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Ontario's Food Processing Industry Driving Economy

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Ontario's Food Processing Industry Driving Economy

McGuinty Government Attracts Investment in the Province

This Thanksgiving, Ontarians can be thankful that the province's food processing industry continues to drive economic growth, create jobs and serve up healthy, nutritious locally grown and made in Ontario food.

Ontario is home to Canada's largest food processing sector--3,000 businesses employing about 94,000 people across the province -- and is the sixth largest in North America, with manufacturing revenues totaling about $35 billion.

Some of Ontario's food processing success stories include: 

  • Canada Bread Company has built a $100 million, 375,000 square foot, state-of-the-art bakery in Hamilton. The new facility features leading-edge equipment and technologies and will create up to 300 jobs when running at full capacity.
  • Ferrero Canada's production facility in Brantford is a significant economic contributor and innovative industry leader. In 2005, the company invested $400 million to establish their first North American production facility in Ontario. The facility exports about 75 percent of its products and employs over 800 people.
  • Italpasta Limited is a family business located in Brampton, employing more than 300 people. Italpasta products are sold across Canada and the company is a leader in food service and private label sectors. It exports to the United States, Caribbean, Philippines, and Asia.
  • Voortman Cookies, headquartered in Burlington, has been baking and exporting premium baked goods since 1951. They produce over 60 unique varieties of cookies, including an extensive line of sugar-free and low sugar products. Voortman employs about 400 production workers, and distribute their cookies throughout North America and overseas.
  • Dr. Oetker chose London for its first North American frozen pizza factory. Its 200,000 square foot facility will produce 50 million frozen pizzas a year for the North American market, providing up to 300 new jobs in the London region. The company will also buy about 11,000 metric tonnes of Ontario food ingredients worth $20 million in the first year.
Ontario has introduced Bill 130, Promoting Local Food Act that, if passed, would promote food grown and made in Ontario, and develop goals and targets around the production, processing, distribution, sales and marketing of Ontario food.

A strong agri-food industry is part of the McGuinty government's plan to create jobs and opportunities that will grow the economy.  

Quick Facts

  • If every household in Ontario shifted $10 of their weekly food spending to local food, it would result in $2.4 billion in additional sales and create 10,000 new jobs.
  • Almost 25 percent of the province’s food manufacturing businesses are based in rural Ontario.
  • The top two sectors are meat products and bakery manufacturing.
  • Ontario farmers grow more than 200 agricultural commodities. Many of these are used by manufacturers in the province.
  • Ontario agri-food exports hit a record high of nearly $10 billion in 2011 with the U.S., Asia and Europe top destinations for Ontario food exports.

Additional Resources


“Food processors know that good things grow in Ontario. That’s why we’re home to one of the largest food processing clusters in North America. With outstanding farmers producing more commodities than any other province, and more than 150 million consumers within a day’s drive, we’re the perfect location for success in food processing.”

Ted McMeekin

Minister of Agriculture

“The food processing industry is helping drive economic growth and provide good jobs across Ontario for families. By providing the right climate to attract investment and build business, our government is helping Ontario’s food processors strengthen and expand their industry.”

Brad Duguid

Minister of Economic Development and Innovation

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