How does Ontario’s organic production compare to the rest of Canada? This report will look at Ontario's organic producers, processors, and acreage and how we have compared to the other provinces over time from 2012-2022. More information about the Ontario Organic Market is available in the Ontario Organic Market Report 2021.   

Ontario’s Share of Canadian Organic

The Canadian organic sector has been growing steadily as demand for organic products continues to rise. Nationally, organic operations and acreage represent approximately 3.2% of cropland and 2.2% of farms, as measured by the 2016 Census of Agriculture.


Ontario represents approximately 18% of certified organic operations in Canada, second behind Quebec (41%). The 2020 Canada Organic Trade Association's Quick Facts found that Ontario represents 15.5% of certified organic crop producers (which includes farms producing grains, fruits, vegetables and wild collection) and 37% of livestock producers. Ontario (491) and Quebec (690) have the most certified organic processors in the country.


In 2018 the Prairie provinces held the largest share of organic acreage in Canada, led by Saskatchewan (1.15 million acres). Ontario ranked fifth out of the provinces for share of organic acreage, with about 5% of total organic acreage. Comparatively, Ontario represents approximately 10% of all of Canada’s cropland. 

Number of Organic Producers and Organic Acreage

There is no direct link between the number of producers and acreage in each province. In 2018, Ontario made up approximately 16% of the total organic crop producers, but only 5% of the organic land acreage. In contrast, Saskatchewan made up 35% of the organic acreage, with 18% of organic crop producers (Canada Organic Trade Association By the Numbers, 2018). This is likely because Quebec and Ontario have more fruit and vegetable producers, and grain producers in Ontario and Quebec operate on smaller areas of land than in the Prairies.

Organic Acreage by Province and Crop Type

Overall in 2018, Ontario had just under 5% of all Canadian organic acreage. When broken down by crop type, Ontario had 7% of Canada’s organic field crop acreage (fourth of all provinces), 7% of Canada’s organic fruit and vegetable acreage (third of all provinces), and 3.5% of pasture, hay and forage acreage (fifth of all provinces. Comparatively, Saskatchewan had 53% of organic field crop acreage, Quebec had 63% of organic fruit and vegetable acreage, and British Columbia had 38% of pasture, forages and natural area acreage.

A Closer Look: Ontario and Quebec Organic

According to the 2016 Census of Agriculture, approximately 26% of Canada’s farms are based in Ontario, while only 15% of farms are based in Quebec. Ontario also has a larger share of Canadian farmland, representing approximately 10% of Canada’s farmland in 2016, while Quebec represented only 5%. 

However, when it comes to organic, Ontario is lagging behind. According to data from the Canada Organic Trade Association in 2018, Quebec had 2.5x more organic acreage than Ontario, and 2.25x more organic operators. 

Despite substantial growth potential in Ontario’s organic sector, supply has stagnated with only 1.7% of Ontario’s agricultural land under organic management. The gap between Ontario supply and demand is filled by both international and out-of-province imports. 

Quebec has committed over $9 million to its organic growth strategy: up to $20,000 per producer for transition. Quebec's agricultural production is at 6.4% organic, to Ontario's 1.7%.

Organic Acreage by Province

Ontario ranks fifth in organic acreage, behind Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec. Looking at change over time since 2013, Manitoba, Quebec, and the Atlantic provinces have all significantly increased their organic acreage, while Ontario has largely stagnated in growth. 

Organic Producers by Province

Crop Producers

Alberta and Quebec have grown significantly in the number of organic crop producers over time; Alberta with nearly 124% growth over 2012 numbers, and Quebec with nearly 148% growth over 2012 numbers. Ontario has also had growth since 2012 of 39%, although year over year it is not as much as Quebec.

Livestock Producers

In 2020, Ontario had the most organic livestock producers of all provinces. Together, Ontario and Quebec have 68% of Canada’s organic livestock producers. Ontario’s number of livestock producers has risen considerably since 2015, 40% overall, with a sharp increase in 2018. Similarly, Quebec has seen a 46% increase in the number of livestock producers.

Organic Processors by Province

In 2020, the bulk of organic processors (84%) were located in Ontario (28%), Quebec (38%) and British Columbia (18%). Ontario has had steady growth in the number of organic processors since 2012, along with Manitoba and Alberta, while Quebec numbers have varied quite a bit, declining between 2014 to 2019 only to increase in 2020.

Source Notes and Methodology

Please visit our source notes page for more information about the data sources used in this report.

Learn More About

Cost of Production for Organic Field Crops

This document is part of the 2020 series of organic cost of production (COP) models prepared by the Organic Council of Ontario. This particular model focuses on organic field crops and a three year crop rotation of corn, soybeans, and wheat. This document is accompanied by the Budget spreadsheet.

The primary objectives of this COP model are to assist:

  • conventional farmers interested in adopting some organic production methods or potentially in transitioning to certified organic production in order to gain an understanding of the organic COP and profitability.
  • organic farmers in order to:
    • understand where they are spending their money
    • determine what the profitability of their crops is and could be
    • benchmark their farm against the published COP model
    • strive to meet or exceed the published COP’s yield and profit potential