Statement from Environmental Defence’s Program Director, Keith Brooks, on the announcement of the preferred route for the GTA West Highway

Toronto, Ont. – The announcement today, confirming the preferred route of the GTA West Highway, otherwise known as Highway 413, is disappointing. Ontario does not need another 400-series highway. This destructive plan will destroy communities, damage the environment, and deliver essentially no benefit to commuters. 

An expert panel appointed by the provincial government determined in 2017 that “a proposed highway in the GTA West corridor is not the best way to address changing transportation needs.” Their modeling showed that the proposed Highway 413 would save drivers a mere 30-60 seconds per vehicle trip.

Meanwhile, the 170 metre-wide corridor would see a strip of concrete and asphalt rip through the Greenbelt in Vaughan and across the Whitebelt in Caledon and Brampton, and pave over a couple thousand hectares of prime agricultural land. It would also cut through the headwaters of the Credit and Humber Rivers, crossing rivers and streams approximately 53 times all told.

The highway would cause more urban sprawl, put more cars on the road, and lead to more carbon pollution and air pollution in the communities through which it would pass. Transportation is the largest source of carbon emissions in Ontario. In addition, recent modeling estimated that pollution from traffic causes almost 900 premature deaths per year in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). We don’t need another highway, more cars, and more pollution.

The government should listen to the evidence and the advice of experts and cancel the planned Highway 413. 

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Sarah Jamal, Environmental Defence,, 905-921-7786