Series: Self-Employment in Ontario’s Agriculture and Food-related Sectors, 2001 to 2014. Part 3: Self-Employment in Food Manufacturing, including Bakeries

edar-index9This series of five blog posts is focused on self-employment in agriculture and food-related sectors in Ontario from 2001 to 2014. The data has been collected from OMAFRA’s Analyst (EMSI) database. The blog posts are excerpts from longer reports written by Ray Bollman and available from REAPontario upon request.

Part 3: Self-Employment in Food Manufacturing, including Bakeries

Key Findings

  • Fully half of self-employment in food manufacturing is found in bakeries. Ontario’s workforce was relatively more intensive in bakery self-employment than Canada as a whole.
  • Self-employment in food manufacturing rose dramatically in 2008 and 2009, mirroring the depth of the recession.

Self-employment in food manufacturing (NAICS 311)

Food manufacturing includes these subsectors:     

Glass of beer and bottle against wheat field and sunset

  • Animal Food Manufacturing
  • Grain and Oilseed Milling
  • Sugar and Confectionery Product Manufacturing
  • Dairy Product Manufacturing
  • Animal Slaughtering and Processing
  • Seafood Product Preparation and Packaging
  • Bakeries and Tortilla Manufacturing
  • Fruit & Vegetable Preserving & Specialty Food Manufacturing
  • Other Food Manufacturing


Bakeries consumer presentation“In 2014, the total number self-employed in food manufacturing Ontario was 3,800. Bakeries were the largest subsector in terms of the number self-employed. With 1,900 self-employed, self-employment in bakeries comprised fully HALF of the entire number of self-employed in the food manufacturing sector.”


The second largest sector was “other” food manufacturing with 500 persons being self-employed.

“Other” manufacturing includes

  • the preparation of snack foods, coffee and tea processing,
  • preparation of seasonings, and
  • dressings (such as salad dressings, prepared mustard, sauces, spice grinding, fresh carrot packaging, egg processing, honey processing, etc.).

In the period from 2001 to 2014, the estimated number of self-employed in food manufacturing in Ontario has varied from 3,200 in 2001 down to 2,200 in 2004 and then up to 5,200 in 2009 and back to 3,800 in 2014           (Figure 4).

Figure 4

RB Series Part 3 Figure 4

Competitiveness of Self-Employment

The discussion on competitiveness of self-employment in Ontario in food processing indicates that when one compares the 2001 and 2014 end-points in Figure 4 with the national-level pattern for the same end-points, we find competitiveness in terms of number of jobs of 0.0 thousand – i.e. self-employment in Ontario followed the exact pattern as the national level when comparing 2001 and 2014 (Table 3).

Table 3

RB Series Part 3 Table3

Self-employment “Bakery” Food Manufacturing (NAICS 3118)

Bakeries staffThe largest self-employment subsector within food manufacturing is self-employment in bakeries which provides about one-half of all self-employment in food manufacturing in Ontario. In the period from 2001 to 2014, self-employment in bakeries in Ontario increased from 1,300 in 2001 to 3,600 in 2011 and then declined to 1,900 in 2014             (Figure 5).


Figure 5

RB Series Part 3 Figure 5

An assessment of competitiveness would note the Canadian pattern of change from 2001 to 2014 generated an expected increase in bakery self-employment in Ontario of 600 and, in fact, this was the estimated level of change in Ontario when comparing the levels of self-employment in 2001 and 2014 (Table 4).

However, the trajectory was different in Ontario, as represented by the peak of 3,600 jobs in 2011. Specifically, the percent change in each sub-period in Ontario, compared to the Canada-level change was:

  • 3 percentage points lower from 2001 to 2006 in Ontario, compared to Canada;
  • 118 percentage points higher from 2006 to 2011; and
  • 36 percentage points lower from 2011 to 2014.

Interestingly, a comparison of the level in 2014, compared to 2001, was an increase of 41% in Ontario, which was essentially the same rate of increase in Canada (42%).

Bakeries general

Throughout this period, Ontarios workforce was relatively more intensive in bakery self-employment than Canada as a whole (with a Location Quotient greater than 1.0 in each time period).

As one might expect from looking at Figure 4, the performance in each sub-period suggests Ontario was competitive by 1,700 jobs from 2006 to 2011 but not competitive from 2001 to 2006 and not competitive from 2011 to 2014 (-300 jobs and -1,500 jobs, respectively).

Table 4

RB Series Part 3 Table4

Note that in 2001 and in 2014, Ontario’s workforce was about equally intensive as the national workforce in terms of self-employment in food manufacturing (a Location Quotient of 1.00 and 0.98, respectively).

RAY Bollman 2261 by Valerie Keeler 




Ray D Bollman, Economist – Rural Canada

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