Greater Toronto Area

The GTA’s central economic challenge is grappling with its own success: how to keep people and products moving in the face of sustained, explosive growth.

The Greater Toronto Area is Ontario’s economic engine. It accounted for more than 90% of the Province’s net new jobs between 2003 and 2018 and consistently tops the charts of North America’s fastest growing regions.1 Over the next two decades, the GTA’s population is expected to surge from 7 million to nearly 10 million people.

A cornerstone of economic competitiveness is the efficient and reliable movement of talent and goods. We spoke to Canada’s leading economic minds — including big bank economists, renowned academic voices and the leaders of industry associations, whose members live and breathe competition — and they consistently ranked traffic congestion and lack of transit connectivity across the GTA as Ontario’s most challenging economic problem, if not the nation’s. Some estimates put the cost to the economy of all this traffic at $6 billion each year, not counting the enormous contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.2,3 That is simply not sustainable. Traffic volumes in the GTA can be expected to return to and eventually exceed pre-pandemic levels. Multiple large projects are required to address this barrier to economic competitiveness.

Major investments in new roadway and transit infrastructure have already been made in recent years, and more are planned to begin construction soon. Projects like the Highway 407 East Extension are already operational.

In addition, several 400-series highway projects in the region and Metrolinx’s landmark Regional Express Rail, one of the largest infrastructure projects in the country, are well-advanced or in construction. These projects are important and Ontario REALTORS® support them wholeheartedly. They didn’t make our Top 10 list because they’re already underway. Our list is designed to get decision-makers to think about the next tranche of projects that need support and sponsorship. Our focus on the next wave reflects the fact that it will take sustained effort and attention to buttress the GTA’s recent and future growth coming out of the pandemic.

An Eastern GTA Transit Hub

The number of transit projects in the region that are currently in the planning stages should be tied together with other modes of existing transit and transportation using a new multimodal Eastern GTA Transit Hub.

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Extending the Yonge Subway into York Region

This project will enhance north-south connectivity in the northern GTA, linking Union Station in downtown Toronto with Richmond Hill Centre in York Region.

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A New Bypass for GTA Freight Rail

A project long-known as “the Missing Link” would enable significant growth in passenger volumes by separating freight and passenger trains onto distinct railway tracks.

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A Pearson Area Transit Hub

A transit hub in the Pearson area would cut through the congestion by integrating several existing and planned transit lines into a new multimodal transportation anchor.

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More Projects

Ontario’s Clean Energy Potential

Exploring clean energy solutions including renewable natural gas, charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, and hydrogen that will help strengthen Ontario’s role as an innovative leader.

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Broadband to Address the Urban-Rural Digital Divide

Continue the Province’s unwavering commitment to broadband infrastructure and seek further commitments from the Universal Broadband Fund and the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

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A New Freeway and 21st Century Border Infrastructure for the Niagara Peninsula

Creating a new freeway as a supplemental transportation corridor to the Queen Elizabeth Way and twinning the Peace Bridge to alleviate the border bottleneck of goods and people.

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A Strategic Transportation Link to Ontario’s Ring of Fire

Construct a north-south roadway to the Ring of Fire to untap Canada’s largest known source of mineral wealth.

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Frequent and Reliable Rail Service between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal

Creating new and dedicated tracks for passenger trains to support easy and efficient travel between the thriving economies.

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Rapid Transit for Toronto’s Waterfront

Unlock the Port Lands’ full economic potential by implementing flood protection and constructing a transit link with the existing downtown network.

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The Ontario Line Subway

A 16-kilometre long Ontario Line to create new north-south and east-west routes to and from the City’s Central Business District.

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