Study shows horse industry contributes $19 billion annually to Canadian economy

Study shows horse industry contributes $19 billion annually to Canadian economy

Equine Canada announced late last year that the 2010 Canadian Equine Industry Profile Study report, The State of the Industry, is now available for viewing on the Equine Canada website.

The study, based on data collected during 2010 from equine industry participants from across Canada, provides crucial data for industry planning, industry program development. The report includes demographic and economic impact information that is required by association leaders in order to represent their needs to municipal, provincial and federal governments. The 2010 national profile study was based on a template first developed for a national study in 1998, and repeated in 2003 and 2010. The study report includes an analysis of trends in the industry from 1998 through to 2010.

The 2010 study report presents statistical analysis derived from the largest equine industry participant survey sample ever completed for Canada. In compiling the data presented, a total of 2,566 interviews were completed with adult participants in all 10 provinces, the Yukon Territories and the Northwest Territories. The statistics collected directly represent 2,566 adult riders/drivers or horse care-givers, and indirectly represent an additional 4,296 Canadians who ride or drive and are resident in the households of those surveyed.

In addition to informing equine industry business strategies and supporting industry presentations to government, the 2010 study report provides key data to inform the creation of a national traceability program for horses in Canada. The equine traceability program, which the federal government is aiming to have structured and fully operational by 2013, will be part of a national traceabilty system for all livestock, the purpose of which will be to assist governments and industry in limiting the economic effect of animal health, plant health, food safety and other emergencies and to proactively gain access to foreign markets requiring traceability.

It is important that the horse industry’s unique needs, practices and business challenges are taken into account during the development phase of the equine traceability program and the information provided in 2010 study report will be essential to the creation of an equine traceability program that works best for Canadian horse owners.

The report estimates that there were 963,500 horses in Canada in the summer 2010, resident on 145,000 properties, and that 855,000 people were active in the horse industry last year. Statistics indicate that while there are 79,000 more horse-owner households in 2010 compared to 2003, entry-level participation in the industry is down by approximately 50 per cent. The study shows that expansion in horse ownership in the past decade has been driven by increased participation from the baby-boomer generation and that the pool of horse owners is an aging demographic, with 24% of horse owners in the 60+ age group. A key priority for long-term industry sustainability and growth will be attracting new participation and revitalizing the customer base.

Statistics revealed challenges facing the industry, including an economic climate producing increasing horse-keeping costs (a jump of 70 per cent since 2003) and lower sale prices for horses (down 49 per cent from 2008/09), but also showed that the industry is robust and significant, contributing more than $19 billion annually to the Canadian economy and supporting more than 154,000 jobs in Canada — one full-time job for every 6.25 horses.

“This is the broadest and the deepest analysis of the state of Canada’s equine nation our sector has ever produced,” said Akaash Maharaj, Chief Executive Officer of Equine Canada.  “Our report confirms the enormous — but too often underestimated — contribution made by Canadian equestrians to our country’s economy and quality of life.  It also empowers us with the fact base we need to work with the government of Canada to improve our country’s public policy framework for Canadian equestrians: to uphold higher standards of horse welfare, to expand the Canadian equine industry domestically and internationally and to better serve the hundreds of thousands of Canadian horse people from coast to coast to coast.”

Equine Canada is Canada’s national governing body for equestrianism.  A member-driven, charitable institution, it is the executive branch of the Canadian Equestrian Team, and the national authority for equestrian competition; the national voice for recreational riders; and the national association for equine welfare, breeding, and industry.  Equine Canada is recognised by the Government of Canada, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), and the Canadian Olympic Committee as the national organisation representing equestrian sport and equine interests. For more information about Equine Canada, please visit www.equinecanada.ca.