The airport is classified as an airport of entry by NAV CANADA and is staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency. CBSA officers at this airport currently can handle aircraft with no more than 50 passengers.
The airport originally opened in June 1941 under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan as No. 20 Elementary Flying Training School RCAF Station Oshawa. Student flyers used Tiger Moth aircraft and were trained by civilian instructors from the Oshawa, Kingston, and Brant-Norfolk flying clubs. A relief landing field was located at Whitby. The school closed in December 1944.
The planned construction of a Pickering Airport, between Oshawa and Toronto, raised questions about the future of the Oshawa airport. However, there remains strong opposition to the construction of the Pickering Airport, as this project has been a false-start since the conception of the idea in 1972. Additionally, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) lacks the authority to decommission Oshawa Airport because it is outside their jurisdiction.
In 2008 the City of Oshawa adopted the Oshawa Municipal Airport Business Plan which includes a commitment to operate the airport for a minimum of 25 years. Dozens of upgrades completed by 2010 include construction of new Taxiway "C", Phase 1 of Hangarminium Complex, cardlock fuel facility, and Automated Weather Observation System.
Commercial radio stations CKDO and CKGE-FM, licensed to Oshawa, and CJKX, licensed to Ajax, operate from studios on the Oshawa Airport grounds. These organizations operate on former airport land at the entrances to the airport on Taunton Road: Mandarin Chinese Buffet restaurant; Taunton Health Centre, part of the largest, multi-specialty medical group practice in Canada, including Urgent Care, Laboratory, Pharmacy and a dental office; Airport Self Storage Ltd., with ten buildings on six acres; National Defence, The Ontario Regiment, Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, Oshawa Airport Armoury; and the Durham Children's Aid Society.
A live fire training simulator opened south of the control tower in October 2009. It is a partnership between Durham College and the fire departments of Clarington, Oshawa and Whitby.