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Study Highlights the Growth, Impact and Importance of the Canadian Dairy Sector

May 06, 2015 - Ottawa

The dairy industry provides healthy economic activity in Canada

Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) released the complete study today which affirms the significance of the economic impact of the dairy sector in Canada. Conducted by EcoRessources, the study, entitled “The Economic Impacts of the Dairy Industry in 2013”, is third in a series, which tracks the changes and impact of the sector over the years, beginning in 2009.

“The Canadian dairy industry is a mainstay of the economy and represents one of the largest food industries in the country,” said Wally Smith, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada. “We continue to grow – creating jobs, increasing milk production and generating greater revenues. Our system is benefitting Canada and Canadians.”

Key findings of the study include:

  • In 2013, the Canadian dairy industry contributed $3.6B in local, provincial and federal taxes.
  • The sector’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution has increased from $15.2 B in 2009 to $18.9 B in 2013.
  • Jobs have changed, decreasing at the farm level and increasing in value-added processing level, resulting approximately 215,000 in 2013.
  • Canada’s 12,234 dairy farms sold more milk in 2013 than in 2009.

“The dairy industry has an important presence in all Canadian provinces, and leads the agricultural economy of seven provinces,” adds Smith. “Its farms generated $5.9 billion in sales from the farm in 2013. At the same time, Canadians enjoy affordable, quality food as they spend less than 10 per cent of disposable income on food, one of the lowest in the world. Of that, 1.03 per cent is spent on dairy products.”

This year, DFC asked EcoRessources to also take the model and apply the analysis to four regions within Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and Nova Scotia – in which the dairy sector plays an imperative economic role. The impact of the industry is significant not only in these particular regions, but impacts trickle into other regions, near and far. While the milk Canadians drink tends to be produced locally, some processing and distribution of products also cross provinces and the country. The economic impact is then outside the immediate region where the milk was produced.

While the report is specific to the economic impact of 2013, current growth trends (between April 2014 and April 2015) show a continued increase in sales of milk products at the national level. More specifically, the retail sales of cream (+5.5%), butter (+4.4%), cheese (+3.2%), and organic milk (+15%) registered stimulating growth rates over that period. Dairy farmers have been asked to produce more milk than last year, and are happy to increase production to fill increased demand.

For more information, please contact:

Sandra Da Silva
Assistant Director, External Communications
Dairy Farmers of Canada
647.633.3741

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