Agriculture key to Canadian economy: StatsCan

Canola, meat production responsible for largest components of GDP. Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan leading producers
Canola, meat production responsible for largest components of GDP. Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan leading producers

Data released on Tuesday by Statistics Canada may be a few years old but it does give an indication of how important the agriculture industry is to the overall Canadian economy – and Alberta plays a prominent role in that.

The federal agency said the agriculture and agri-food manufacturing sector contributed $49 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015, accounting for 2.6 per cent of total GDP. Agriculture industries contributed $25.1 billion or 51 per cent of GDP in the sector, while agri-food manufacturing industries contributed $23.9 billion or 49 per cent.

StatsCan said canola farming ($4.6 billion) was the industry that contributed the most to agriculture GDP and meat product manufacturing, excluding poultry processing ($3.7 billion), was the industry that contributed the most to food processing GDP.

The report said agriculture and agri-food manufacturing GDP is largest in Ontario ($15.3 billion), Quebec ($9.3 billion), Alberta ($7.5 billion) and Saskatchewan ($7.4 billion).

“Canola production is heavily concentrated in the Prairie provinces and accounts for a large share of the agricultural sector’s GDP in these provinces, reaching 39.9 per cent in Saskatchewan,” said the federal agency.

“In Ontario and British Columbia, the greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production industry contributed the most to agriculture GDP. Other crop farming, which include the production of hay and maple syrup and other maple products, contributed the most to agricultural GDP in Quebec.

“The potato farming industry led the way in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. In Nova Scotia, the other animal production industry contributed the most to the GDP of the agriculture industry, while in Newfoundland and Labrador, agriculture GDP was driven by poultry and egg production.”

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