Pickering Airport Lands

Location: National Headquarters

Summary of Issue/Background

  • In 1972, the Government of Canada acquired 18,600 acres of land, 56 kilometers northeast of downtown Toronto, to develop a potential future airport to meet the long-term transportation needs of a growing urban center. The lands are located in the Region of Durham, within the municipalities of Pickering, Markham and Uxbridge. They are known as the “Pickering Lands.”
  • Properties on the Pickering Lands have been leased by the government to residential, farm and commercial tenants since 1972. As of April 1, 2018, all agricultural leases were signed with Transport Canada (TC) for 10-year terms to provide greater stability to tenant farmers and also ensuring adequate flexibility should there be a future decision to develop and airport on the Pickering Lands.
  • Since 2013, the Government of Canada has initiated two transfers to Parks Canada Agency for the creation of the Rouge National Urban Park, preserving a substantially smaller area (8,400 acres) for potential future aviation development.
  • TC manages the Pickering Lands Site to ensure the health and safety of its tenants, employees, property management agents, partner agencies, first responders and the general public.
  • In 2013, the Government of Canada announced that the amount of land needed for a potential future airport would be smaller than originally planned. Accordingly, a new airport site designation and new Pickering Airport Site Zoning Regulations on adjacent lands were developed to preserve the option of a future airport while reserving less land for potential airport operations.
  • The new regulations will result in two key changes:
    1. A newly designed smaller airport site; and
    2. New height restrictions along take-off and landing corridors associated with the new airport site.
  • The Pickering Airport Site Zoning Regulations were published in Canada Gazette Part I in July 2015, and TC subsequently consulted on them. The next step in this process is for the regulations to be published in Canada Gazette Part II, for them to come into force.
  • KPMG was contracted to provide an evidence-based economic analysis of the Pickering Lands, including an aviation sector analysis.
  • TC officials are currently reviewing the KPMG report as part of its broader analysis in preparation of future advice to the Minister on the Pickering Lands.

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