Divestment of Ontario Northland Transportation Commission

Northern Ontario
Project Type:
Infrastructure Type:
Government of Ontario

About the Project:

In March 2012, the province announced plans to divest commercially valuable assets of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC), while maintaining vital public services the ONTC delivers, particularly for isolated communities where no alternatives exist.

Infrastructure Ontario has leveraged its extensive experience in procuring large projects and its track record of providing value for money to taxpayers to advise the government on the ONTC divestment.

Ontera, ONTC's telecommunications subsidiary, was the first of the ONTC business lines to be put up for sale. 

  • During this phase, Infrastructure Ontario, supported by external advisors, worked with the province and ONTC to gather information about the subsidiary and prepare it for sale.

Request for qualifications - issued October 2, 2012 and closed October 25, 2012

  • Infrastructure Ontario released a request for qualifications inviting interested buyers to submit their qualifications to purchase Ontera.
  • The request for qualifications process pre-qualified and short-listed potential buyers with the required experience, expertise and financial strength to operate Ontera.

Request for proposals phase - issued December 17, 2012 and closed February 8, 2013

  • Infrastructure Ontario released a request for proposals (RFP) inviting pre-qualified buyers to submit formal proposals to purchase, manage and operate Ontera, a full service telecommunications company.
  • On February 8, 2013, potential buyers submitted proposals to purchase, manage and operate Ontera.
  • In their proposals, pre-qualified buyers were required to commit to key conditions of the RFP documents, including regulatory service requirements.

Transformation of ONTC - announced April 4, 2014

  • The Province of Ontario has reached agreement with Bell Aliant to purchase Ontera, the telecommunications subsidiary of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC).
  • The sale of Ontera ensures continued quality telecommunications services, sustainable jobs, investment in northern Ontario and the best value to taxpayers.
  • In addition to $6 million in proceeds, the sale of Ontera will result in long-term revenue to the ONTC estimated at $10 million. The province and Bell Aliant will each commit $15.1 million as part of a $30.2 million public-private investment in telecommunications infrastructure in northeastern Ontario.
  • The government intends to invest more than $38 million to transform the ONTC. $23 million of the new investment will be used over three years to purchase new, accessible motor coaches for ONTC's bus line and to refurbish passenger rail coaches for the Polar Bear Express.  These investments are subject to annual budget approvals.
  • For more information, please visit: http://www.mndm.gov.on.ca/en/northern-development/transportation-support/ontario-northland-transportation-commission.