Overview of the Canadian agri-food system

Representing an integrated supply chain, the agriculture and agri-food system touches all Canadians and communities in Canada. In 2020, it generated $139.3 billion, accounting for 7.4% of Canada's gross domestic product (GDP), and employed approximately 2.1 million people.

Canada's food system is resilient and innovative, sustains our environment and supports our economy. It is responsible for 1 in 9 jobs across the country.

Canadian-made foods are recognized worldwide for the highest standards of quality and food safety. Approximately half of the value of primary agriculture production in Canada is exported, as either primary commodities or processed food and beverage products.

Components of the agri-food system

Primary agriculture (farmers): Primary agriculture is defined as work that is performed within the boundaries of a farm, nursery or greenhouse.

  • GDP: $39.8 billion
  • Employment: 269,300

Food and beverage processors transform raw food materials or substances into new products which may be finished, so that they are ready to be used or consumed, or semi-finished, so that they become raw material to be used in further manufacturing.

  • GDP: $32.4 billion
  • Employment: 288,800

Food retailers and wholesalers

  • GDP: $32.9 billion
  • Employment: 637,200

Foodservice providers, as well as food retailers and wholesalers, are the link between food production and consumers.

  • GDP: $21.1 billion
  • Employment: 809,100