Canadian cheese is consumed across the world. In 2018, Canada exported about 9.45 million kilograms of cheese, amounting to about 64 million Canadian dollars in export value. Canada has a trade deficit when it comes to cheese; importing 31.5 million kilograms of cheese in that same year. Most of these imports come from Italy, the United States and France, which are all world renowned for their high-quality artisanal cheese.
The Canadian dairy sector currently operates under a supply management system based on planned domestic production, administered pricing and dairy product import controls. In 2016, the average annual expenditure on cheese was 282 Canadian dollars per household. On average, each Canadian consumes about 13.8 kilograms of cheese on an annual basis as of 2017, up from 12 kilograms in 2004. Consumers in Canada show a clear preference for unprocessed cheese. On average Canadians consume about 1.85 kilograms of processed cheese per year, a relatively small proportion of their overall cheese consumption. Processed cheese often has a longer shelf-life, is more uniform, and easier to melt than unprocessed cheese. However, certain varieties do not contain enough dairy to be classified as cheese and must instead be labelled as "cheese product" or "cheese spread".