April 13, 2024

Loc report – Canada: Process to qualify up to three main candidates to build high-frequency link between Quebec and Toronto begins

Photos by VIA Rail.

On 02/17/2023, Canada’s Minister of Transport, the Honorable Omar Alcabra, and Canadian Heritage Minister and Quebec Lieutenant, the Honorable Pablo Rodriguez, announced an important step in the procurement process for high-frequency rail. ) scheme announced.


The objective of the call is to identify and qualify three leading candidates who will be invited to a request for proposals, with the process expected to begin in the summer of 2023. The tender process will help select a private development partner to work with VIA HFR, a newly formed subsidiary of VIA Rail, to design and develop the high-frequency rail project.

The Request for Qualifications (DQ/RFQ) is the next step to the Request for Expressions of Interest (Demande de declarations d’intérêt) published in March 2022. The DQ/RFQ begins the formal procurement process and provides an overview of:

• the environment and characteristics of the high-frequency rail project (eg current challenges on the corridor, scope and objectives of the project);
• Procurement process including scoring criteria for evaluation of proposals, security requirements for bidders, financial support for proposal development during DP/RFP process and key principles of commercial contract for implementation phase;
• Key stakeholders in the project (eg VIA HFR, private promoter, VIA Rail, Canadian government) and how they will work together; And
• Project outcomes that the private development partner aims to achieve or exceed (eg shorter journey times, more frequent departures, more reliable service, etc.).

The procurement process for high-frequency trains is designed to encourage innovation, provide flexibility and find the optimal solution for the project. Therefore, participants in the tender have the opportunity to consider alternatives to meet or exceed the project results described in the tender. If it is cost-effective, this includes the possibility of increasing speeds above 200 km/h on some sections of the high-frequency rail project.

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To be eligible for the tender, the tender participants must demonstrate the ability to reconcile with the indigenous people by developing the project in a way that creates mutually beneficial socio-economic development opportunities.

In addition to leveraging the knowledge and expertise of international private companies experienced in the development of large infrastructure projects, implementing the high-frequency rail project will require significant Canadian expertise, Canadian labor and Canadian companies at all stages of the project, including construction. and function. The Government of Canada will encourage private development partnerships to maximize economic benefits for Canadians and Canadian suppliers while respecting Canada’s rules-based approach to international trade.


Transport Minister Omar Alcabra: “The tender is an important step in the procurement process for the high-frequency railway project. TGF will reduce pollution in the transport sector, provide better and faster service to passengers and create good jobs for the middle class.”

Pablo Rodríguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Quebec Lt. Minister: “With the new step announced today, Quebec’s high-frequency rail project is moving forward rapidly. Quebecers deserve a world-class rail system, and that’s what we’re doing well. Jobs create and spur growth in our economy.”

Helena Jaczek, Minister of Public Services and Procurement: “Our government is committed to conducting an open, fair and transparent procurement process to enable high-frequency transit for Canadians. Through this tender, Canada invites the best developers, operators and designers to compete. The opportunity to present their proposals for the planning and implementation of this significant project. .”

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Annie Koutrakis, Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State for Transport: “Today’s announcement is a milestone on the road to making high-frequency rail a reality and an opportunity for the private sector to deliver better, faster and safer rail travel. It will improve competitiveness by effectively connecting our cities on a corridor that meets future needs.”

Brief facts

The TGF will transform intercity passenger rail service in Quebec City into a multi-way Toronto corridor.

• Frequent links;
• More reliable and timely services;
• Reducing travel times. For example, commuters between Toronto and Ottawa will save at least 90 minutes;
• Launching new services to Peterborough and Trois-Rivières; And
• Providing a greener travel option for the rail system by using electrified technology.

As with any major infrastructure project, the Government of Canada is taking a phased approach to use input gathered during the procurement process to inform next steps and decisions related to the implementation of the high-frequency rail project.

The Canadian government implements a sound cost management strategy for each phase of the project to ensure cost containment. The strategy includes annual cost updates, periodic and open reporting to manage costs and report changes. Partners are encouraged to innovate and reduce costs to achieve better value for money while maintaining the common good.

In Budget 2022, nearly $400 million (€278 million) was provided to Transport Canada and Infrastructure Canada over two years starting in 2022-23 to further advance key project activities and begin the procurement phase of the project.

Next Steps in High Frequency Railway Procurement Process:

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• Evaluation of submitted eligibility requirements and determination of eligible participants: April-July 2023
• Issue of DP/RFP Call for Tender: August-September 2023
• Evaluation of submitted Requests for Quotations DP/RFP: Summer 2024

The Government of Canada is committed to engaging the public, including the communities currently served by VIA rail between Quebec City and Toronto, and building meaningful country-to-country relationships with Indigenous peoples to continue to improve the design and development of the project. Anyone wishing to provide feedback on the program, ask questions, or sign up for program updates is invited to visit the VIA HFR website.

The Canadian government is exploring ways to improve intercity passenger service in southwestern Ontario. Work is underway to better understand the operating environment in Southwestern Ontario and explore options to improve service west of Toronto, including London and Windsor.

WKZ, Source Transport Canada