About Ontario’s Food and Beverage Processing Industry

Ontario’s food and beverage processing industry is the largest manufacturing sector employer in the province employing 125,000 people. This industry is made up of about 4,000 businesses which are mostly small to medium-sized operations with less than 100 employees. The people that make up this workforce are food scientists, skilled trades professionals, bakers, cheese makers, quality assurance specialists, and production leads, just to name a few.

About Food and Beverage Ontario

Food and Beverage Ontario is the non-profit leadership organization for food and beverage processors across the province. Governed by an industry-led Board of Directors, Food and Beverage Ontario advocates for a robust business environment to ensure Canada continues to be a global leader in safe, premium food and beverage production for consumers at home and abroad. 


Food and Beverage Ontario created CareersNOW! in 2020 to connect jobseekers and students with employers for career opportunities and advancement. This workforce development initiative has become a resounding success thanks to support from the Province of Ontario’s Skills Development Fund and project partners — Food, Health and Consumer Products of Canada, Ontario Native Education Counselling Association, Meat & Poultry Ontario, Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium, FoodGrads, Careers in Food, Discover Ability Network, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Magnet, Food Processing Skills Canada, Niagara College, Richard Ivey School of Business, and the University of Guelph – Experiential Learning Hub. 

Workforce Diversity & Demographics

Ontario’s food and beverage processing industry has a diverse workforce. Immigrants make up 31% of the workforce which is higher than the overall Canadian workforce at only 23%. However, only 3% of the industry are Indigenous People and only 40% are women. Ageing demographics are also impacting this industry with 24% of the workforce aged between 55 and 64 and eligible to retire in the next ten years. CareersNOW! works to raise awareness of the industry with underrepresented groups and supports employers with recruitment and retention best practices that welcome all people to explore career opportunities.

Hiring People with Disabilities

CareersNOW! has partnered with the Discover Ability Network — a free employment portal that helps jobseekers with disabilities match with employment opportunities. The Discover Ability Network also provides employers with resources to help them employ people with disabilities and foster inclusive workplaces. Jobseekers with disabilities face many barriers navigating the job market and the Discover Ability Network helps to remove those barriers.

Connecting with Indigenous People

To engage with Indigenous People on careers in the food and beverage processing industry and share the potential for food entrepreneurship, CareersNOW! has partnered with the Ontario Native Education Counselling Association. This organization of First Nation Education Counsellors recognizes that the development of Native communities requires specific tools and programs and the partnership with CareersNOW! is based on this foundation. 

Our Partners