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2. Aggregate Use in Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)

Considering aggregate is used in virtually all of the GTA’s urban infrastructure, it is surprising how little information exists about how much we use and where it comes from.

The publicly available data on aggregate supply and demand in the province is extremely limited. This lack of information makes it challenging to develop meaningful policies designed to meet future aggregate demand. What we do know comes mainly from The Ontario Aggregate Resources Corporation (TOARC), which provides annual data on aggregate production. Its seven member board of directors is comprised of five representatives from the aggregate industry, one representative of the environmental community and one representative of Ontario’s municipalities.

TOARC annually releases information on province-wide aggregate production, how many licenses are issued and the number of pits and quarries in municipalities across Ontario. The latest TOARC data shows that Ontario used 173 million tonnes of aggregate in 2007[1], or 15 tonnes per person in Ontario.[2] 

Very little detailed information is available on the consumers of aggregate. According to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, about 55% of Ontario’s annual aggregate consumption is for the construction and maintenance of roads[3].  As well, we know that more than 50% of the aggregates produced in Ontario are used by the public sector.[4] 

Industry sources further estimate that about 40% of the aggregate produced in Ontario annually is consumed by the GTA.[5]  For 2007, the most recent year for which data from TOARC is available, this amounts to 69.2 million tonnes.[6]


[1]The Ontario Aggregate Resources Corporation (TOARC). Mineral Aggregates in Ontario Production Statistics, 2007. The data shows average production over the past 4 years to be about 175 million tonnes annually. 

[2]The US averages 9.1 tonnes per capita and the UK averages 4.8 tonnes of aggregate per capita. See National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association. 50 Fascinating Facts about Stone, Sand and Gravel http://www.nssga.org/pdf/50facts.pdf and Quarry Products Association. The aggregates industry at a glance http://www.qpa.org/iss_fact01.htm, 2006.

[3]Winfield, M and A. Taylor. Rebalancing the Load: The need for an aggregates conservation strategy for Ontario, 2005. The Pembina Institute.  Also Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. 2002 – 2003 Annual Report. Toronto: Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, pg. 31.

[4]TOARC, 2007.

[5]Ontario Stone Sand and Gravel Association (OSSGA) Website http://www.theholestory.ca/inhtw.php

[6] Derived from TOARC, 2007.  40% of 173 million tonnes equals 69.2 million tonnes of aggregate consumed by the GTA.