While Ontario is home to several innovative infrastructure projects that have transformed the province, including Canada's first subway and major railroads and highways, it's time for the next round of game-changing infrastructure developments to be introduced.
Acknowledging the need for these investments, the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA), released The Ten Infrastructure Projects for a More Competitive Ontario, a research report written in partnership with KPMG Global Infrastructure Advisory, outlining large infrastructure projects that will support a robust economy and create new jobs and opportunities across the province in the years to come.
Tim Hudak, the CEO of OREA, alongside Infrastructure Minister Laurie Scott and CEO and President of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), Deborah Flint, unveiled the new projects during an online media preview on Tuesday.
Hudak said OREA and KPMG looked at economy-impacting projects across all infrastructure asset classes to select the top ten, then assessed them against specific criteria.
Each of the ten projects selected addresses multiple strategic challenges, has a direct link to Ontario’s economic competitiveness, is a project of an ambitious scale, and is conceptual or in early planning stages. They also consider the new ways of working, regional supply chains, and the extraordinary growth of e-commerce brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These large infrastructure projects will support a robust provincial economy by acting as magnets for talent and investment, creating a strong cycle of economic growth,” said Hudak. “This allows Ontario to pay for the types of infrastructure and public services that spur productivity and improve quality of life, leading to higher-paying jobs, business investment, and more opportunities to increase housing supply and affordability.”
During Tuesday's announcement, Hudak highlighted one project that would substantially impact Ontario's future: the proposed Pearson Transit Hub.
The area surrounding Toronto Pearson Airport, dubbed Ontario’s Airport Employment Zone (AEZ) by economists, is the second-largest employment area in the province, boasting 330,000 jobs, behind only downtown Toronto’s employment cluster.
The proposed Pearson Transit Hub could nearly double that number of jobs by 2035, further increasing the AEZ’s GDP contribution by 2.2%.
“Toronto Pearson is Canada’s gateway to the world and an economic anchor for the region,” said Flint. “Improved transit connectivity in the heart of Canada’s second largest employment zone will fight climate change, improve access to jobs, and contribute economically in a growing province.”
To bring the transit hub to life, OREA said the Ontario government must do its part to integrate and advance several existing and planned transit lines into a new multimodal transportation anchor -- the Pearson Transit Hub.
Currently underserved by transit, OREA says this project would "cut through the current traffic congestion at Pearson Airport, unlocking the door to the AEZ’s economic growth."
Hudak said the selected projects address regional strengths and span across the GTA, Toronto, Ottawa and eastern Ontario, northern Ontario, and provincewide. The projects also span asset classes like airports, roads, rail, transit, transportation, the border, broadband, water and wastewater, nuclear energy, and renewable energy.
The Top 10 Infrastructure Projects for Ontario:
Greater Toronto Area
- A Pearson Transit Hub
- A New Bypass for GTA Freight Rail
- Extending the Yonge Subway into York Region
- An Eastern GTA Transit Hub
- Rapid Transit in Toronto
Ottawa & Eastern Ontario
- Frequent and Reliable Rail Service between Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal
Niagara & Southwestern Ontario
- A New Freeway and 21st Century Border Infrastructure for the Niagara Peninsula
- A Strategic Transportation Link to Ontario’s Ring of Fire
- Broadband to address the Urban-Rural Digital Divide
- Ontario’s Clean Energy Potential
OREA says while delivering these ten projects will be difficult, their corresponding benefits will be "transformational" for the province.