Contributing to Ontario's economy
Ontario's fruit and vegetable sectors generate more than $4.2 billion in economic activity every year, including over $3.1 billion in sales by farmers, commonly called farmgate sales. This represents more than one third of Canada’s total production.
The sector employs over 30,000 people directly on-farm, and every on-farm job generates approximately 2.2 jobs downstream (an additional 66,000 indirect jobs).
Competing in a global market place
Ontario's fruit and vegetable growers are part of a global marketplace. Many other countries around the world grow fruit and vegetable crops that are also grown here at home, which really influences the prices growers here receive. Even at the peak of local production, Canadian growers are always facing import competition for their fruits and vegetables.
It also makes it very hard if not impossible for Canadian growers to pass along any increases in their production costs to their customers; most produce buyers will simply look for a lower-priced alternative from somewhere else. There are also set demands from retailers that growers must abide to when it comes to things like packaging, crop sizing and more.
When it comes to exports, although Ontario greenhouses export about 70% of their product, the majority of other fruit and vegetable crops in the province are highly dependent on the local market.
Although every business has to be economically sustainable in order to survive, this is even more critical in the fruit and vegetable sector, and growers work hard to stay profitable while also meeting goals and requirements for environmental and social sustainability.