Adding billions to Canada`s economy
Canola has been the single largest source of income for Canadian farmers in three of the past four years, totaling $8 billion in 2015. The canola sector contributes $19.3 billion to the Canadian economy each year and is responsible for more than 249,000 Canadian jobs as well as $12.5 billion in wages.
From science to growers’ fields
Canola is a crop that was developed in Canada in the 1970s, through traditional plant breeding from rapeseed. The removal of undesirable components from rapeseed made canola an edible and high-quality crop. Canola is a member of a large family of plants called crucifers; its four yellow petals form the shape of a cross. These yellow flowers produce pods from which seeds are harvested by canola growers. Canola is grown across Canada, from Prince Edward Island to British Columbia.
Transforming our crop in value-added products
Canada’s canola processing industry transforms harvested seeds into oil and meal, which are then manufactured into a wide variety of products. The industry includes 14 processing plants in 5 provinces. Most of the economic benefits of canola stay in western Canada where the majority of canola is grown but canola processing in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes is worth an impressive $1.3 billion in economic activity each year. The main canola products are oil for human consumption and meal for livestock feed. Canola oil is refined to improve its colour, flavour and shelf life and is further processed into a wide range of consumer and commercial food products. Canola oil is also used to make biodiesel.
Exporting our canola abroad
Canada exports 90% of its canola as seed, oil or meal to approximately 50 markets around the world, bringing billions of dollars into Canada. The largest export markets for canola are the United States, China, Japan and Mexico. The Canadian canola industry is globally competitive and has succeeded in international markets when Canada has access to these markets free of tariff and non-tariff barriers. In 2015, Canada surpassed $8.9 billion a year in canola exports – more than twice as much as a decade ago. Exports take the form of canola oil, seed (which is crushed for oil) and meal (which is used for high protein livestock feed). Seed is the most valuable export (57% of exports), followed by oil (27%) and meal (15%).
Making it to the kitchen table
Demand for canola oil continues to grow as more people discover its health properties such as having the least amount of saturated fat compared to other vegetable oils, being free of trans fats and cholesterol while containing essential fatty acids. Canada’s home-grown crop, canola, can help reduce cardiovascular disease and improve the health. Its high smoke point and neutral taste make it an ideal cooking oil often found in kitchen cupboards around the globe. Canola meal is used as a high protein component of livestock feed.