Ontario’s farm sector continues to contribute billions to the province’s GDP according to a recent study released this week. The Economic Contribution of the Ontario Farm Sector by JRG Consulting Group reported that Ontario agriculture contributes $13.7 billion to the annual GDP, confirming this sector as a driving force behind job creation, a stable tax base and thriving rural economies. The study, commissioned by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), also identified Ontario’s food and beverage processing sector as a major contributor to the province’s overall economy.
Using the most current data about Ontario farming from Statistics Canada, the 2013 economic study is an update of an earlier report commissioned by the OFA by economist Dr. John Groenewegen of JRG Consulting Group. On the job front, nearly 158,000 jobs with $8.1 billion in wages and salaries are supported by Ontario’s farm sector. More than 75,000 of these jobs are attributed directly to primary agriculture and suppliers of farm operator purchases of goods and services.
When it comes to a stable tax base, the Ontario farm sector generates tax revenues at all three levels of government – the provincial government collects $1.4 billion and $400 million is collected at a municipal level. Our rural communities are fueled by the farm sector, accounting for 12.3% of rural Ontario’s GDP and 10.3% of total employment in rural Ontario. With 14% of Ontario’s population living in rural areas, tax dollars generated by the farm sector help create and maintain government services and infrastructure needed to support healthy rural communities that are able to support local hospitals, schools and transportation.
The study confirmed the farm sector is the foundation for the province’s food and beverage processing sector. More than 70% of Ontario farm products are purchased by processors within the province. In 2012, Ontario’s food and beverage processing sector spent $21.7 billion to contribute $21.3 billion to the province’s GDP. This sector accounted for 3.2% of the total provincial GDP of $675 billion, and represents a significant job source for more than 90,000 Ontarians.