The Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry

The Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry has launched its study of Canada’s value-added food sector.

April 17, 2018

Ottawa – A Senate committee is examining how Canadian food processors can take advantage of a golden opportunity to keep exporting quality foods and strengthen a homegrown economic sector at the same time.

The Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry has launched its study of Canada’s value-added food sector. Senators are looking for ways to make it more competitive around the world. The committee will hear from industry stakeholders including farming associations, experts in technology, environmental certification and intellectual property.

The value-added sector is made up of businesses that take farmers’ bulk produce and process it into a ready-to-eat product, like making bread from wheat. Ketchup made from Canadian-grown tomatoes and processed in Canadian factories is an example of the homegrown value-added food sector. This sector represents an opportunity to create jobs and stimulate investment and innovation.

However, the sector is experiencing challenges, including access to foreign markets, the tendency of Canadian farmers to export their raw products instead of selling to domestic food-processing plants and a labour shortage in Canadian food-processing plants that prevents work from being done in Canada.

In February, the Senate authorized the committee to conduct this study into steps the government and industry can take to bolster the value-added food sector in Canada. The report will examine how the sector can continue to meet global consumer demand while remaining competitive in the Canadian market. The committee is expected to present its findings later this year.

Quick Facts

  • Canada has a strong agriculture and agri-food sector. It generated $111.9 billion in 2016, accounting for 7% of Canada’s Gross Domestic ProductThe sector employs approximately 2.3 million people, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).
  • In 2016, more than 1,200 food and beverage processing companies exported their products, according to AAFC.
  • In 2016, 77.5%, or approximately 961 of the food and beverage processing companies that exported their products were small businesses with fewer than 100 employees.



“In a world where too many people live with food insecurity, Canada is blessed with an abundance of farm products. Canadians owe it to the world and to themselves to make the most of this bounty by making food products that meet the global demand and that create meaningful employment in an economic sector that has great potential.”

- Senator Diane Griffin, Chair of the committee

“Canada exports approximately half of its farm produce. There is a tremendous opportunity to add further value to Canada’s farm output by turning it into finished, ready-to-eat products that people in other countries are eager to buy. It makes great business sense to do that work right here in Canada.”

- Senator Ghislain Maltais, Deputy Chair of the committee

Associated Links

  • The Senate of Canada is on Twitter and Facebook – Follow the committee using the hashtag #AGFO.
  • Learn more about the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry.
  • Watch the latest meeting on the value-added food sector.
  • Sign up for the Senate’s eNewsletter.


For more information, please contact:

Sonia Noreau
Public Relations Officer
Senate of Canada
613-614-1180 |