Geo Notes – Oct/12
- Ontario’s economy: 1. Tertiary/quaternary – services. 2. Secondary – manufacturing/industry. 3. Primary –
harvesting and extraction. North America has depended on the secondary sector for its prosperity. As
factories become obsolete or need to be replaced, manufacturing activities are moved offshore. The primary
sector is involved in agriculture, forestry, hunting, trapping, and natural resources.
- Ontario’s agriculture: It is an example of Ontario’s primary sector industries. Canada has very limited
amount of agricultural land – less than 10% of Canada’s total area is suitable for agriculture. The best
agricultural land is found in S. ON. The prairies have the best soil, but the best agricultural land (includes
climate) is found in S. ON. Less than 7% of Canada’s land is on farms. Less than 5% of Canada’s land is
improved – this means that less than 5% of land is worth investing in for improvements (ex. drainage to get
rid of excess water). There are critical limits to agricultural activity in Canada, and these include terrain
(Canadian shield), permafrost, 1750 growing days, and moisture deficit. Critical limits are where
agriculture/growing can’t occur. GDD – The minimum temperature needed for growth is 6, and the
difference between the temperature each day and 6 is calculated. The warmer the temperature, the more
GDDs will be acquired. 1750 GDDs are needed over the year for agriculture. Northern AB is on the northern
fringe of agriculture, but the range of crops that can be grown is reduced by of moisture deficits.
- The Canada land inventory capability for agriculture classification have classes 1-7. Class 1 – there are no
limitations for agriculture. Class – very severe limitations for agriculture. Limitations may include soil and
terrain. Collectively, classes 1, 2, and 3 are the best agricultural land. Ontario has roughly its fair share of the
best agricultural land in Canada – ON has 16% of the total land base and it has 15% of the best land, so this
is its fair share. But not all provinces have their fair share (ex. NL) and some have more (ex. SK). However,
ON has roughly half of Canada’s entire supply of class 1 land. Add the climate resource to this and Canada
has a very small amount of land that has both the best climate resource and the best soil classification, and
all of that is found in ON. A problem, however, is urban sprawl. Most of Canada’s class 1 land is found within
80km of a CMA. 80km is the average distance a person is willing to commute to work (80km radius around
city – urban sprawl). There is pressure on land surrounding the city for residential development. Land
development activities and the use of land for agriculture are conflicting with each other. This land cannot
be replaced with land at Canada’s agricultural frontier (AB) because the levels of productivity are different,
reflecting the soil and climate.
- Specialty crop regions in ON include: Leamington/Essex-Kent, Holland Marsh, Thornbury, Norfolk Tobacco
Belt, Niagara Fruit Belt. The Niagara fruit belt is the premiere fruit growing area of Canada. It has four
advantages that have made it good for growing fruit – 1. Tender fruit soil – lacustrine in origin (deposited in
a lake). 2. Moderated climate – Creates a longer frost free season, milder winters, and delays spring
blossoming. In spring, the cool waters of lake ON keep air temperatures low which delays blossoming until
later on when the risk of frost is lower. 3. Gently sloping land – drainage of cold air. 4. Protection of Niagara
- Effects of urbanization: 1. Loss of fruitland. 2. Land lying idle waiting for development. 3. Speculation –
higher land prices. 4. Reduced long-term investment – results in reduced productivity/efficiency and
reduced confidence in the future. 5. More non-farm residents, which creates a greater demand for services
and a greater burden on the local tax base. - Marketing boards: A marketing board is an organization created by many producers to try to market their
product and increase consumption and prices. The first examples were in ON. In the 1950s, ON fluecure
tobacco growers marketing board was formed. In the 1960s, ON milk marketing board was formed.
Marketing boards give farmers more power, and were formed because individual farmers were at the mercy
of a few large firms that bought their product. The advantages of marketing boards to the producer are –
higher income, stability of prices, equal market access, and protection from oligopolies (limited
competition). The advantages to agribusiness are – product quality and protection from import competition.
- Primary sector – N. ON is involved in forestry and mining. The forestry is softwood, is large scale, is on
crown land (EFAs), and is used to produce pulp and paper. S. ON is involved in forestry, agriculture, fishing,
and mining. The forestry is hardwood, is small scale, is on owned land, and is used produce to lumber. There
are single resource towns in N. ON and there is diversity in S. ON.
- In S. ON in the 1990s, a lot of jobs were lost because of the FTA. These jobs went elsewhere in North America
and offshore because of efficiency and reduced labour costs. Reasons for the development of manufacturing
in S. ON are – 1. Geographic advantage (branch plants and proximity to US). 2. Trade restriction – National
policy in 1879. 3. Access to markets in the British empire. 4. Size of domestic market.
- Auto pact: The auto industry is the key manufacturing activity in North America. The goals of the auto pact
in 1965 were – 1. Guaranteed that Canadian auto plants would not close. 2. Canadian plants could specialize
in certain models to achieve economies of scale. 3. Reduced price of cars for Canadians – Tariffs on imported
cars and parts were dropped by both sides. Canada was guaranteed a minimum level of auto production.
One in seven Canadian manufacturing jobs used to depend on the auto industry, and the wages received
drove the retail sector. There are two parts to the auto industry – assembly and parts production. Also
involved are suppliers of semi-processed materials and service firms (advertisers, designers, sales, service).
The just-in-time principle was introduced and it allowed savings in inventory, warehousing, and labour for
assembly parts. Outsourcing involves purchasing parts from specialized firms. This results in cost savings,
with competitive bidding and lower wages. An Asian presence has increased – in the early 1990s, 90% of
North American vehicle production was from GM, Ford, and Chrysler, but by 2002, this had decreased to
65%. Canada has attracted investment by Japanese companies because of a highly motivated workforce, a
lower Canadian dollar, and publicly funded health care (vs cost of medical insurance in US).
- Dutch disease: A rise in the energy sector results in a decline in manufacturing. A strong energy sector has
resulted in a higher Canadian dollar. Canadian manufacturing goods become more expensive and therefore
less attractive outside Canada, and this results in manufacturing sector suffering.
- The automobile industry remains the key manufacturing activity in Ontario. The 2008 economic crisis saw
the demand for cars drop in the US. But production is expected to increase again because of the need to
replace an aging fleet of vehicles. The auto crisis affected the Ontario economy directly and the Canadian
economy indirectly. The auto pact agreement of 1965 is an example of a single-industry production-sharing
agreement between Canada and the US. The auto pact was a precursor to the FTA and NAFTA. From
Canada’s perspective, the auto pact served three objectives – 1. It secured guarantees that Canadian auto
plants would not close. 2. It brought to Canadian plants the advantage of economies of scale by allowing
them to specialize in a few types of automobiles that would supply the North American market. 3. It reduced
the price of cars for Canadian customers. The agreement called for the