Ontario - A great place to grow your food business

Ontario's Food Industry

From Ontario to the world's tables

Ontario feeds millions of people around the world. We're home to the third-largest food production cluster in North America - one of the most diverse and competitive anywhere.

From large cities to our smallest rural communities, thousands of food processing companies are flourishing in Ontario's moderate, four-season climate. Ontario's food production resources include ingredient manufacturers, specialty importers and other value-added processors, as well as essential services such as analytical laboratories, specialty packaging, storage and transportation businesses.

There's more: we have food science, processing and safety programs at the University of Guelph - the country's oldest and most prestigious agriculturally focused university - less than an hour's drive from Toronto. Vocational food processing training is offered at a number of community colleges. For confidential creative and technical solutions on product development, packaging, shelf-life, food safety, quality, and productivity, food companies can turn to the Guelph Food Technology Centre.

Ontario's multi-cultural diversity embraces more than 200 distinct ethnic backgrounds and adds to the richness of what is produced here in Ontario for consumption in the world's markets.

Ontario is home to an extraordinary breadth and depth of food industry expertise and experience. That's why many global food industry giants - some identified here - and tomorrow's emerging stars have invested in Ontario.

Selected recent food industry investments in Ontario:

  • Kellogg (U.S.) - Cereal plant ($120M)
  • Ferrero (Italy) - Confectionary plant ($300M)
  • Royal Canin (France) - Pet food plant ($50M)
  • Puratos (Belgium) - Baking ingredient plant ($40M)
  • Maidstone Bakery (Ireland) - Baking products plant ($250M)
  • ANR Foods (Sweden) - Rice processing plant ($15M)
  • Original Cakerie (Canada) - Frozen dessert plant ($45M)
  • Maidstone Coffee (Canada) - Coffee roasting plant ($30M)

Access to Markets

In the heart of a vast market

One look at the map tells the story: Ontario's food producers and food processors are strategically located in the heart of more than 400 million prosperous consumers.

Forty per cent of North American consumers live within a day's drive of Toronto, Ontario's largest city. Your products can reach their markets fast and fresh, thanks to Ontario's expansive network of 400-series high-speed highways, which connects directly with other major Canadian arteries and U.S. interstate highways.

For speed and cost-efficiency of delivery, trucking is usually the preferred choice for Ontario's food producers and for importing food ingredients. For less time-sensitive bulk shipping requirements, we have high-volume rail and international inland marine shipping, and more than a dozen freight-friendly border crossings. For small-volume high-value shipments there's convenient access to international air cargo. And, to maximize your own productivity, you can fly from Ontario's five international airports to hundreds of U.S. cities within a few hours to meet with clients, suppliers and return home the same day.

NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, came into effect in 1994 and has opened up trade with Canada, the United States and Mexico. NAFTA has created a transparent, rules-based trade and investment environment for Canada-based exporters and investors to keep trade rolling smoothly.

A Stable Place to Grow Your Food Business

Why choose Ontario to grow your food business? Ontario will welcome and support your investment.

A robust, dynamic and diverse economy

Ontario's economy is one of North America's largest, and it's broadly diversified, with export strength in automotive, aerospace, chemicals, mining and biotech. Toronto is Canada's financial services hub and home to our five largest banks - all of which are stable, well capitalized and independent of government involvement. Since 2003, hundreds of leading companies have invested more than $120 billion to expand in Ontario.

A key government priority for our Province's continued economic growth is to help develop and maintain a skilled workforce. Our people are…

Prepared: Our province has a high-quality, publicly funded network of 20 universities and 24 colleges to educate and train post-secondary students: More of our workers have post-secondary education than any G7 country

Dependable: In manufacturing, the average on-the-job tenure is 9.5 years (compared to 5.5 in the U.S.); that means lower transition and training costs; and,

Diverse: More than 100 languages are spoken in Ontario, so we can work with your customers and suppliers in their own language, anywhere in the world.

Thanks to significant long-term economic growth, Ontario has maintained exceptional quality of life that attracts and retains qualified foreign workers. Our welcoming, multi-cultural society enables employees to preserve ties with family and friends, both locally and globally. Employees have easy access to vast recreational, cultural and entertainment opportunities.

Reduced corporate burdens, low tax rates

Ontario is continuously reducing the costs of doing business - start-ups require just two simple steps versus up to 20 in other industrialized countries. Employee health care benefits cost Ontario manufacturers less than half as much as their U.S. counterparts, and income from food manufacturing and processing is taxed at a lower rate than general businesses.

Financial support programs

For eligible companies, government programs provide financial assistance for infrastructure, human capital and the development and commercialization of advanced technologies. Our R&D tax incentive program is one of the most generous. The Business Development Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is ready to assist companies interested in applying for these programs.

How we can help get you started in Ontario

The Province of Ontario offers a number of programs and initiatives to encourage food processing companies to set-up here. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is the provincial lead on the development of Ontario's food processing industry.

Staff from our Business Development Branch focus on international companies interested in maximizing their success by adding an Ontario location. Branch personnel are highly specialized food processing industry advisors whose goal is to make the move to Ontario simple and rewarding.

For more information about investment opportunities in Ontario, please visit us at:
www.investinontario.com or Phone: (519) 826-4447 or E-mail: info@investinontario.com

For a list of international phone numbers to contact us:

For more information:
Local: (519) 826-3486
E-mail: foodinvest@ontario.ca