By the Numbers: The food industry and Canada’s economy

Toronto – June 27, 2016 – The food production and processing industry is Canada’s largest manufacturing sector, as well as the largest provider of manufacturing jobs. When you add in agriculture, food processing, and food retailing, it turns out that more than 12% of the workforce in Canada is employed in what the government calls the Agriculture Agri-Food System (AAFS). From field to table, a recent report outlines what a huge impact food production and food sales have on the Canadian economy, workforce, and consumers.

6.8 million hectares
The total area of land used for agriculture in Canada makes up about 7% of the total Canadian land mass.

2.3 million
More than 2.3 million workers in Canada are employed in the agriculture, food processing, food service, and food retail sectors (AAFS) – about 1 in 8 jobs in Canada.

$108.1 billion
In 2014, the AAFS added $108.1 billion to Canada’s gross domestic production, with food retailing and wholesaling accounting for almost 30% of that total.

Activity in the agriculture and food sector contributed 6.6% to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The food production and processing system accounts for 16% of the manufacturing sector’s total output – making it the largest manufacturing sector in the economy.

At 16.6%, the food production and processing system also has the largest share of manufacturing jobs in the country.

$150 billion
Consumers spent a total of $150 billion on food and non- alcoholic beverages in 2014.

In 2014, the typical average household spent 10.1% of its budget on food. This represents the second-largest consumer expenditure after housing.

51.5 billion
Canada is the fifth-largest exporter of food products in the world. In 2014, food exports exceeded $51 billion, with more than 80% of Canada’s canola harvest, more than 75% of the soybean harvest, and almost half of all Canadian cattle, beef and beef products sold through the export market.

Canadian food export sales grew 12% in 2014, with more than half those exports shipped to the USA.

Sources: An Overview of the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food System 2016