Canola’s economic influence explodes in last 10 years

Canada’s canola industry produces tens of billions of dollars of economic value, creates hundreds of thousands of jobs and is a major export earner.

It’s a stunning result for a crop that didn’t truly exist 50 years ago and that had only one-third the impact just a decade ago.

“We see an incredible amount of investment,” said Brian Innes, the Canola Council of Canada’s vice-president for government relations, referring to a new study that the council commissioned. (PDF format)

According to the analysis, produced by LMC International, the canola industry now:

• has a total economic impact on the Canadian economy of $26.7 billion

• employs 250,000 people directly and indirectly

• pays $11.2 billion in wages

• exports 90 percent of its products

That is a dramatic improvement on the canola industry’s impact just 10 years ago, according to the report. The total economic impact is now three times as great now as in 2005.

The analysis includes both direct and indirect impacts because much of the economic activity created by canola occurs outside farms, seed developers, elevators and processors.

The subject of canola’s massive increase in production and economic spinoffs will be highlighted at the council’s annual convention, which starts tomorrow in Winnipeg and is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the industry event.

Innes said canola’s impact is huge on the Prairies but is less well recognized in other provinces, even though many jobs in those places are also the result of canola. That can include jobs and money in the transportation system, ports and food companies.

Innes said an important aspect of today’s canola industry is the less boom-and-bust nature of the industry now compared to the past.

“The ups and downs of previous years have evened-out… reflecting how canola has matured into a reliable mainstay of the Canadian economy,” said Innes.

Contact ed.white@producer.com

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