By the Numbers: Canada’s food service industry

Toronto – March 28, 2017 – The Canadian food service industry generates $75 billion in annual sales, representing about 4 percent of the national gross domestic product (GDP). Canada’s food service industry is comprised of a commercial sector (restaurants, bars, and caterers) and non-commercial sector (hospitals and hotels). Our restaurant industry, meanwhile, is the fourth-largest private sector employer in Canada.

1.2 million

Number of people directly employed in the Canadian restaurant industry, according to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey.


Canada’s restaurant industry accounts for about seven percent of the country’s workforce.


The number of full-time jobs that were created in the food service industry in 2016. Growth in full-time food service employment outpaced part-time employment last year.


The number of part-time jobs that were created in the food service industry in 2016. In total, the industry created 11,000 new jobs last year.

1 in 5

The fraction of young Canadians – aged 24 and under – that are employed in the restaurant industry.


The percentage of restaurant employees in Canada who are 24 and under. Right now the restaurant industry is the number one source of first-time jobs for young workers.


The percentage of Canadians whose first job was in the restaurant business – the highest percentage of any industry in Canada.   


The number of seniors, aged 65 and over, who worked in restaurants in 2016 to supplement their income. Seniors now account for 1.9 percent of all food service employees in Canada, compared to 0.5 percent in 2000.


The total number of restaurants, bars, and caterers across Canada in 2016. Restaurants are the number one attraction in Canada for spending time with family and friends.

Source: Restaurants Canada – “On a Hiring Spree”