Alberta enjoys almost one-third of the economic benefits generated by Canada’s largest cash crop, according to a report released by the Canola Council of Canada (CCC). More than $6 billion per year in economic impact is now generated by the canola industry in Alberta.
The report, called The Economic Impact of Canola on the Canadian Economy, was developed by LMC international, a leading agri-business research firm. The study was prepared as part of the Canola Market Access Plan (CMAP), with funding from the CCC and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada under the Agricultural Flexibility Fund (under Canada’s Economic Action Plan).
LMC used best practices to estimate the total benefits rippling through the economy as Canadian-grown canola is developed, grown, processed and marketed.
The latest economic impact estimates were based on data from three crop years: 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12. The report shows that canola accounts for about 68,430 Alberta jobs, including employment on the farm, in related industries and in other sectors stimulated by the income these jobs create. LMC found that canola’s contribution to the Canadian economy as a whole now surpasses $19.3 billion a year — more than twice as much as a decade ago.
Wages linked to the industry’s impact have more than tripled during the same period.
“Canola production is growing as the world seeks healthier oils and more protein, and that means more jobs and wages for Canadians,” said CCC president Patti Miller. “Producers and industry are meeting that challenge, and canola has become a powerful engine in Canada’s economy.
“This report shows how those fields of yellow are creating more opportunity for people in Alberta and all across Canada.”
During the period covered by the study, Alberta was home to two of the three top canola-producing agriculture districts in Canada. Alberta District 10 produced an average of 906 tonnes per year during the three-year period, and Alberta District 5 produced an average of 717 tonnes.
In the past few years, Canada’s canola production has boomed, driven by strong global demand as research reinforces the health benefits of canola oil and the advantages of canola meal for livestock feed. The canola industry is building on these advantages by investing in market development, market access, innovation, productivity improvements and research around additional health traits.
“Canola is truly a made-in Canada success story and a significant contributor to Canada’s economy,” Miller said. “Our continued focus on innovation and trade will help build on that growth.”