLE TO APPLY?

Panelists must be GTHA residents aged 18 and over. It does not matter whether you travel by car, take public transit, use special mobility services, cycle, or walk as your regular mode of transit.

Employees of Metrolinx and public transit agencies are ineligible to participate. Currently elected municipal, provincial and federal representatives are also ineligible to participate. If you work for provincial or municipal government and if you think your employment may disqualify you in any way, please give us a call.

CAN ANYONE FROM MY HOUSEHOLD VOLUNTEER FOR THE RESIDENTS’ PANEL?

Yes. This invitation is transferable to anyone aged 18 and over who would like to and is able to participate as a Panel member and who lives at the address on this letter. We strongly encourage 18-24 year olds to register for the Residents’ Reference Panel.

I AM UNSURE WHETHER I CAN ATTEND ALL FIVE SESSIONS, CAN I STILL VOLUNTEER?

Unfortunately, no. It’s very important that Panelists attend each of the five sessions. These will be held in downtown Toronto, and we can provide assistance with reaching the venue. Please consider and confirm your ability to participate before applying:

  • #1 Saturday, March 11, 2017, 9am to 5pm
  • #2 Saturday, March 25, 2017, 9am to 5pm
  • #3 Saturday, April 8, 2017, half day
  • #4 Saturday, April 29, 2017, 9am to 5pm
  • #5 Saturday, May 13, 2017, 9am to 5pm

HOW DO I BECOME A MEMBER OF THE RESIDENTS’ REFERENCE PANEL?

In January 2017, 10,000 randomly selected households throughout the GTHA were mailed an invitation to volunteer for the Residents’ Panel.

If you received an invitation in the mail, you can register by the deadline of March 1, 2017 by either: calling 1-855-697-3811, registering securely online here, or by mailing the enclosed candidate response card back in the postage-paid envelope.

On March 2, 2017 a special draw will be conducted to randomly select the members of the Residents’ Reference Panel from among the respondents to this letter. This random selection process will also ensure that the Panel is balanced to match the gender, age, and population profile of the region.

If you did not receive an invitation in the mail, you can stay involved in the process through one of the ways below.

WILL I GET PAID TO SERVE ON THE RESIDENTS’ REFERENCE PANEL?

No. We are asking you to donate your time and volunteer as a member of the Panel. There is no cost to participate. Lunches and snacks are provided throughout the day. The meeting space is fully accessible. We will cover basic travel costs as required. Childcare or eldercare support, as well as hearing or visual assistance, will also be provided on an as-needed basis. If there are other barriers that you feel may prevent you from volunteering for the Panel, please call us and we will try to work them out.

WHAT LANGUAGES WILL BE USED DURING THE RESIDENTS’ REFERENCE PANEL?

The Residents’ Reference Panel will work in English, however French translation services will be provided to panel members if requested

HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED AND LEARN MORE?

You can contribute to the process by:

  • Staying connected to the Regional Transportation Plan development process by using our communications vehicles such as @metrolinx with #theplan; metrolinx.com/theplan; or rtp@metrolinx.com, throughout the course of the project; or
  • Attending any of the public roundtable meetings.