Archived — Key Small Business Statistics - August 2013

How many businesses are there in Canada?

warning View the most recent version. The following document is out of date.

Archived Information

Archived information is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

As of December 2012, there were 1,107,540 employer businesses in Canada, as shown in Table 1, of which 1,087,803 were small. Small businesses make up 98.2 percent of employer businesses, medium-sized businesses make up 1.6 percent of employer businesses and large businesses make up 0.1 percent of employer businesses.

Table 1: Total Number of Employer Businesses, and Number of Small and Medium-Sized Business Locations Relative to Provincial Population and Gross Domestic Product, December 2012
Provinces/ Territories Employer Businesses No. of Small and Medium-Sized Business Locations per 1,000 Population
(aged 15+ years)
GDP per Employer Business
($ thousands)
Total Small
(1–99)
Medium
(100–499)
Large
(500+)
Source: Statistics Canada, Business Register, December 2012; National Income and Expenditure Accounts 2010; Labour Force Survey (LFS), 2012.
Note: LFS working age population (aged 15 years and above) estimates are available for provinces only.
Newfoundland and Labrador 17,335 17,090 233 12 40.5 1,940
Prince Edward Island 5,615 5,547 64 4 46.6 953
Nova Scotia 29,686 29,179 468 39 38.0 1,247
New Brunswick 24,992 24,582 386 24 40.3 1,288
Quebec 236,688 232,531 3,830 327 35.6 1,461
Ontario 389,116 381,001 7,437 678 35.2 1,682
Manitoba 35,980 35,298 622 60 37.4 1,553
Saskatchewan 38,749 38,264 457 28 47.8 1,929
Alberta 154,495 151,866 2,397 232 50.3 1,911
British Columbia 171,557 169,178 2,218 161 45.0 1,269
Yukon 1,568 1,549 18 1 n/a 1,696
Northwest Territories 1,294 1,263 29 2 n/a 3,702
Nunavut 465 455 10 0 n/a 4,224
Canada Total 1,107,540 1,087,803 18,169 1,568 39.0 1,591
Percentage 100.00 98.22 1.64 0.14

Approximately 57 percent of all employer businesses in Canada are located in Ontario and Quebec. Virtually all the rest are divided between the western provinces (36 percent) and the Atlantic provinces (7 percent). The Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut represent only 0.3 percent of Canada's employer businesses.

Relative to the working age population (aged 15 years and above), Alberta and Saskatchewan have more SMEs than the other provinces, with ratios of 50.3 and 47.8 per 1,000 population respectively. Prince Edward Island follows closely at 46.6 per 1,000 population. Ontario and Quebec have the lowest ratios at 35.2 and 35.6 per 1,000 population respectively.

In terms of gross domestic product (GDP) per SME by province, Nunavut has the highest ratio at $4,224,000 per location. (This is due to the low number of SMEs per 1,000 residents; therefore, its GDP is spread over fewer SMEs.)

More broadly, there is a negative relationship between the number of SMEs per 1,000 inhabitants and contribution to GDP per SME. A higher number of SMEs per 1,000 population corresponds to a lower GDP per SME. Alberta and Saskatchewan are exceptions, with a relatively high GDP per SME as well as a high number of SMEs per 1,000 residents.

Of the 1,107,540 employer businesses, 55.1 percent have only 1 to 4 employees (see Table 2). If the groups of employer businesses with 1 to 9 and 10 to 19 employees are included, they account for 87.4 percent of the business population. Goods-producing businesses make up 21.8 percent of all employer businesses, whereas the remainder provide services. Small firms make up 97.8 percent of goods-producing employer businesses and 98.3 percent of all service-producing employer businesses.

Table 2: Number of Employer Businesses by Sector and Firm Size (Number of Employees), December 2012
Number of Employees Cumulative Percent of Employer Businesses No. of Business Locations
Total Goods-Producing Sector1 Service-Producing Sector1
Source: Statistics Canada, Business Register, December 2012.
Note 1: By definition, the goods-producing sector consists of manufacturing; construction; and forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas. The service-producing sector consists of wholesale and retail trade; accommodation and food services; professional, scientific and technical services; finance, insurance, real estate and leasing; health care and social assistance; business, building and other support services; information, culture and recreation; transportation and warehousing; and other services.
1–4 55.1 610,178 138,526 471,652
5–9 74.9 219,771 45,958 173,813
10–19 87.4 138,031 26,905 111,126
20–49 95.6 91,026 18,491 72,535
50–99 98.2 28,797 6,686 22,111
100–199 99.4 12,619 3,322 9,297
200–499 99.9 5,550 1,576 3,974
500+ 100.0 1,568 437 1,131
Grand Total 1,107,540 241,901 865,639

Table 3 presents the distribution of employer businesses by size in each industry. Over half of the 1.08 million small businesses are concentrated in four industries: wholesale trade and retail (18.8 percent), construction (11.7 percent), professional, scientific and technical services (11.6 percent) and other services (10.6 percent). As for medium-sized businesses, the distribution is different. Almost 52 percent of the latter is concentrated in wholesale trade and retail (22.9 percent), manufacturing (17.8 percent) and management of companies and enterprises and other support services (11 percent).

Table 3: Employer Businesses by Firm Size (Number of Employees) in Industrial Sector, December 2012
Industrial Sector (Ranked by number of employer businesses) Total Employer Businesses
1–4 5–9 10–19 20–49 50–99 Small
(1–99)
100–199 200–499 Medium
(100–499)
Large
(500+)
Source: Statistics Canada, Business Register, December 2012.
* Includes management of companies and enterprises; administrative support, waste management and remediation services.
Wholesale Trade and Retail 208,489 81,481 57,859 37,535 20,646 6,749 204,270 3,140 1,012 4,152 67
Construction 128,021 77,811 26,013 13,336 7,588 2,094 126,842 807 286 1,093 86
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services 127,612 96,547 15,134 8,347 5,022 1,475 126,525 688 327 1,015 72
Other Services 115,655 76,052 23,577 10,297 4,273 931 115,130 345 146 491 34
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate and Leasing 97,664 59,854 15,283 9,955 9,708 1,619 96,419 620 406 1,026 219
Health Care and Social Assistance 90,078 51,008 18,125 11,443 5,967 1,988 88,531 1,056 432 1,488 59
Accommodation and Food Services 76,105 20,560 18,143 17,035 14,385 4,661 74,784 1,004 259 1,263 58
Management of Companies and Enterprises and Other Support Services* 64,814 35,192 12,525 7,452 5,155 2,143 62,467 1,255 736 1,991 356
Transportation and Warehousing 52,532 34,821 7,242 4,615 3,617 1,252 51,547 509 364 873 112
Manufacturing 51,613 17,478 10,427 8,556 8,001 3,638 48,100 2,113 1,115 3,228 285
Agriculture 39,328 28,296 6,236 2,896 1,425 328 39,181 115 28 143 4
Information, Culture and Recreation 32,493 16,057 5,894 4,423 3,742 1,284 31,400 670 285 955 138
Forestry, Fishing and Hunting 13,365 9,400 2,001 976 639 217 13,233 85 27 112 20
Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction 9,771 5,621 1,312 1,165 858 418 9,374 212 127 339 58
Total 1,107,540 610,178 219,771 138,031 91,026 28,797 1,087,803 12,619 5,550 18,169 1,568

The greatest variation across industries occurs among micro-enterprises. While the highest percentages of micro-enterprises are found in the professional, scientific and technical services (75.7 percent), agriculture (71.9 percent) and forestry, fishing and hunting (70.3 percent) industries, the lowest percentages are found in accommodation and food services (27.0 percent) and manufacturing (33.9 percent).

Help us improve
Back to "Help us improve" section.
  
Back to "What's the problem?" section.
Got it, thanks!
Um, you didn't enter anything.
Date modified: