TTC CEO asks for more emergency spending power amid transit violence concerns

The chief executive of the Toronto Transit Commission is seeking more emergency spending authority, which could be used to extend contracts for 50 temporary security guards brought on in the wake of a number of violent transit incidents.

The request, backed by the TTC board at a meeting on Tuesday, would bump CEO Rick Leary's delegated spending authority on emergency contracts and purchases to $15 million.

The TTC says the money could be used to have 50 contract security guards continue patrolling until early October, or "until the services are no longer required."

The TTC says a $500,000 contract for 50 temporary security guards, who started patrolling earlier this month, covers about seven weeks of service.

While city council will need to authorize the withdrawal of the $15 million from the TTC reserves, the board backed the request Tuesday with an amendment that Leary provide the board with detailed updates on his emergency spending.

The money could also be used to extend contracts for 20 community safety ambassadors, trained in mental health and crisis intervention, who provide homeless outreach services.

Those initiatives are due to be assessed in April and the TTC says emergency funds would only be used as required.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2023.

The Canadian Press