Economic Sustainability

Canola and a thriving economy

The spirit of innovation and pioneering of Canadian scientists that led to the first canola variety being released in the 1970s lives on.

The continued investment in innovative varieties and management techniques have accelerated the growth of canola to become our country’s most valuable crop.

Canola drives Canada’s economic engine, creating revenue, employment and investments that ripple through the economy as canola is developed, grown, processed and marketed to customers around the world.

Sustainable jobs and growth for Canadians

Stable, good-paying jobs

Canola provides strong, stable and sustainable jobs for Canadians.

Many Canadians may not be aware that part of their livelihood is linked to agriculture, but canola is stimulating the growth of jobs and opportunities for thousands across the country.

The business of growing canola is much bigger than the farmers who plant, nurture and harvest the crop. Canola growers are supported by the leading-edge researchers and companies that provide seed genetics, equipment, fertilizers, crop protection products, accounting services, business management advice and marketing services.

And as wages from these jobs are spent, the effects stimulate an even wider variety of industries and sectors from real estate to manufacturing to arts and entertainment. This creates opportunity for all Canadians, including those who are far away from the farm or the Prairies.

In total, the canola sector supports employment for 207,000 Canadians across the country((LMC International. The Economic Impact of Canola on the Canadian Economy: 2020 Update. 9)) – that’s more than the entire population of St. John’s, Newfoundland – in a wide range of jobs including research, farming, transport, grain elevation, processing and refining, and ports for overseas export. 

The canola industry doesn’t just employ a lot of Canadians—it pays them well. These jobs create an average of $12 billion in wages for Canadian each year. Over the past 10 years, the total wage impact of the canola sector has increased by 80% with more jobs and higher wages.

Billions of dollars injected into the Canadian economy

When you add up the total employment and wages generated by the canola value chain, canola contributes an average of nearly $30 billion to the Canadian economy per year[1] – that’s a 35% increase in canola’s contribution compared to 10 years ago, representing $7.2 billion more injected into the Canadian economy.

Continued commitment to innovation & productivity

Two of the biggest reasons why the canola sector was able to increase its contribution to the Canadian economy by $7.2 billion over the past decade are innovation and a focus on increasing productivity, and these commitments continue to drive our industry today.

More gains in yield

Canola seed innovation, including herbicide tolerance and hybrid canola, has a strong history in providing significant yield potential to canola growers and the value chain.

Our 2025 strategic plan’s target to increase canola yields will come from capturing the full potential of continued genetic advances with the right agronomy.

Based on yield trends in canola variety registration trials, we expect to see more gains in the canola seed’s yield potential – an increase of eight bushels per acre from genetics alone.   

Investing in R&D

Innovation has been so important to improving both the science and economics of canola production that growers, industry and the federal government have partnered on serious investments in research programs that will help canola continue to advance.

More than $20 million will be invested through the Canola AgriScience Cluster research program from 2018 to 2023. With additional research funding from provincial grower groups, the Canola Council is currently coordinating a total of approximately $36 million over this five-year period.

Life sciences companies also re-invest approximately 10% of gross sales into research and development to provide canola growers with innovative products that will contribute to further advancements in yield, and help keep the canola sector healthy and viable for years to come.

Number one source of farm crop revenue

Accounting for about one quarter of all crop revenue in Canada, canola is the number-one source of farm revenue for crops—and over the past 20 years, that revenue has been on the rise.

Canola’s crop revenue has risen from roughly $3 billion in the year 2000 to more than $10 billion in 2020:

Farm cash receipts

Strength in value added processing

The Canadian canola processing industry consists of 14 primary processing facilities owned by six companies, with a combined annual processing capacity of approximately 11 million tonnes of canola seed.

By 2024, this is set to grow by another 5.5 million tonnes with three new plants being built in Saskatchewan by Cargill and Viterra in Regina, and Ceres in Northgate, along with a commitment to double the capacity of an existing plant in Yorkton.

According to the analysis mentioned above by LMC International, canola processing alone currently delivers an economic impact of nearly $6 billion annually, and contributes approximately 7,670 jobs.

Once a processing plant is built, the surrounding community knows it will be a steady source of employment for many years to come. And farmers know that it will be a source of a steady demand for the canola they grow.

In addition to providing jobs and revenue to Canada’s economy, canola processors make a further impact on economic sustainability by investing their earnings back into their businesses, strengthening the industry for years to come.

Over the past decade, processors have invested $1 billion in new and upgraded facilities, bolstering the canola processing industry and helping it set a new record for domestic processing in 2020.  The announcements in spring 2021 related to the new and expanded canola crush facilities demonstrate the industry’s commitment to even further investment.

Bolstering Canada’s ports to deliver to global markets

As one of Canada’s largest exporters with more than 90% of canola destined for global markets, the canola sector knows how vital it is for the country to have safe, modern, efficient and effective transportation infrastructure.

That’s why, over the past five years, Canadian grain companies (including G3, P&H and Viterra) have invested $1 billion in terminal facilities and upgrades at the Port of Vancouver, a substantial infrastructure investment that will help Canada bring all of its products to international markets.