Producing and Processing for the World
Canada's Industrial Heartland sits on the most fertile farmbelt in Canada in the center of the country's most robust food and beverage industry. Its rich soil and rolling landscape have welcomed many generations of food producers and nurtured a strong local food processing industry.
The province of Ontario's agri-food sector is worth more than $32 billion annually and accounts for more than 40 percent of all value-added food shipments in Canada.
Canada's Industrial Heartland is home to:
Poultry, orchards, sheep and lamb production are also strong in the region.
New and Growing Markets
The markets for Ontario's food processors are growing and there is a strong push for more locally grown and processed food. Local demand for end-consumer products is extensive with the Heartland's farmers helping to feed a province of more than 12 million people. The huge consumer market of Toronto, Canada's largest city, lies just 1.5 hours away.
Benefiting from duty-free access to NAFTA markets, Ontario exports nearly $10 billion annually in agri-food. The United States receives over 85% of these exports, 60 percent of which are value-added food or beverage products.
Many Growing Advantages
Ontario food and beverage processors enjoy many competitive advantages. Energy costs in Canada's Industrial Heartland are lower than Michigan and Ohio for both electricity and natural gas. Operating expenses also tend to be lower than in other American Midwest states, and are competitive with sites in the Southeastern states.
The Ontario government is progressive and proactive in supporting all manufacturing and business enterprise. Corporate tax structures in Ontario are more than 33 percent lower than the U.S. average, and lower than all the Great Lake States. By 2012, the corporate tax rate in Ontario will be one of the lowest in North America.
Thriving Research Community
Ontario is the heart of the Canadian research community for agriculture and agri-food. More than 60% of all of Canada's agri-food research and development takes place in Ontario.
Canada's Industrial Heartland has one of the most advanced agri-food sectors in the world, thanks to its close proximity to several world-class sector-specific research centers in Guelph and in London, Ontario.
Areas of focused research in these centers include:
The Institute of Food Processing Technology (IFPT), a partnership between the Association of Ontario Food Processors and Conestoga College is located minutes from Canada's Industrial Heartland and will have its first intake of students in 2011.