City of Toronto's Economic Success Poses a Conundrum for Province's "Growth Plan"
By: Frank Clayton
February 9, 2018
This blog entry discusses the implications of Toronto’s economic resurgence for the Province’s Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (Growth Plan) passed by the legislature in July 2017.
The Province of Ontario has created a comprehensive land-use plan that directs where population and employment growth is to occur up to the year 2041 throughout the vast area it dubs the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH), a geography encompassing nine metropolitan regions as defined by Statistics Canada. Schedule 3 of the Growth Plan provides population and employment forecasts for the years 2031, 2036 and 2041 for each of the 21 upper-tier and single-tier municipalities in the GGH.
Our analysis focuses on the economic heartland of the GGH, the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) which includes the cities of Toronto and Hamilton and the regions of Peel, Halton, York and Durham.
These municipalities are required to apply the Ontario Growth Plan forecasts for planning and managing growth out to 2041, the horizon year of the plan (Policy 188.8.131.52).
Why are we raising this issue regarding the municipal forecasts for the year 2041 in the Growth Plan? According to a study just released by the city, Toronto has already exceeded the Growth Plan’s 2031 employment forecast and is likely to reach the 2041 forecast before the year 2021 (Toronto DC study)1. This study also finds that employment in the GTHA is generally on track to meet the Growth Plan’s 2041 forecast for the overall region. In other words, the share of regional employment attracted to the city of Toronto is growing much more than expected.
These two findings indicate that employment growth in other parts of the GTHA is underperforming the Growth Plan forecasts. This is demonstrated by the table below comparing the employment forecasts in the Growth Plan and the Toronto DC study for 2041.