Turf & Rec

News
Green industry booming in Canada


May 2, 2011
By Mike Jiggens

As a business sector, the horticulture industry in Canada, including nursery growers, landscape contractors and garden centres, touches every community, enhancing beauty as well as economies.

Most of these enterprises are small businesses, many family-owned. Collectively, they contribute over $14-billion annually to Canada's economy, according to a 2009 independent study by Deloitte & Touche. This figure represents $6.98-billion in direct output and $7.5-billion in value-added impacts, based on multipliers generated by Statistics Canada.

Many of these companies have fewer than ten employees, yet they are key job providers. The Deloitte study put Canadian green industry employment at 110,750 full-time equivalent jobs, plus 22,026 jobs in industries that supply and support the sector. The industry attracts people who enjoy working outdoors, and encourages many of those to own their own businesses.

Ornamental horticulture is the only agricultural crop generating sales taxes at the bottom of the value chain.

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While green industry companies are quietly generating economic impact, the industry achieves impressive marketing and industry-improvement impact through its provincial trade association, Landscape Ontario. The 2,300-member association is made up of 10 diverse sectors, as well as suppliers. It co-founded Canada Blooms, a prestige event that has promoted horticulture to millions. "I can't explain how we get these results, since our only tools are the same things every industry wants: outstanding volunteer participation and cooperation," says Landscape Ontario public relations manager Denis Flanagan.

The industry has a reputation for traditional values, fair dealing, hard work and respect for nature. At its trade show Congress, held each January in Toronto, some exhibitors halt set-up on Sunday. Congress ranks among Canada's largest trade shows.