Study Shows Toronto Pearson's Economic Impact

Preliminary findings from a new study by Frontier Economics quantifies the economic impact of Toronto Pearson after a period of unprecedented passenger growth the past five years. The report, Toronto Pearson’s Economic Impact, serves as an update to a study in 2011, which sought to capture the complete picture of the unique contribution that Toronto Pearson makes to the regional and Ontario economies.

The updated study shows that, since 2011, Toronto Pearson’s economic impact at the national and local level has grown substantially. Some primary findings show:

  • On-going operation of Toronto Pearson generates 49,000 jobs, up from 40,000 in 2011. These include jobs like taxi-drivers, baggage handlers, flight crew and security staff.
  • Toronto Pearson’s labour force grew 2.6 times faster than the Province of Ontario’s from May 2011 to May 2016.
  • In total, Toronto Pearson generates or facilitates 332,000 jobs, which accounts for six per cent of Ontario’s labour force and $36.7 billion (or 6 per cent) of Ontario’s GDP.

“As Toronto Pearson continues to grow as one of the world’s premiere global hub airports, we increasingly see that its economic impact extends beyond its role as an international gateway,” said Howard Eng President and CEO, Greater Toronto Airports Authority.  “This study shows how the growth of Toronto Pearson’s operations –even within a considerably brief period of time– directly correlate to significant job creation and GDP contribution, serving as an important economic engine for all of Canada.”

Toronto Pearson will be publishing Frontier Economics’ full report later this month.

Growth: challenges and opportunities

Passenger traffic at the airport has grown by greater than six per cent in 2014 and 2015, and Toronto Pearson expects to see similar growth in 2016. Toronto Pearson anticipates that by 2030 it will see passengers traffic numbers of about 65-70 million annually; with aviation passenger demand across Southern Ontario growing to 90 million annually by 2043.

This growth means that today passengers can reach more than 67 per cent of the world’s economies through daily, non-stop flights from Toronto Pearson. However, traffic congestion and increasing commute times mean that there needs to be significant investments to improve public transit access to the airport and Airport Megazone, the second largest employment area in the country. This massive concentration of employment, in a region severely underserved higher-order transit, makes the Airport Megazone the single largest source of car trips in our region –nearly one million car trips every single day. Improving the Airport Megazone’s transit connectivity to surrounding regions will be critical to allowing the airport to continue on its growth trajectory, while supporting the development of this important employment area.


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