The 2011 Census of Agriculture marks the first time the 55-and-over age category represented the highest percentage of total operators (Figure 12). In 2011, 48.3% of operators were aged 55 or over, compared to 40.7% in 2006. By contrast, the Labour Force Survey reported that in May 2011, 15.4% of those self-employed in the total labour force were aged 55 years or older.
There were 293,925 operators reported in the 2011 Census of Agriculture, which represents a drop of 10.1% since 2006, in line with the decreasing number of farms. There were a total of 213,265 (72.6%) male and 80,665 (27.4%) female operators.
Quebec remained the province with the youngest operators, with an average operator age of 51.4 in 2011, compared to the national average of 54.0 (Table 3). British Columbia’s operators had the highest average age at 55.7.