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Greenhouse, sod and nursery industries, 2019

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Released: 2020-05-06

Total sales from the greenhouse, nursery, field cut flowers and sod industries increased 2.4% from 2018 to $4.0 billion in 2019. Ontario accounted for the largest share of total sales (54.9%), followed by British Columbia (22.3%) and Quebec (12.1%).

Greenhouse products accounted for 79.2% of total sales ($3.2 billion), up 2.8% compared with 2018. This was largely the result of a 5.0% increase in greenhouse fruit and vegetable sales. Sales of nursery products grew 2.9% to $679.6 million and accounted for 17.1% of total sales.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Sales of greenhouse, nursery and sod products
Sales of greenhouse, nursery and sod products

Chart 2  Chart 2: Provincial distribution of total greenhouse area, 2019
Provincial distribution of total greenhouse area, 2019

Fruit and vegetable production grows to new heights

Despite many greenhouses operations switching their production from vegetables to cannabis, total sales of greenhouse fruit and vegetables rose 5.0% to $1.6 billion in 2019, continuing the annual increases that began in 2013. Ontario (65.0%), British Columbia (19.2%), Quebec (9.3%) and Alberta (5.4%) were responsible for most of the greenhouse fruit and vegetables production.

Still a flowering industry

Greenhouse flower and plant sales and resales rose 0.7% from 2018 to $1.6 billion in 2019. Contributing largely to this growth were increases in potted plant sales (+2.3% to $853.0 million), vegetable bedding plant sales (+3.8% to $149.2 million) and cutting sales (+9.3% to $48.4 million).

Operating expenses rise on higher labour costs

Greenhouse operating expenses were up 1.6% in 2019 to $2.7 billion, largely driven by higher labour costs. Although the number of employees fell by 205 from a year earlier to 32,373 in 2019, payroll expenses increased 4.1% to $787.8 million. As reported by Canada's Agriculture Sector Labour Market Forecast to 2025, the greenhouse industry was identified as the most problematic agriculture sector in terms of labour shortage.

Nursery and sod area declines

Total nursery area decreased 2.3% in 2019 to 16 801 hectares. However, nursery products sales and resales increased 2.9% to $679.6 million, while operating expenses rose 2.6% to $590.3 million.

Total sod area decreased 3.4% to 18 667 hectares in 2019, with sales down 4.4% to $133.6 million and expenses decreasing 1.6% to $103.7 million.

  Note to readers

The Annual Greenhouse, Sod and Nursery Survey does not collect data on greenhouse cannabis production.

The Agriculture and food statistics portal, accessible from the Subjects module of our website, provides users a single point of access to a wide variety of information related to agriculture and food.

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