Ontario's business environment offers companies key strategic advantages for international success. With a vital economy, skilled talent, and competitive incentives - it's the ideal setting for your business expansion. If you need to reach the world, you need to be in Ontario.

Strategic location to access a $20-trillion market

Ontario is the right place for your business. Our strategic location, combined with an extensive transportation infrastructure, allows you to quickly reach important markets in North America and beyond.

The Ontario advantage

Ontario is the right place for your business. Our strategic location, combined with an extensive transportation infrastructure, allows you to quickly reach important markets in North America and beyond. There are over 142 million consumers to reach within a day's drive of Ontario.

Ontario, as part of Canada, has free trade agreements in force with more than 10 countries, which provide a competitive advantage for your operations across a wide range of sectors. Additionally, Canada has begun negotiations with more than 60 countries, including some of the world's key markets.

Ontario food manufacturers exported close to $12 billion in agri-foods to the global marketplace in 2013. Local markets are lucrative as well, with Ontario producers claiming a large share of Canada's grocery and specialty food store market. As an Ontario food manufacturer, you'll enjoy ease of access to these local and global opportunities which means your business will grow.

A skilled worker driving a forklift moves pallets of packaged baked goods.

Ontario has 14 convenient land border crossings into the United States. Our province's extensive road infrastructure makes it easy for your business to move goods over land. We have over 250,000 kilometres of municipal roads, provincial highways, and resource and recreational roads. Each year, about $1.2 trillion worth of goods are transported on Ontario's highways.

Our rail networks help ensure just-in-time deliveries of your goods across North America. With five international airports and 80 regional airports, Ontario business centres are also only a short flight from other major North American cities, including Detroit, Chicago, New York and Boston. In addition, marine lines offer shipping options to ports throughout the Great Lakes and around the world.

Diverse industry with all the right ingredients to build and grow your business

Ontario has the right ingredients for your food and beverage business. We have over 200 agricultural commodities to help grow your operations. You will also have access to superior, end-to-end supply chain solutions.

You need it, we've got it

With manufacturing revenue of $36.9 billion, Ontario is one of North America's largest and most significant food and beverage processing sectors. We have nearly 3,000 registered food and beverage businesses — multinationals, homegrown giants and successful niche-driven businesses. They value the diversity of Ontario's food sector, the size of our market and the opportunities for partnering with like-minded businesses.

Ontario is home to a wide variety of raw ingredients. There are 51,950 conventional and organic farms growing over 200 Ontario-produced agricultural commodities to help you grow your operation. In 2012, Ontario's agriculture sector had about $12.3 billion in farm cash receipts. Processors purchase about 65% of Ontario's food-related farm production.

An extensive view of a highly advanced vegetable processing facility.

Quick Glance: What Ontario produces

Revenue from goods manufactured (value of shipments) by sector, 2012
Industry Manufacturing activity; Revenue from goods manufactured (million $) Percentage of total food, beverage, and tobacco
Animal food manufacturing 2,047.2 5.5
Grain and oilseed milling 3,856.2 10.4
Sugar and confectionery product manufacturing 2,399.7 6.5
Fruit and veg. preserving and specialty food manufacturing 2,680.5 7.3
Dairy product manufacturing 4,588.5 12.4
Meat product manufacturing 8,105.2 22.0
Seafood product preparation and packaging 284.8 0.8
Bakeries and tortilla manufacturing 4,402.6 11.9
Other food manufacturing 3,397.7 5.5
Food manufacturing 31,762.4 86.1
Beverage and tobacco product manufacturing 5,148.6 13.9
Total Food and Beverage manufacturing 36,911.0 100.0
Source: Statistics Canada, 2012 Annual Survey of Manufacturing and Logging (released April 2014)

* "Revenue from goods manufactured" and "value of shipments" are used synonymously in this document. Statistics Canada currently uses "revenue from goods manufactured" and many know it as "value of shipments".

Two highly trained workers manage food production equipment.

Our key subsectors - from breakfast cereals to frozen vegetables - are achieving success in serving specialty markets, including ethnic cuisine and functional food.

In Ontario, you'll have access to superior, end-to-end supply chain solutions. They include primary and value-added processors, packagers, warehousing, distribution, equipment, and specialized storage and transportation — companies that know the food sector and food processors' needs. They're ready to help you succeed in Ontario.

Ontario's workforce has the diversity to serve a global marketplace. More than 200 languages are spoken in Ontario, creating a "people" resource that supports global sourcing, sales, distribution and partnerships.

Skilled and reliable workforce

You'll easily find the talent you need to power your food manufacturing business in Ontario - over 96,700 people in Ontario work in food manufacturing.

Place your order now

You'll easily find the talent you need to power your food manufacturing business in Ontario. 96,700 people in Ontario work in food manufacturing.

Our manufacturing sector workers are skilled and reliable, with an average on-the-job experience of more than 10 years; they are also among the world's best educated. 68% of Ontario adults possess post-secondary education - a rate higher than any OECD country, and 20 percentage points higher than the United States.

Through world-class programs in agriculture, food and nutritional sciences and culinary arts, Ontario's universities and colleges continue to train the next generation of food manufacturing workers in programs including agriculture, food and nutritional sciences, and culinary arts.


A skilled worker inspects the quality of packaging on a baked foods production line.


More than a great place to start and grow a business, Ontario is a wonderful place to live, with two Ontario cities ranked in the top five in North America in Mercer LLC's 2012 Quality of Living survey. Toronto is also among the top five globally in the Economist Intelligence Unit's 2013 Liveability Index.

Competitive business costs

You'll get more for your money in Ontario, where the combined federal-provincial manufacturing income tax rate is one of the lowest in North America, and lower than neighbouring jurisdictions.

Ontario: come grow with us

In Ontario you will enjoy Canada's lower business costs in manufacturing, which provide the greatest cost advantage in the G7.

Business costs in manufacturing
Country Cost advantage/disadvantage relative to the US (%)
Canada 3.8
Netherlands 3.1
United Kingdom 3.0
France 1.2
Japan 0.5
Italy 0.4
United States Baseline
Australia -0.5
Germany -0.9
Source: KPMG Competitive Alternatives 2014

You'll also get more for your money in Ontario, where the combined federal-provincial manufacturing income tax rate is one of the lowest in North America, and lower than neighbouring jurisdictions.

Competitive Corporate Taxes on Manufacturing

Combined Federal and State/Provincial Corporate Income Tax Rate in Manufacturing (Per Cent)
Country Percentage
Ontario 25.0
New York 29.3
Texas 31.4
Ohio 31.9
Florida 34.2
Georgia 34.5
Great Lakes States Avg. 34.7
Michigan 34.9
Indiana 35.2
Illinois 35.6
Wisconsin 36.2
Kentucky 36.4
New Jersey 36.4
California 36.8
Source: KPMG Competitive Alternatives, 2016

Apprenticeship training and tax credits are available for some skilled workers, as well as one of the world's most generous R&D tax programs, which can reduce the after-tax cost for every $100 in R&D spending to approximately $61, or $37 if you're a small business.

And there's more incentives to save you money and have your workforce and business grow:

  • Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit Ontario provides a tax credit from the Ontario government for companies that hire and train apprentices in certain skilled trades, including millwrights and process operators.
  • Ontario Co-op Education Tax Credit (CETC), a refundable tax credit available to employers who hire students enrolled in a recognized Ontario university or college co-operative program. An eligible employer may claim a refundable tax credit for each qualifying work placement ending in the taxation year. The CETC reimburses employers for 25% of eligible expenditures. Smaller businesses are eligible for a higher credit rate of 30%.
  • Ontario Business Research Institute Tax Credit, available to a qualifying corporation that performs scientific research and experimental development in Ontario under a contract with an eligible research institute.
  • Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive, a federal tax program created to drive Canadian businesses of all sizes to conduct research and development that will lead to new, improved or technologically advanced products and processes.
  • Eastern Ontario Development Fund and Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, which provide grants to help businesses create new jobs and invest in new technologies, equipment or skills training for workers. These funds support projects that attract or retain investments in Ontario, providing up to 15 per cent of the project cost to a maximum of $1.5 million. Investments of $10 million or higher that create 50 or more jobs may qualify for a loan of up to $5 million.

An environment of innovation

You'll find the right knowledge and innovation in Ontario to further your business. We have a reputation for excellence and innovation in agri-food research that runs the gamut from functional foods and nutrigenomics, to ethnic vegetables and food safety.

Forward thinking and growing

You'll find the right knowledge and innovation in Ontario to further your business. We have a reputation for excellence and innovation in agri-food research that runs the gamut from functional foods to ethnic vegetables and food safety.

When you invest in Ontario, you'll have access to the world-class R&D expertise you need to take your ideas to market, and to sharpen your competitive edge with the latest innovations in food manufacturing. We are pulling off amazing things in nutritional and agri-food sciences, food safety, packaging, and food production processes and technology. Our universities, colleges, government agencies and industry groups are undertaking groundbreaking research and development in areas such as shelf life improvement and advanced robotics to help you fully automate your food manufacturing operations.

A scientist performs quality assurance testing at a brewery.
  • Agri-Tech Commercialization Centre. Part of a federal-provincial initiative, the Agri-Technology Commercialization Centre provides market knowledge and industry expertise for entrepreneurs, researchers and companies focused on agriculture and biotechnology.
  • NSF-GFTC. This membership-based organization is the result of a merger between NSF International, a global public health and food safety organization, and the Guelph Food Technology Centre, a Canadian leader in food safety certification, training, quality and technical solutions.
  • Toronto Food Business Incubator. Located in Canada's largest city, this non-profit organization helps entrepreneurs build and grow their business by providing access to advisory support, food industry expertise and production space in a commercial kitchen.
  • Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. An independent, non-for-profit research centre that delivers innovative products and production solutions for the horticulture industry.
  • Sector-specific associations. Organizations that provide a common voice on issues such as government policies, regulations and funding programs.

Food manufacturing in Ontario: By the numbers

  • Over 3,000 companies
  • 96,700 workers
  • $36.9 billion in manufacturing revenues
  • $11.8 billion in exports
  • 25 academic institutions in Ontario offering agri-food programs

(Ministry of Agriculture and Food 2014 Facts)

Discover how our business advantages can help grow your business. Other leaders in the sector have already taken advantage of what Ontario has to offer:

Recent examples of major international food investments in Ontario
Flag of the United States of America
  • Bolthouse Farms: Baby-cut carrots plant in Wheatley, Ontario.
  • Kellogg: Cereal plant in Belleville, Ontario.
  • Missionero: Fresh cut salad mixes in Brantford, Ontario.
  • Sysco: 400,000 sq. ft. foodservice distribution centre in Woodstock, Ontario.
Flag of Spain
  • Natra: Chocolate/confectionery plant in London, Ontario.
Flag of Germany
  • Dr. Oetker: Frozen pizza plant in London, Ontario.
  • Gizeh: Food packaging facility in Brantford, Ontario.
Flag of Italy
  • Ferrero: Confectionary plant in Brantford, Ontario.
Flag of France
  • Royal Canin: Pet food plant in Puslinch, Ontario.
Flag of Belgium
  • Puratos: Baking ingredient plant in Mississauga, Ontario.
Flag of Switzerland
  • IAWS Aryzta: Baking products in Brantford, Ontario.
Flag of British Columbia
  • The Original Cakerie: Frozen desserts plant in London, Ontario.

Industry Subsectors

Feedback: Was this page useful?

Talk to a business consultant

Request a conversation

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up now

Back to top