The Employment Geography of the Megazone

The AMZ naturally falls into four subzones: the Pearson Airport area, which is in Mississauga; the area south of the Airport, also in Mississauga; the area north of the Airport and Highway 407, in Brampton; and the area east of Highway 427, in Toronto.

The megazone as a whole contains large numbers of jobs in the manufacturing, construction, and utilities sector (especially manufacturing industries); the warehousing and transportation sector (especially wholesale and transportation industries); and the finance and business services sector. Employment in each of these sectors is found throughout the AMZ. However, different activities dominate in each of the subzones.

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Of the four subzones, the Pearson subzone has the largest number of jobs - more than 100,000. The single census tract that constitutes this subzone includes the airport itself, as well as a large employment area to the west extending as far as Mavis Road. The Greater Toronto Airports Authority estimates the number of employees at the airport itself at 40,000. The second most significant area in terms of the absolute number of jobs is the Airport South subzone.

Manufacturing dominates in the AMZ North subzone in Brampton, followed by warehousing and transportation. The same pattern is found in the AMZ East subzone in Toronto. The Pearson subzone is, not surprisingly, dominated by warehousing and transportation employment, followed by manufacturing. In the AMZ South subzone, financial and business services are the dominant type of employment, followed by warehousing and transportation. (See Table 4 in the Appendix.)

Most of the AMZ South subzone was identified in Planning for Prosperity as one of five regional Suburban Knowledge-Intensive Districts,[1] because it contains a large number of highly skilled and knowledge-intensive jobs.

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Employment change has not been uniform across the Airport Megazone. Some areas have experienced steady growth, most notably the AMZ North subzone, with more than 8,000 net new jobs, and the AMZ South subzone, which added more than 18,000 jobs. There has been little net employment change in the Pearson subzone, while the AMZ East subzone saw a net loss of more than 4,000 jobs.


All subzones experienced a net loss of employment in the manufacturing, construction, and utilities sector. Have other types of jobs materialized to compensate for this loss? In the AMZ East subzone, the answer is no; the area experienced a net job decline. But the AMZ North subzone has seen growth in warehousing and transportation of more than 2,000 jobs, some of which may be related to the CN Brampton Intermodal facility. Employment growth in this subzone has also been boosted by the establishment of a large Rogers office operation with about 5,000 jobs occupying a former Nortel manufacturing facility.

The AMZ South subzone has also added more than 12,000 new finance and business service jobs, including almost 6,000 in finance.

And while there was almost no net growth in the Pearson subzone, the figure belies significant underlying change and transformation. The subzone experienced a loss of over 9,000 manufacturing, construction, and utilities jobs, which was offset by the addition of 3,400 finance and business services jobs, 1,182 warehousing and transportation sector jobs, 1,480 voluntary and government sector jobs, and 2,865 population-related jobs. (See Table 5 in the Appendix.)


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The geography of employment by type in the Airport Megazone is reflected in employment density patterns. Not surprisingly, areas with higher proportions of employment in finance and business services, which tend to locate in multi-storey office buildings, have higher employment densities than areas in which manufacturing, wholesaling, and distribution facilities dominate. Therefore, the AMZ South subzone, with its concentration of finance and business services in office buildings, has the highest employment density in the entire megazone, at about 33 jobs per hectare, and a population-plus-employment density figure of 43 residents plus jobs per hectare.[2] (See Table 6 in the Appendix.)

As noted earlier, population in the immediate vicinity of Pearson Airport is limited in part because of restrictions related to airport operations. For the most part, the AMZ subzones have been planned as single-use areas.

[1] The South area shown, minus the two most westerly census tracts.

[2] Large non-developable areas have been deleted from the land base estimation: the runway areas of Pearson Airport, parts of the Clairville Conservation Area that fall within the megazone, and the functional area of the CN Brampton intermodal facility.