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Stakeholder Advisory Group

Terms of Reference

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The Relief Line Project Assessment Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) has been created as a forum for community leaders, advocates and experts to become involved in the study process to plan the Relief Line.

The Relief Line Project Assessment

The City of Toronto and the TTC are undertaking a study, known as the “Relief Line Project Assessment” to establish the preferred technology, alignment, and station location options, for a new rapid transit line linking the downtown core with the Bloor-Danforth Subway, between Broadview and Coxwell subway stations.

The main purpose of this new rapid transit line is to relieve overcrowding on the Yonge Subway line, address congestion at the Bloor-Yonge transfer station and provide new transit capacity to take pressure off the surface transit network within the study area on the surface transit network in the study area.

Toronto City Council approved the Terms of Reference and Public Consultation Plan for the Relief Line Project Assessment at its meeting of June 10, 11, 12 and 13, 2014. The project will proceed in four phases:

  1. Problem Statement and Rationale for the Project
  2. Evaluation Framework and Long List of Options
  3. Evaluation of the Long List of Options
  4. Evaluation of Shortlisted Options and Recommended Option

Roles and Responsibilities

The Relief Line Project Assessment is a complex project involving many individuals and groups.

Project Team

The Project Team is made up of staff representing City Planning, the TTC and other City Divisions as required. The Project Team also includes consultants acting as agents of the City and TTC. Project Team members will act as resources at SAG meetings. They will provide information, answer questions, explain processes, etc.

The project team is responsible for managing the technical and public engagement aspects of the project. The project team will make recommendations to decision-makers based on both technical aspects of the project and feedback received through engagement activities. Input from the SAG will be prioritized by the project team.

Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG)

The SAG is a group of community leaders representing the interests of residents, businesses, institutions and other groups. The active participation of stakeholders within the study area and from the broader city is a critical component of the project.

While the SAG's participation is extremely important, the SAG does not have any binding decision-making authority. Formal and informal output of the SAG will be used as prioritized advice by the City's project team. While every effort will be made to respond to or incorporate the input and comments of this group, final decision on all design aspects rests with the Project Team and other City representatives. All final decisions the City and other City representative make collaboratively with members of the public will be brought forward to Council for approval.


Through the establishment of the SAG, the City will:

  1. Inform and educate community leaders about the project,
  2. Provide community leaders the opportunity to ask questions of experts and discuss the project with other community leaders, and
  3. Solicit advice, address concerns and incorporate input from community leaders into the study.


The SAG has a maximum of 55 members. Membership will include:

  • representatives of resident associations,
  • representatives of business associations (including Business Improvement Areas),
  • representatives of local institutions and organizations,
  • other organized professional and interest groups, and
  • individual residents, business owners and land owners.

 A comprehensive list of potential members will be established by City staff with input from local Councillors. Councillors will have input to ensure the comprehensive list reflects a broad range of residents / represented resident groups, business owners / represented business groups, and individuals who represent specific interests.

The wards within the study area are:

  • Ward 20 – Trinity-Spadina
  • Ward 27 – Toronto Centre-Rosedale
  • Ward 28 – Toronto Centre-Rosedale
  • Ward 29 – Toronto Danforth
  • Ward 30 – Toronto Danforth
  • Ward 32 – Beaches-East York

City Councillors or their staff are not eligible to be SAG members, but are invited to attend and observe SAG meetings.

City staff will review the comprehensive list of stakeholders and select potential members from this list.

Generally, members will be selected to represent a broad range of relevant interests:

  • 15% members will be residents or represent resident groups
  • 25% members will be business owners or represent business groups
  • 35% members will be organized professional and interest groups with specific interests (e.g. professional organizations, affordable housing, active transportation, social equity, etc.)
  • 25% members will be local institutions or large land owners (e.g. schools, churches, TDSB, community health centres, large private land owners, etc.)

Generally, members will be selected to represent a broad geography within and outside of the study area:

  • 75% of members will represent interests within the study area
  • 25% will represent interests from the broader city

SAG members who represent an organization will be encouraged to identify an alternate representative from the same organization who will be able to attend SAG meetings if the first representative is not able to attend.

Local Councillors will have input to ensure the final list best reflects the range of interests.

The selected members will be invited to join the Stakeholder Advisory Group.


Members are appointed for the duration of the Relief Line Project Assessment, commencing in January, 2015. The study is expected to be complete by early 2016.


The SAG will meet throughout the Relief Line Project Assessment. One regular meeting will take place a key milestones during the study (approximately three meetings).

Regular meetings will be formatted as workshops lasting about two hours. A typical workshop may include:

  • A formal presentation by the project team or other experts (e.g. Provincial Government officials, academic experts, etc.) on an issue for consideration
  • Short question and answer session
  • Working sessions designed to solicit feedback about the issue
  • Brief report back
  • Informal networking

Issues that will be addressed in each phase:

Phase 1B/2: Problems and opportunities, Evaluation criteria to be applied to long list of options

Phase 3: Short list of options

Phase 4: Recommended option

Additional meetings may be held as determined by the Project Team. The format of additional meetings will be tailored to the purpose of the meeting. The SAG may also be consulted between meetings by other methods such as online surveys or the striking of ad hoc working groups.

Experts in subjects relevant to the project may participate in SAG meetings from time to time but will not be considered SAG members. Experts will help to inform members, provide context and answer questions, but their advice will not form part of the SAG's outputs.


All agendas, materials presented and outcomes of SAG meetings will be made public (shared on the City's website) to demonstrate transparency and assist SAG members' communication with their constituents and networks about the project.


SAG meetings will be held in a public venue such as a civic building, community centre, school, library, etc. within or very near to the project study area. Meeting locations will be barrier-free and easily accessible by public transit.


City Staff will circulate meeting invitations and agendas to SAG members a minimum of two weeks prior to any SAG meeting.


Meetings of the SAG will be chaired and facilitated by a City staff person or consultant working for the City. The role of the facilitator will be to ensure that meeting agendas are adhered to, that all opinions represented are heard and that any advice from the SAG is clearly articulated.


A minute-taker provided by the City will record notes at all meetings. City staff will incorporate the notes into a meeting report that will be circulated in draft form to SAG members within three weeks of each meeting. Members will be able to provide comments on the draft meeting report for one week after circulation. Once the comments are incorporated, a final meeting report will be made available to members and on the City's website.


All communications will be in English; translation services will not be available for SAG meetings.

Any member requiring accommodation should make this requirement known to City staff who will ensure communications are provided in a barrier-free manner.

Distribution of meeting materials, agendas and reports will be by electronic mail.


Questions about the SAG and these Terms of Reference may be directed to:

Stella Gustavson
Program Manager, Transit Implementation Unit
Transportation Planning
City of Toronto