The Canadian sugar industry produces more than 1.2 million tonnes of refined sugar annually with a value of shipments of over $1 billion dollars.

The sugar industry directly employs 915 Canadians at refineries in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia as well as hundreds of prairie sugar beet farmers. The industry has also made more than $200 million in facility investments since the late 1990s.

Efficient sugar production has contributed in a major way to the development of a vibrant value-added food processing sector; Canada's second largest manufacturing industry. Food processing is now the top manufacturing industry in seven of ten Canadian provinces, and consumer-oriented food and beverage products represent half of all Canadian agri-food exports. (See: Agriculture & Agri-food Canada).

High quality, low-priced sugar is an essential input to major sugar-using food manufacturers which account for over $18 billion in sales and one quarter of all Canadian food manufacturing sales. Value-added by major sugar users is relatively high at an average 40% compared to the food manufacturing average of 30%. Canadian refined sugar has been a significant factor driving investment and export growth.

Employment in major sugar using food companies (over 62,000 employees) represents about a third of total food manufacturing employment. Major sugar using industries are listed below.

  • Bread and bakery product manufacturing
  • Sugar and confectionery product manufacturing
  • Fruit and vegetable preserving and specialty food manufacturing
  • Breakfast cereal manufacturing
  • Cookie and cracker manufacturing
  • Ice cream and frozen dessert manufacturing
  • Flour mixes and dough manufacturing from purchased flour
  • Flavouring syrup and concentrate manufacturing

In addition, sugar is used in producing wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages, animal feed, seasonings and dressings, and for non food uses such as plastics and pharmaceuticals.

By generating demand for goods and services, the sugar industry also indirectly supports a number of other economic sectors, including agriculture, natural resources, packaging, industrial machinery and transportation.

Sugar Using Food Manufacturing Growth 1995 - 2010

Sales 12508755 18208035
Value Added 5091568 7125581
Exports 1362773 4563334
$1,000s 1995 2010