Canada’s 92 Tax Treaties Benefit Corporations but Starve Public Coffers

Update:

The CRA or Canada Revenue Agency’s National Headquarters in Ottawa. By 1987, Canada had signed more than 40 tax treaties with countries like Barbados, Jamaica and Malta, expanding to 92 by 2016. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

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Billions of dollars are moving out of Canada – nearly all tax free – with 92 tax treaties signed.

The seeds of Canadian corporations hiding billions of dollars in offshore tax havens were sewn more than 40 years ago, after the Canadian government pursued a series of tax treaties with tiny Caribbean and European nations.

The 92 tax treaties now signed with countries such as Barbados, Jamaica and Malta currently translate into billions of dollars moving out of Canada — nearly all tax free. This includes 22 tax information exchange agreements, where the sharing of tax information is intended to weed out evaders.

Consider this: From 1988 to 2001, Canadian direct investment in Barbados increased from $628 million to $23.3 billion, more than 3,600 per cent, according to Alain Deneault, a professor at the Université de Montréal.

In 2015, Canadian corporations held $79.9 billion in assets in Barbados, according to Statistics Canada. That makes Barbados the third most popular place for Canadian businesses to invest, directly behind the United States and the United Kingdom.

For the last several months, the Toronto Star has worked alongside the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., examining the Panama Papers, an unprecedented dump of 11.5 million documents that detail secret, off-shore accounts and deal-making among some of the world’s wealthiest people.

Those documents led the Star and the CBC to probe a deeper question: Why has the government of Canada sanctioned treaties and agreements between us and known tax haven nations, deals that have robbed the Canadian public purse of billions in tax revenue?

Canadian academics, auditors general and politicians have all warned some of these treaties have essentially done little else but give legal means for Canadian companies to move profits offshore to financially accommodating jurisdictions where they can pay lower corporate taxes.

“What became clear in the spring of 2013 was that the Canadian federal government’s policy is to fight tax fraud by legalizing it,” Deneault wrote in his book Canada: A New Tax Haven. Deneault spoke to the Star on Tuesday after he testified at Parliament Hill’s Standing Committee on Finance’s session on the Canada Revenue Agency’s efforts to combat tax avoidance and evasion.

Tax havens are jurisdictions, typically nations, where taxation rates are nearly zero and there is a high degree of bank and financial secrecy that is attractive to foreign clients.

At the urging of Canadian business interests that argued they could not be competitive without tax agreements, Canadian politicians and bureaucrats signed a dizzying array of tax treaties in the last several decades.

By 1987, Canada had signed more than 40 tax treaties with countries like Barbados, Jamaica and Malta, expanding to 92 by 2016.

“Establishing tax treaties was just something they did,” said John Crosbie, who was minister of finance from 1970 to 1980 and served in former prime minister Joe Clark’s short-lived Conservative government.

Corporate Tax Haven Barbados

Take the case of Barbados.

The Clark government signed a tax treaty with the Eastern Caribbean nation in 1980. There are about a quarter million people living in Barbados, where the main economic driver is tourism.

In 1980, what could have been Canada’s motives for establishing a tax treaty with Barbados?

The treaty Canada negotiated allowed for Canadian companies to set up subsidiaries in Barbados. Those companies were then funnelled international profits and taxed at the Barbadian rate. In some cases, tax rates were cut from 30 per cent in Canada to 2.5 per cent in Barbados.

The Star and the CBC contacted Leonard Farber, the former general director of the tax policy branch of the federal Department of Finance, to ask him why Canada pursued a deal with Barbados in the first place.

Farber, now a tax adviser at law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, said the benefit of a tax treaty between Canada and another country was to grant tax-exempt treatment for business income conducted in that country. When “income is repatriated to Canada,” it isn’t taxed again, he said.

“The rational behind that was to facilitate Canadian industry competitiveness in the world marketplace,” Farber said.

This was called a “double tax” avoidance treaty as a company is only charged taxes once. If a Canadian business is active in Barbados, it can pay the Barbadian rate, up to 2.5 per cent.

Farber rejects the suggestion that it is as if Canada effectively signed away a portion of its tax revenue purse. Canada has benefitted from Canadian corporations flourishing in other, indirect ways, he said.

“I think the international tax treaties Canada has negotiated over a significant period of time has facilitated that ability for Canadian companies to compete effectively in that marketplace with a clear understanding that … a lot of that after-tax income they earn from business activities in foreign jurisdictions were repatriated back to Canada to enable further expansion of operations that created more employment,” he said.

That is not how Deneault describes what happened. Instead, he says, Canadian companies used Barbados as a jumping off point to other tax havens.

“Basically, in the 1980s the interest in Barbados was to create a channel for Canadian corporations to get access to the offshore network on a legal basis. You create a subsidiary in Barbados. You send to that subsidiary some assets and from there on you may transfer the assets, once more, to another tax haven, to another subsidiary where Canada has no link,” Deneault said.

In the end, Canadian corporations skip out on paying their fair share of Canadian taxes.

For instance, Deneault said, if a Canadian corporation has a client in Spain, it can send an invoice from the Barbados subsidiary so the profit is registered in Barbados even though the work was done in Toronto or Montreal.

“Of course, these corporations benefit from public infrastructures. They use roads, they have access to water, to electricity. Their employees are trained by the state. They benefit from the social system but they don’t pay for it, they don’t pay their fair share and they know how to manage it so they don’t,” he said.

What Canadian companies have subsidiaries in Barbados? Statistics Canada could not provide the Star and the CBC with a list. Media relations officer Marie-Claude Deslandes first cited privacy reasons and then added that its business register group “don’t have any information on overseas operations, even those that operate from Canada.”

It is quite clear what needs to be done, Deneault said. “Canada needs to renegotiate the tax treaty with Barbados,” he said.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency's National Headquarters at the Connaught Building at 555 MacKenzie Avenue in Ottawa. The CRA receives little or no tax revenue from Corporations. The Canadian government continues to place the tax burden on the backs of middle class Canadian while providing legal mechanisms designed to allow Canadian Corporations to pay foreign countries minimal taxes. photo by fightyourtickets.ca
Canada Customs and Revenue Agency’s National Headquarters at the Connaught Building at 555 MacKenzie Avenue in Ottawa. The CRA receives little or no tax revenue from Corporations due to tax treaties with other countries. The Canadian government continues to place the tax burden on the backs of middle class Canadian while providing legal mechanisms designed to allow Canadian Corporations to pay foreign countries minimal taxes. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

Not every bureaucrat or politician thought tax treaties signed with tax havens or financially accommodating nations was a good idea.

When Bob Rae was a New Democratic Party MP representing Broadview-Greenwood in December 1980, he stood up and opposed Canada signing a tax treaty with Barbados, during the third reading of Bill S2, which ratified the treaty and several others with Korea, Italy, Austria, Italy, Romania and Spain.

“Certainly, the trend was already beginning in the 1970s and the trend has accelerated and I think the problem now is it is seen by companies as a basic part of their corporate planning to create places were they can park money away from the Canadian tax man or the American tax collector, wherever they may be,” Rae said from his law office at Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP, in downtown Toronto.

By 1992, Canadian government bureaucrats started to loudly complain about what they felt were unfair tax arrangements.

Denis Desautels, the former federal auditor general, released a report lambasting Ottawa for allowing massive tax deductions to occur because of the treaties and he wanted them fixed.

The AG’s concerns caused the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts to hold hearings and make recommendations to the finance ministry in 1993. But only slight legislative changes were made.

Paul Martin, owner of Canada Steamship Lines, became the Liberal finance minister in 1993. He was politically criticized by Progressive Conservative MP Joe Clark, at the time, for leaving Barbados out when he closed tax loopholes. (Martin eventually transferred his interest in CSL to his three sons when he ran for Liberal leader in 2003.)

In 1997, the finance ministry’s Technical Committee on Business Taxation discovered that foreign-owned multinationals were actually shifting debt into Canada and profits out.

The committee discovered a foreign affiliate of a foreign-owned Canadian corporation was used to move $500 million in capital gains from Canada to Barbados, tax-free.

In 2002, 10 years after Desautels’ report, former auditor general Sheila Fraser also criticized the government for inaction on this file.

While Fraser declined to speak to the Star and the CBC on the issue, on Dec. 3, 2002, in a news conference concerning the release of her report, she said:

“Tax rules that reduced tax revenues mean either higher taxes for other taxpayers or reductions in public expenditures and no one wants to pay someone else’s taxes.

“We first raised this issue a full decade ago and in 1997, the Minister of Finance’s Technical Committee on Business Taxation also sounded the alarm bell. It’s time to fix this,” she said.

By 2000, Canadian corporations received $1.5 billion of “virtually tax-free dividend income from their affiliates in Barbados, according to the 2002 auditor general’s report.

That is a jump from $400 million in 1990.

After a lifetime in politics and fighting against big corporate interests, Rae notes that the chickens have come home to roost. Canadian businesses have successfully diverted money offshore and the only one left to tax is the middle class.

“I think those of us who warned, 35 years ago, that one of the consequences of this would be, ‘those who have the most would end up paying the least and those with the least would end up paying the most’ — we’ve been proven right. ”

How Canada got into Bed with Tax Havens

Update:

Canadian companies have flocked to Barbados with their cash for decades in order to legally avoid paying Canadian taxes.
Canadian companies have flocked to Barbados with their cash for decades in order to legally avoid paying Canadian taxes. (The Associated Press)

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1980 treaty with tiny Barbados paved way for billions to legally flow offshore

Canada's Parliment, showcasing the Peace Tower in the middle. By 1987, Canada had signed more than 40 tax treaties with countries like Barbados, Jamaica and Malta, expanding to 92 by 2016. Billions of dollars are moving out of Canada – nearly all tax free – with 92 tax treaties signed. photo by fightyourtickets.ca
Canada’s Parliment, showcasing the Peace Tower in the middle. By 1987, Canada had signed more than 40 tax treaties with countries like Barbados, Jamaica and Malta, expanding to 92 by 2016. Billions of dollars are moving out of Canada – nearly all tax free – with 92 tax treaties signed by the Federal Gov’t.  photo by fightyourtickets.ca

On a cold December afternoon in 1980, with MPs’ voices echoing in the mostly empty chamber, the House of Commons debated a piece of legislation that has altered Canada’s economy profoundly.

Bill S-2 aimed to ratify a series of taxation treaties between Canada and countries like Spain, Korea, Austria and Italy. Also on the list: the tiny Caribbean island country of Barbados, population 250,000.

Before the final vote was called, a fresh-faced Bob Rae, at the time the NDP’s finance critic, rose to speak against it. Necktie askew, he warned that there had been precious little study of the consequences of signing a treaty that, like the one with Barbados, would drastically cut the tax rate for Canadian companies operating abroad.

Bob Rae in the House of Commons in 1980
A fresh-faced Bob Rae, the federal NDP’s finance critic at the time, rose in the House of Commons in December 1980 to warn about tax treaties Canada was signing. (CPAC)

“The government is entering into these tax treaties without being fully aware of the impact they will have on domestic taxation in Canada,” Rae said. “Money that is income and is not being taxed at the corporate level, on which the government receives no revenue, has the unfortunate effect of increasing the load of taxation on the average citizen.”

His protestations didn’t stop the bill. After another hour of tepid debate, with a quick murmur of assent from the Liberal and Conservative MPs, the House passed it and it was signed into law the next week.

Corporation's that take advantage of tax treaties deprive the Federal government coffers of billions of dollars annually. The 92 treaties in place means that Canada's middle class pay all of the bills. photo by fightyourtickets.ca
Corporation’s that take advantage of tax treaties deprive the Federal government coffers of billions of dollars annually. The 92 treaties in place means that Canada’s middle class pay all of the bills. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

Canada’s favourite tax haven

Fast-forward to today: Barbados, a tax haven, is the No. 3 destination for Canadian money going abroad. Corporations and wealthy Canadians have moved nearly $80 billion there — behind only the U.S. and U.K. as an investment destination. There’s more Canadian money parked in Barbados than in France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia combined.

The Caribbean island is arguably where Canada first seriously waded into the waters of offshore, legal tax avoidance. Canadian companies you might never expect — Petro Canada, Loblaws, Eldorado Gold — have had affiliates there for years, while Canadian banks have branches on many street corners.

“Barbados was like the entrance to the offshore network,” said Alain Deneault, a Quebec sociologist and university lecturer who has written several books about tax havens.

“You create a subsidiary in Barbados. You send to that subsidiary some assets, and from there on you may transfer the assets, once more, to another tax haven, to another subsidiary where Canada has no link.”

Part of the draw is Barbados’s corporate tax rate of between one and 2.5 per cent. And once that modest amount is paid, thanks to the 1980 tax treaty any leftover profits earned at a subsidiary based or linked to there can be brought back to Canada tax-free.

So while Apple routes its non-U.S. profits through Ireland and into the British Virgin Islands to avoid tax, and Google stashes its foreign earnings in Bermuda, the legal tax haven of choice for Canadian businesses’ foreign operations for many years was Barbados.

Alarms raised, but nothing done

It’s meant potentially huge revenue losses for the Canadian government — which federal auditors general have taken pains to point out multiple times.

In 1992, Auditor General Denis Desautels dedicated an entire section of his annual report to the “schemes” companies use to shrink their tax bills.

He pointed to a company, not named, that shifted $318 million in investments to a subsidiary in Barbados. The investments earned $37 million over just six months, on which a sliver of income tax was paid to Barbados. The rest could be sent back to Canada tax-free, and then paid out as dividends to the company’s shareholders — who themselves would enjoy generous dividend tax credits. Meanwhile, the parent company, having borrowed money to fund its subsidiary, deducted the interest it was paying as an expense and ended up with a loss on its books in Canada — so it paid no tax here.

“These tax rules are being used to … move Canadian corporations’ income offshore, and convert income of Canadian corporations into tax-free income,” Desautels wrote. “It is reasonable to conclude that hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue have already been lost.”

Parliament held hearings in the wake of those concerns, and small tweaks were made, but nothing to shut down the free flow of money from Canada into the Caribbean.

A decade later, the next auditor general, Sheila Fraser, again flagged the issue, writing that Canadian companies took in “$1.5 billion of virtually tax-free dividend income from their affiliates in Barbados” in 2000. “Tax arrangements for foreign affiliates have eroded Canadian tax revenues of hundreds of millions of dollars over the last 10 years,” she said.

More havens, not fewer

Groups of MPs have tried several times over the years to staunch the tax bleeding. In 2005, Bloc Québécois MP Guy Côté introduced a motion, in vain, to shut down the Barbados schemes. His party has another, similar measure in front of Parliament now.

But instead of curtailing legal, offshore tax avoidance, Canada has effectively broadened it.

Since 2009, Ottawa has signed a rash of deals with two dozen other tax havens. Called tax information exchange agreements, they are designed to compel offshore locales such as the Cayman Islands, Liechtenstein and the Isle of Man to cough up details on Canadians who have money and accounts there.

In exchange, Canada grants each of those countries the same treatment as Barbados — Canadian companies are able to set up subsidiaries there and bring home business profits tax-free.

The outflow of money from Canada into tax havens has only proliferated.

Graph of Canadian foreign direct investment in TIEA countries
Since Canada put in force a new series of accords with tax havens in 2011, billions of dollars have shifted from here to those countries. This graph shows total amounts parked in those tax havens, by year. (CBC)

Sociologist Deneault says it’s fundamentally unfair.

“These corporations benefit from public infrastructures. They use roads, they have access to water, to electricity. Their employees are trained by the state. They benefit from the social system. But they don’t pay for it,” he said. “They don’t pay their fair share and they know how to manage it so they don’t.”

Rae: 1980 view ‘still stands’

Looking back, Bob Rae feels vindicated. Watching the footage of his younger self during an interview last week, he said the argument he was making 36 years ago in the Commons “still stands.”

“You have a means for people who are rich enough and people who are shrewd or clever enough, they can move their money around from one jurisdiction to another depending on the tax rates and the tax treatments of that money, whether it is individuals or companies,” he said.

“And eventually in order to pay the bills, [governments] have to increase personal taxation.”


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Toronto: Changing the Police Culture

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The Transformational Task Force, co-chaired by Toronto police board chair Andy Pringle and Chief Mark Saunders, released this week an interim report containing changes aimed at reducing growing costs, improving public trust and modernizing operations. Recommendations include a three-year freeze on hiring and promotions, closure of some police stations and the erasure of historic patrol boundaries. photo by fightyourtickets.ca
The Transformational Task Force, co-chaired by Toronto police board chair Andy Pringle and Chief Mark Saunders, released this week an interim report containing changes aimed at reducing growing costs, improving public trust and modernizing operations. Recommendations include a three-year freeze on hiring and promotions, closure of some police stations and the erasure of historic patrol boundaries. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

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Changing the culture of policing will be one of the Transformational task Force’s greatest challenges, say policing experts

The task force struck to modernize policing in Toronto calls culture change the “essential underpinning” of its ambitious set of recommendations released this week.

“Our culture has been slow to change, and we want to quicken the pace,” reads the report from the Toronto police and its civilian board, released this week.

File that under ‘easier said than done,’ say some policing experts.

“The culture of policing has been profoundly and deeply resistant to change,” said Paul McKenna, an adjunct professor at Dalhousie University and public safety consultant who has worked with Toronto police and the RCMP.

The so-called Transformational Task Force, co-chaired by Toronto police board chair Andy Pringle and Chief Mark Saunders, released this week an interim report containing changes aimed at reducing growing costs, improving public trust and modernizing operations.

Recommendations include a three-year freeze on hiring and promotions, closure of some police stations and the erasure of historic patrol boundaries.

It also places a strong emphasis on a culture shift — including moving away from traditional, law-and-order model and towards community-centred policing.

How that change can be achieved will be detailed in the final report due in December, following a public consultation process. But the task force says it will involve changes to hiring and training, and partnerships with academic institutions.

Scot Wortley, a criminologist at the University of Toronto, said the importance placed on a cultural shift in the report strongly reminded him of a previous attempt (in 2007) to fundamentally change policing culture, called Project Charter.

In that collaboration with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the Toronto police undertook the project to eliminate discrimination in its policing and employment practices.

Toronto police meet in front of the Rogers Centre before the opening ceremony for the Pan Am Games in July. Security for the games was budgeted at $64 million.
The Toronto police board is considering moving away from traditional, law-and-order model and towards community-centred policing. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

“But it was one of these examples of coming in like a lion with the big press conference and a lot of enthusiasm, and then five years later went out like a lamb with the actual evaluation conceded that nothing much had changed or had been done,” Wortley said.

Why change is such a difficult task within police organizations is typically due to a potent combination of strong unions, an ingrained paramilitary structure and the thin-blue-line mentality, says McKenna.

“Even the most virtuous, ethical, noble-minded cop is going to protect his own, no matter what,” he said. “When it comes to police executives, they still want to protect their own culture. So how is someone who is embedded and has invested their whole life in promoting this culture, how are they going to be the ones to say presto-chango?”

http://fightyourtickets.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/P4243937_7122.jpg
The so-called Transformational Task Force, co-chaired by Toronto police board chair Andy Pringle and Chief Mark Saunders, released this week an interim report containing changes aimed at reducing growing costs, improving public trust and modernizing operations. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, an assistant professor of criminology at the University of Toronto, said he was “very skeptical” about the prospects of a major cultural shift — in part because key elements of policing are outside Toronto police jurisdiction.

That includes the Police Services Act, the legislation governing policing in Ontario, as well as the Ontario Police College, attended by all new police recruits in the province.

“That’s where they first enter the policing world,” Owusu-Bempah said.

But there’s reason to be hopeful real cultural change could happen within Toronto police, said Michael Kempa, associate professor of criminology at the University of Ottawa — thanks in part to other changes suggested by the task force.

While hiring is put on hold for three years, the police service will have time to develop practices to attract the right people to the force, Meanwhile, through attrition, the force will lose some of ‘the old guard” who may be more resistant to change, Kempa said.

“Get the set of promotions and hiring criteria right, get the core mandate of the organization correct, and then go forward gang busters,” he said.

Ontario: Child Benefit Won’t be Clawed Back from Families on Social Assistance

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http://pantone201.ca/webskins/mpp/photos/8328_59__TFMF_3feciu45b5ddfq55kjr51i55_edce16e7-3f7d-4df3-b8dc-a046cfea3a07_0_PhotoUp.jpg
Ontario won’t claw back money from families on welfare when Ottawa’s new child benefit payments begin in July.  All vulnerable children must be supported and looked after.

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Ontario families on social assistance will not face provincial clawbacks when the new Canada Child Benefit kicks in on July 1, government officials confirmed Friday.

As a result, almost 260,000 children in families who rely on Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program will benefit from the full amount of their federal child benefit payment.

The new program replaces the current child benefit and supplement as well as the taxable Universal Child Care Benefit with a single non-taxable benefit.

http://i.cbc.ca/1.3093499.1432931263!/fileImage/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/16x9_620/cbc.jpg
Ontario’s Community and Social Services Minister Helena Jaczek. She said putting the full amount of the Canada Child Benefit in the hands of families instead of clawing it back to subsidize existing provincial programs is a crucial way of helping vulnerable children and families.

The average Canadian family is expected to receive an additional $2,300 a year under the new initiative.

Families with incomes below $30,000 will receive the maximum benefit of $6,400 annually per child under age 6 and $5,400 for each child age 6 to 17. The vast majority of Ontario families receiving social assistance will receive these maximum amounts, officials said.

The extra money will not affect eligibility for child-care subsidies, the province’s dental program for low-income children, rent-geared-to-income subsidies or portable housing benefits, they added.

“I am proud that Ontario has taken action to make these important changes, and that we are working with the federal government to fight child poverty,” Community and Social Services Helena Jaczek said in a statement.

“Putting the full amount of the Canada Child Benefit in the hands of families instead of clawing it back to subsidize existing provincial programs is a crucial way to help the most vulnerable children and families in our province.” she added.

Canada's Parliment. The Trudeau government promised to look after families before being elected in October. In March 2016 he delivered his first budget and a new tax-free Canada child benefit was announced beginning on July 1, 2016. The Liberals believe that the Canada Child Benefit will pull about 300,000 children out of poverty. photo by fightyourtickets.ca
Canada’s Parliment. The Trudeau government promised to look after families before being elected in October. In March 2016 he delivered his first budget and a new tax-free Canada child benefit was announced beginning on July 1, 2016. The Liberals believe that the Canada Child Benefit will pull about 300,000 children out of poverty, some 50,000 of them in the GTA.  photo by fightyourtickets.ca

Anti-poverty groups criticized Ontario and other provinces for clawing back benefits from families on social assistance under Ottawa’s national child benefit supplement, introduced in 1998. They urged Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government to prohibit the practice when the Canada Child Benefit is introduced.

Although the new program has no such prohibitions, Families, Children and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos told the Star earlier this month that he was not aware of any province or territory planning to claw back the benefit from families on welfare.

Anti-poverty advocates praised Ontario’s announcement.

“Ontario’s decisive action to prevent clawbacks on the new Canada Child Benefit will ensure that the most vulnerable families in our province receive a much needed income security boost,” said Pedro Barata of the Toronto and York Region United Way.

“This is a great example of how different levels of government can work together to fight poverty and drive tangible results that will be good for our communities.”

 

Toronto: TTC to Permanently Eliminate All Sunday-Only Bus/Streetcar Stops

Update:

TTC streetcars. Last year, the TTC removed all 41 Sunday-only streetcar stops in the city. TTC is removing all remaining 28 Sunday-only bus stops by June 19.
TTC streetcars. Last year, the TTC removed all 41 Sunday-only streetcar stops in the city. TTC is removing all remaining 28 Sunday-only bus stops by June 19. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

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By Father’s Day, All Sunday-Only Bus/Streetcar Stops will be permanently eliminated.

TTC Bus. By Father's Day, all Sunday-only bus stops will be gone. Sunday stops, which were established in the 1920’s to reduce walking distance to nearby churches, are, at an average of about 125 metres away, too close to existing adjacent regular stops. photo by fightyourtickets.ca
TTC Bus. By Father’s Day, all Sunday-only bus stops will be gone. Sunday stops, which were established in the 1920’s to reduce walking distance to nearby churches, are, at an average of about 125 metres away, too close to existing adjacent regular stops. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

TTC service improvements and changes

As of June 19, 2016, several services changes will take effect and include: new or improved services, permanent service changes, discontinuation of routes, removal of Sunday-only bus stops, and removal of streetcar stops. View all Service Changes.

Often streetcars bunch up and passengers enter and exit both the front and rear doors of streetcars.
Often streetcars bunch up and passengers enter and exit both the front and rear doors of streetcars. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

New/Improved service

Permanent Service Changes

  • 24D Victoria Park – Branch discontinued
  • 35 Jane – Routing change
  • 172 Cherry Street – Route discontinued
  • 224 Victoria Park North – Route discontinued

Removal of Sunday-only bus stops

TTC is removing all remaining 28 Sunday-only bus stops by June 19. Last year, the TTC removed all 41 Sunday-only streetcar stops in the city. Sunday stops, which were established in the 1920’s to reduce walking distance to nearby churches, are, at an average of about 125 metres away, too close to existing adjacent regular stops — transportation best practices state that bus stops should be 300 to 400 metres apart. The TTC is removing the stops for safety reasons as well, as none are located at signalized intersections or crosswalks.

Removal/relocation of streetcar stops

To improve pedestrian safety and customer journey times, the TTC is also removing 13 streetcar stops by June 19 and relocating another 28 stops along Broadview Avenue, Dundas Street West, Gerrard Street East, Kingston Road, King Street East, King Street West, McCaul Street, Queen Street East and Queen Street West this year.

TTC is constantly making changes in an effort to make this public transit system safer and more efficient. photo by fightyourtickets.ca
TTC is constantly making changes in an effort to make this public transit system safer and more efficient. photo by fightyourtickets.ca