District Profile

The Goods Production and Distribution District (GPDD) is the beating heart of the region’s manufacturing and logistics operations. While economic activity in other Districts has dropped sharply, the GPDD, with its high concentration of essential business, has largely remained open. But this has placed workers at risk of infection and added demands on employers to modify workplaces to promote physical distancing and worker safety.

Goods Production and Distribution Graph
Prior to the pandemic, the GPDD was challenged by congestion on the region’s roads, highways and rail corridors, at an estimated cost of $6 billion annually. Conversion pressures on employment lands have intensified while the demand for industrial real estate continues to grow. All the while, manufacturing and goods movement have been undergoing transformative change driven by technology and the rise of e-commerce.

As much of the economic activity in the District has continued through the pandemic, its essential workers have been exposed to elevated health risks. At the same time, while cargo air transportation increased, the aviation sector has taken a major hit, with dwindling economy activity and layoffs in the face of widespread restrictions and reduced movement of people. Pressures on demand for warehouse space increased with the rise in e-commerce, which presents both challenges and opportunities for businesses in the District. The drive toward further automation will have potential long-term impacts for the region’s manufacturers.

At the other side of the pandemic, an economic reset presents an opportunity to re-think and re-explore how we make and move goods in the region. We need to adopt a multi-modal goods movement strategy that balances road, rail, marine and air transportation of goods with passenger movement. Across the region, increased steps must be taken to protect and develop an inventory of employment lands. The production and movement of goods must increasingly adopt Industry 4.0 technologies to enhance the region’s economic competitiveness.

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Business District Reports developed in partnership with Moneris
Business District Reports supported by EBI Founding Partner GTAA

Stats at a Glance: Goods Production & Distribution District

966k Employment (2016)
38% Employees with Remote Work Capacity (% share)
433KM2Geographic Size

# of Businesses
(Dec. 2018, 1+ employees):

  • Small (1-19): 47,170
  • Medium (20-99): 8,920
  • Large (100+): 2,100

Top 3 Sectors by Employment (% share):

  • Manufacturing (26%)
  • Retail trade (11%)
  • Transportation and warehousing (10%)

Pilot Zone in this District

Pearson Employment Area Pilot Zone
In a Goods Production and Distribution District, this zone includes many businesses that have remained open with mitigations in place. Prior to the pandemic, the Pearson Employment Pilot Zone employed more than 200,000 people, 63% of the more than 300,000 workers in and around the Toronto Pearson Airport Employment Zone.
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April 8, 2021

Across the country, calls intensify to help people who can’t work from home
As cases in Peel have spiked, “government and employers should work together to deploy the vaccine to those who are the most exposed, at their workplaces,” said Marcy Burchfield, vice-president of the board of trade’s […]

August 11, 2021

Business leaders push Ontario to follow Quebec — and ban unvaccinated people from restaurants, bars and gyms
Jan De Silva, president and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade, said the board has been advocating for a “COVID safe pass” that would accommodate both proof of vaccination or a recent negative […]

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Learn more about the other types of business districts and what they need to be revitalized and strengthened.

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Leading Practices

Search this online database of the Goods Production & Distribution Business District’s leading practices to identify COVID-19 safety measures appropriate for your business. These measures have been informed by public health expertise.

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