The Basics

The Airport Megazone (AMZ) covers 15,230 hectares surrounding and including Pearson International Airport. This area, about six times as large as downtown Toronto, contained 297,990[1]  jobs in 2011. By our estimation,[2] that makes the AMZ the second-most significant employment concentration in the country, after downtown Toronto, with 464,650 jobs. There is relatively little residential development in the area, due in part to airport-related development restrictions – about 67,000 people lived in the area in 2011.

The Airport Megazone spans four jurisdictions: the cities of Mississauga, Brampton, and Toronto, and the Region of Peel. It is also subject to planning by the Greater Toronto Airports Authority. Given this jurisdictional fragmentation, the AMZ has not been recognized nor planned for as the significant economic and urban centre that it is.

Employment in the district has been growing, increasing by 22,550 jobs between 2001 and 2011. This represents 7% of the growth in jobs across the entire Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) during that period.

Most of the jobs found in the megazone are in “core” employment – that is, employment in tradeable goods and services that drive the regional economy and bring in revenues from outside the region.[3] There were 245,180 core jobs in the megazone in 2011, a net increase of 10,660 core jobs since 2001. While core employment in the megazone grew between 2001 and 2011, the GGH as a whole experienced a net loss of 3,110 core jobs, largely due to deindustrialization; the manufacturing sector alone lost 183,925 jobs in this period. Much of the region’s growth since 2001 has been in non-core (that is, population-related) sectors, which grew by 76,640 jobs. (See Table 1 in the Appendix.)


[1]Unless otherwise noted, all employment numbers quoted in this brief represent employment with a usual place of work only – jobs without a usual place of work and home-based jobs are not included. The data are drawn from the Census of Canada place of work data.

[2] Planning for Prosperity, p. 42.

[3] As distinct from “population-related” employment that serves local population, such as retail, personal services, and local schools.