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Photo: The Greater Toronto Area is home to Canada's largest Muslim community / V. Ben / Shutterstock.com

Islamic EconomyCanada’s halal food sector was estimated at $1 billion in 2014, representing just under half of the $2.6 billion Muslims spent on food and beverage, as estimated by Nourish Food Marketing and the State of the Global Islamic Economy 2015/16. The market is poised for growth driven by increasing demand for halal food among Canadian Muslims and an expanding Muslim population, which is projected to reach 2.7 million by 2030 (6.6 percent of population) from just over a million currently (2.8 percent of population).

Canada’s companies export significant volumes to OIC countries with Muslim-majority populations, with the bulk of these exports going to markets where Islamic finance has a presence. Export revenues reached $47 million in 2014, according to Trade Map data. This is up from just $8 million ten years ago, so there is a growth story in progress, and given the quality of Canadian produce, there is certainly an export opportunity for the halal sector.

Halal meat and poultry export revenues make up a small portion of overall agri-food exports to OIC countries, which the Canadian government estimates at over $3 billion for 2010 to 21 key OIC markets.

The experience to date with Islamic banking in Canada has been limited although the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the country’s national housing agency, commissioned a study in 2010 which found no legal obstacles for Islamic mortgage products. The Canadian home finance market is primarily dominated by federally regulated banks that account for 60 percent of the mortgage market and are consulted by two-thirds of all mortgage seekers in Canada. However, the CMHC report notes that “none of [the banks] have actually offered Shari’a compliant housing finance […] even on a pilot-project basis. (Source: Canada Islamic Finance OUtlook 2016, Thomson Reuters)

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Halal-related agencies Intro

There are several halal certification bodies in Canada. The two largest are the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of Canada (IFANCC) and the Halal Monitoring Authority, both based in the Greater Toronto Area. 

Halal compliance guidelines Intro

The Canadian government has recognised that the halal sector is a viable one and in 2014 passed a bill that made it mandatory for all products that claim to be halal to carry the name of the certification body. The new law came into effect in April 2016 and is overseen by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which also oversees animal-slaughter regulations. However, while the Agency has mandated halal labeling, it does not regulate the halal certifying organizations. 

Halal-related trade and trading