PRESTO partners with Aecon to help provide access to transit for Urban Indigenous Peoples

Usually when we write about PRESTO, it’s about using the system to take customers further. But this story is about a unique collaboration that’s helping reduce barriers to access to transit.

Metrolinx has partnered with well-known Canadian construction company, Aecon Group Inc., to provide PRESTO cards to two Toronto Urban Indigenous organizations.

As an organization that operates on the traditional and treaty territory of many Nations, Metrolinx is committed to working with the original keepers of this territory and the many diverse Indigenous People living here today.

Image shows a map of southern Ontario.
Here’s a good look at the many treaties and reserves in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region of Ontario. (Metrolinx graphic)

As part of this commitment, the transit agency has begun building relationships with Urban Indigenous agencies and organizations, who act as a main resource and support system for Urban Indigenous peoples. These organizations provide important insights about the communities they serve – including the positive impacts that come with access to transit.

Metrolinx is always looking to find ways to address gaps in access to transit and identify new and better ways to work with its many partners to support the communities it serves.

Metrolinx has partnered with Aecon Group Inc. to provide PRESTO cards to Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training and Native Canadian Centre of Toronto.

Image shows a new design on a PRESTO card.
A unique PRESTO was designed for this initiative by local Indigenous artist Karly Cywink. The design is inspired by Indigenous beadwork, patterns and the vibrant colours of regalia – paying homage to both traditional Indigenous Culture and the City of Toronto. (Metrolinx photo)

Aecon Group Inc. has been and continues to be involved in building some of Toronto’s largest transit projects including the Bloor-Danforth Subway, UP Express, Eglinton Crosstown and the Finch West LRT project.

Jean-Louis Sevranckx, President and CEO of Aecon Group Inc. said: “Aecon is proud to partner with Metrolinx to connect clients of Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment & Training and the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto with public transit access.”

Metrolinx’s mandate is to look for ways to serve every transit user better and make riders feel safe on buses and trains. There are still many barriers to transit that exist for Indigenous Peoples. Metrolinx believes this partnership is one way it can help support First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples.

 “Giving back to the communities we build is part of our unwavering commitment to foster inclusive and collaborative relationships with Indigenous communities,” Sevranckx added.

Image of a PRESTO card being used ot a machine.
The PRESTO cards are ready to use as not only the City, but Ontario gets moving again. (Metrolinx photo)

Metrolinx CEO, Phil Verster, said the partnership between the transit agency and Aecon is a great initiative to make transit more accessible for Indigenous People in Toronto.

“This is the type of opportunity and partnership that helps Indigenous Peoples, ensuring no one is left behind.  We continuously look for such opportunities to listen to our community, to hear what is required and to take action,” said Verster.

Need help in using PRESTO or want to know more about the system? Just go here.

Story by Laura Durie, Metrolinx community relations and issues specialist.