Disappointing Export Performance—After averaging gains of 3.4 per cent since the collapse of the loonie in 2014, food product exports disappointed in 2018, with volumes estimated to have grown by a meagre 0.1 per cent. This poor showing, which came amid lingering trade uncertainty and capacity constraints, is expected to be temporary.
Market Access—Free trade agreements, such as the recent Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the 2017 Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), are facilitating new export opportunities for Canadian food processors. At the same time, the signing of the new Canada–U.S.–Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) has alleviated uncertainty about access to their largest export market. These developments are supporting the industry’s bright export outlook.
Job Vacancies—Against the backdrop of a historically strong Canadian labour market, food manufacturers are facing a growing number of job vacancies. With roughly one in five workers expected to retire over the coming decade, these labour shortages could worsen, something that could ultimately weaken the industry’s growth potential.