Canada's Forest Industry: By the Numbers (35+ Facts)

Canada's Forest Industry: By the Numbers (35+ Facts)

Canada's a nation that's rich in natural resources. From minerals to petroleum to lumber, the natural resource sector is the backbone of prosperity in Canada, contributing about 20% to the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) every year.

More specifically, the forest industry plays an important role in Canada’s economy on both a provincial and federal level. To give you an idea of just how important it is, we’ve compiled numbers showing how it contributes to economies across the nation.

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Forestry in Canada: By the Numbers

Canada's forestry sector quick facts

  • 209,940 - people employed across the nation (2017)
  • 11,565 - total Indigenous employees (2016)
  • 6% - percentage of people employed in the forest industry who identify as Indigenous (2016)
  • 17% - percentage of people employed by the forest sector who are women (2016)
  • 7.2% - percentage of Canada’s total exports (2017)
  • $24.6 billion – contribution to Canada’s economy (2017)
  • $1.4 billion – tax revenues to provincial and territorial governments (2016)

Forestry in Quebec: By the Numbers

  • $10.4 billion – value of forest exports from Quebec (2016)
  • 57,778 – direct jobs in Quebec as a result of the forest sector (2016)
  • 60,000 – indirect and induced jobs due to activity in Quebec’s forest products sector (2014)
  • 31% - percentage of Canada’s forest industry employment found in Quebec (2017)
  • $2.5 billion – total worker compensation to forest sector employees (2015)
  • 1.6% - percentage of Quebec’s total workforce employed by the forest sector (2017)
  • 27.4% - percentage of Canadian forest exports from Quebec to Canada’s top export markets (2017)

Forestry in Ontario: By the Numbers

  • 172,000 – people employed by the forest products sector in Ontario (2017)
  • $15.5 billion – economic activity spurred by Ontario’s forest industry (2017)
  • 21% - percentage of Canada’s forest industry employment found in Ontario (2017)
  • 13.3% - percentage of Canadian forest exports from Ontario to Canada’s top export markets (2017)
  • 1/100 – one out of every hundred people in Ontario is employed by the forest industry

Forestry in British Columbia: By the Numbers

  • $14.16 billion – value of forest products exported by B.C. (2017)
  • 32% - percentage of B.C.’s total exports that were from forestry (2017)
  • 57,000 – people employed in B.C. by the forest industry (2017)
  • 7,000 – number of businesses supported by the industry and its activities (2017)
  • $992 million – tax revenues attributable to the forest sector (2017)
  • 2.3% - percentage of B.C.’s total workforce employed by the forest industry (2017)

Forestry in Alberta: By the Numbers

  • 9.7% - percentage of Canadian forest exports from Alberta to Canada’s top export markets (2017)
  • 4,000 – total number of people employed in Alberta by the forestry sector (2016)
  • 0.2% - percentage of total employment in Alberta accounted for by forestry and logging support activities industry (2016)
  • 10% - percentage of increase in employment in the forestry sector in Alberta between 2015 and 2016

Forestry in the Atlantic Provinces: By the Numbers

  • 600 – number of firms in forestry, logging, wood products, pulp and paper in New Brunswick (2018)
  • $1.7 billion – value of forest product exports from New Brunswick (2016)
  • 22,000 – rough amount of direct and “spinoff” jobs in New Brunswick created by the forest sector (2016)
  • 9% - amount of Canadian forestry jobs found in Atlantic Canada (2017)
  • 5.1% - percentage of Canadian forest exports from New Brunswick to Canada’s top export markets (2017)
  • 3.5% - percentage of New Brunswick’s total workforce in the forest industry (2017)
  • 1.7% - percentage of Canadian forest exports from Nova Scotia to Canada’s top export markets (2017)
  • 1 in 14 – jobs in New Brunswick linked to the forestry sector (2016)

Sources: Natural Resources Canada, Government of British Columbia, Government of Alberta, Ontario Forest Industries Association, Government of Ontario, Quebec 2018-2019 Budget, Forest NB 


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The forest sector is just one of many important natural resource industries that help boost Canada's economy.

The mining and energy sector, for example, are also critical to Canada's overall prosperity, social progress and standard of living.

Canada is a world-leader when it comes to developing its natural resources in a transparent, regulated and environmentally-friendly way.

If you support the responsible development of Canada's natural resources to benefit all Canadians, we encourage you to join us at Canada Action today. Hope to see you there!

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