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Media Release

Proposed Changes Could Put 1.5M Jobs at Risk

An overhead shot of the GTA West Economic Gateway

TORONTO, ON – Today, the Toronto Region Board of Trade released a new report titled The Race for Space: Securing the Future of Ontario’s Employment Lands in response to land use policy changes coming from the Government of Ontario. Ontario’s employment lands are areas set aside for industrial, commercial, institutional, and office use, and are currently protected by municipal and provincial policies. Proposed changes to the Provincial Planning Statement 2023 and Bill 97 threaten to put these already shrinking lands in jeopardy. At risk are more than 1.5 million jobs and the base of a diversified regional economy that contributes 25 percent of Canada’s GDP.  

“Employment lands house 40% of all jobs in the region and a staggering 88% of manufacturing jobs,” said Giles Gherson, President and CEO of Toronto Region Board and Trade. “We cannot overstate how important employment lands are to protecting our region’s economic future. When the lands are gone, so are the jobs and our region’s competitiveness and prosperity.” 

Employment lands are woven into the fabric of the Toronto Region, ensuring appropriate buffers from residential communities, and proximity to talent, transportation, markets, and supply chains. Removing protections for these lands will impose significant constraints on the ability of businesses to invest, grow, export, and create high-value jobs. The report calls for a balanced approach that secures a sufficient inventory of employment lands while also supporting housing goals, and offers five recommendations:  

  • Protect and plan the future of strategically important employment lands
  • Formalize buffers and transition zones for industrial lands
  • Include a process to analyze the cumulative economic impact of conversion proposals that balances the needs for housing and the economy 
  • Identify where housing can potentially be located strategically on employment lands
  • Create a regional inventory of employment lands as a first step to underpin a comprehensive employment and industrial lands strategy

To learn more, view our full report here.

About The Toronto Region Board of Trade

The Toronto Region Board of Trade is one of the largest and most influential business chambers in North America and is a catalyst for the region’s economic agenda. We pursue policy change to drive the growth and competitiveness of the Toronto region and facilitate market opportunities with programs, partnerships and connections to help our members succeed – domestically and internationally.

Media Contact 

Jason Chapman, Manager, Communications & Media Relations