This 2012 report provides an economic overview of the Canadian agriculture and agri-food system. It is meant to be a multi-purpose reference document to provide: an introduction to the agriculture and agri-food system; a snapshot of structural changes that are occurring throughout the system in response to various factors; and background data and information to inform public discussions on challenges and opportunities facing the Canadian agriculture and agri-food system. Charts and tables with brief accompanying texts are used to summarize information and to provide base performance indicators. The 2012 report begins with a special feature section that provides a description of employment trends in Canada's agriculture and agri-food system. It also discusses characteristics of the agriculture labour force such as its age distribution and educational attainment. The publication continues by reviewing each segment of the system, starting downstream with consumers to food distribution, and heading upstream to food and beverage processing, primary agriculture and input suppliers. It also contains a section that considers the environmental impacts of agricultural production in Canada including how Canada's agricultural producers are addressing environmental concerns. The report concludes with a review of government expenditures in support of agriculture and agri-food, including international comparisons of government measures of support. It describes the Canadian agriculture and agri-food system as a modern, highly complex, integrated, internationally competitive and growing part of the Canadian economy. It is a resilient system, responding to the challenges and opportunities it faces by restructuring and adapting to changing consumer demands, advancing technology, North American integration and globalization.


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