Canadian canola. You may see it in fields across the Prairies, have its oil in your kitchen cupboard, know a local farm family that grows it, or be acquainted with someone whose job was created or impacted by it. You may even see it on your pet food ingredient list. The list goes on and on.
If you thought canola oil was the only product made from canola, we encourage you to keep reading! You might be surprised to learn about all the ways that canola touches Canadians’ lives. For example:
- Did you know canola employs more than farmers?
- Did you know canola is a common ingredient in lip balms and other beauty creams?
- Did you know canola makes an incredible impact on the environment and sustainability?
While the impacts and reach of canola can sometimes be difficult to truly understand or quantify, what if we looked at it a bit differently and imagined a world where canola had never been invented? Let’s see where we would be today:
Economically, Canada would be down nearly $30 billion annually
Let’s put that into context. If you’re in the market for a house, you’d probably be able to purchase 27,000 homes across Canada if you had $30 billion in your bank account. Without canola, and its $30 billion dollars in economic inputs, 207,000 Canadians would be left without a job and 43,000 Canadian farmers wouldn’t have a key rotational crop on their farms1.
Environmentally, we’d be breathing in a lot more greenhouse gasses
Canada has an aggressive goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. This means that by 2050, our economy must either emit zero greenhouse gasses or our emissions must be offset through activities like tree planting or carbon capture.2 And believe it or not, this is an area where canola thrives.
Since canola’s roots run deeper than many other crops, it’s particularly good at removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it underground. In fact, approximately 70% of all the carbon sequestered by Canadian field crops is due to canola3. To put this into perspective, without canola, an additional 11 million tonnes of greenhouse gasses would be released into our atmosphere every year, meaning we’d need to plant 341 million trees to offset that!4
In the kitchen, we’d be faced with less tasty treats
Canola oil plays a huge role in the world’s kitchens, food products, and restaurants because its beneficial fat profile, light taste and texture, affordable cost, and high heat tolerance make it ideal for everyday use.
Without canola oil, you would be forced to wave goodbye to ooey, gooey brownies and perfectly crisp fries. Your favourite salad dressing? You may as well bid adieu to that as well. Late night munchies or game time snacks like Doritos? See ya never! Additionally, it’s one of the healthiest cooking oils available, with zero trans-fat and the lowest amount of saturated fat of all common cooking oils5.
Pets and livestock could go hungry
Canola meal, a product of canola processing, is a key element in pet food due to the sustainable 36% crude proteins it offers6. Without canola, our pets could see a decrease in protein and energy in their diets, meaning less time spent playing with our furry friends!
From a livestock perspective, canola meal has a unique way of increasing milk production in dairy cows, with the added benefit of reducing methane gas emissions from cows and keeping milk costs and environmental footprints down. Without canola, dairy farmers would see 1 litre less of milk per cow7 – that’s the equivalent of five glasses of milk that wouldn’t make it into our homes to dunk our Oreos in.
A world with canola
The impact of canola is often overlooked with many seeing it as only a source for edible oil. However, if you’re still reading, you should see that a world without canola is one you most likely wouldn’t want to consider. Here are a few quick takeaways:
- A world with canola provides Canadian farmers with the opportunity to support their families and surrounding communities.
- A world with canola allows for job opportunities and economic advancements across Canada.
- A world with canola allows for environmental advancements, supporting Canada in reaching our net-zero emissions goal.
- A world with canola feeds the future and provides a healthy oil for Canadians.
- Canola Council of Canada. About Canola. www.canolacouncil.org
- Government of Canada. Net-Zero Emissions by 2050. www.canada.ca
- Canola Council of Canada. Environmental Sustainability & Canola. www.canolacouncil.org
- Encon. Calculation of CO2 offsetting. www.encon.eu
- Canola Council of Canada. Canola Oil. www.canolacouncil.org
- Canola Council of Canada. Canolamaz!ng – What is Canola Meal? www.canolacouncil.org
- Canola Council of Canada. New Research Demonstrates Increased Milk Production and Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions When Dairy Cows are Fed Canola Meal. www.canolacouncil.org