Key Small Business Statistics - November 2019

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Aussi offert en français sous le titre Principales statistiques relatives aux petites entreprises – Novembre 2019.

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Table of contents

List of figures

List of tables


Foreword

Key Small Business Statistics provides statistical data on the business sector in Canada, focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The current edition contains data on the following questions:

In this publication, the definition of a "business" or an "enterprise" may vary slightly according to the statistical sources used. Below is a list of those sources and links to the definitions used:

Business Register

Entrepreneurship Indicators Database

Labour Force Survey

Trade by Exporter Characteristics — Goods

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) defines a business based upon the number of paid employees. Since self-employed and "indeterminate" businesses are not considered to have paid employees,Footnote 1 they are generally not included in this publication.

This publication defines an SME as a business establishment with 1 to 499 paid employees. More specifically:

Notes on data and statistics:

This new edition and previous publications are available on the SME Research and Statistics website.


Highlights

Number of businesses

Employment

High-growth firms

Export of goods

SMEs' contribution to gross domestic product


1. Number of businesses

1.1 How many SMEs are there in Canada?

As of December 2018, there were 1.2 million employer businesses in Canada (Table 1). Of these, 1.18 million (97.9 percent) were small businesses, 22,266 (1.9 percent) were medium-sized businesses and 3,010 (0.2 percent) were large businesses.

More than half of Canada's small employer businesses are concentrated in Ontario and Quebec (429,852 and 243,029, respectively). Western Canada has a large number of small businesses, led by British Columbia, which had 184,075 small businesses as of December 2018. In the Atlantic region, Nova Scotia has the most small businesses at 29,345.

The province with the most businesses per thousand individuals aged 18 and over is Prince Edward Island (50.6), followed by Alberta (49.2). In contrast, Quebec has the smallest number of businesses per thousand individuals aged 18 and over (36.4), followed by Nova Scotia (37.7), Manitoba (37.9) and Ontario (38.0).

Table 1: Total Number of Employer Businesses by Business Size and Number of SMEs per 1,000 Provincial Population, December 2018
Province/Territory Small businesses
(1−99 employees)
Medium-sized businesses
(100−499 employees)
Large businesses
(500+ employees)
Total Number of businesses
per 1,000 individuals
(18+ years)
Number % Number % Number %
Sources: Statistics Canada, Table 33-10-0037-01 — Canadian Business Counts, with employees, December 2018; Statistics Canada, Table 17-10-0005-01 — Population estimates on July 1st, by age and sex; and ISED calculations.
Newfoundland and Labrador 16,677 97.8 327 1.9 41 0.2 17,045 39.1
Prince Edward Island 6,165 98.3 97 1.5 10 0.2 6,272 50.6
Nova Scotia 29,345 97.9 550 1.8 68 0.2 29,963 37.7
New Brunswick 24,768 97.9 456 1.8 63 0.2 25,287 39.8
Quebec 243,029 97.9 4,695 1.9 634 0.3 248,358 36.4
Ontario 429,852 97.7 9,070 2.1  1,273 0.3 440,195 38.0
Manitoba 38,735 97.6 824 2.1 123 0.3 39,682 37.9
Saskatchewan 40,662 98.3 614 1.5 84 0.2 41,360 46.3
Alberta 161,337 98.0 2,974 1.8 366 0.2 164,677 49.2
British Columbia 184,075 98.2 2,948 1.6 341 0.2 187,364 45.4
Territories 4,045 97.0 111 2.9 7 0.1 4,163 46.0
Canada 1,178,690 97.9 22,666 1.9  3,010 0.2 1,204,366 40.3

Of the 1,204,366 employer businesses in Canada, 21.5 percent are in the goods-producing sector and 78.5 percent are in the services-producing sector (Table 2). Micro-enterprises (1−4 employees) make up 54.3 percent of Canadian businesses. By adding those businesses with 5−9 employees, this number increases to 73.5 percent. In other words, almost three out of four Canadian businesses have 1−9 employees. It should be noted that the distribution of businesses according to the number of employees varies slightly between the goods-producing and services-producing sectors.

Table 2: Number of Employer Businesses by Sector and Business Size (Number of employees), December 2018
Number of employees Goods Services Total
Number % Cumulative Number % Cumulative Number % Cumulative

Note: By definition, the goods-producing sector consists of agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting; mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; utilities; construction and manufacturing. The services-producing sector consists of wholesale trade; retail trade; transportation and warehousing; information and cultural industries; finance and insurance; real estate and rental and leasing; professional, scientific and technical services; management of companies and enterprises; administrative and support, waste management and remediation services; educational services; health care and social assistance; arts, entertainment and recreation; accommodation and food services; other services (except public administration) and public administration.

Source: Statistics Canada, Table 33-10-0105-01 — Canadian Business Counts, with employees, December 2018.

1–4 employees 147,744 57.1 506,452 53.5 654,196 54.3
5–9 employees 49,586 76.3 180,839 72.7 230,425 73.5
10–19 employees 28,122 87.2 128,292 86.2 156,414 86.4
20–49 employees 19,845 94.9 82,985 95.0 102,830 95.0
50–99 employees 7,280 97.7 27,545 97.9 34,825 97.9
Small businesses (1–99 employees) 252,577 97.7 926,113 97.9 1,178,690 97.9
100–199 employees 3,619 99.1 11,641 99.1 15,260 99.1
200–499 employees 1,832 99.8 5,574 99.7 7,406 99.8
500 employees or more 539 100 2,471 100 3,010 100
Total 258,567 21.5 945,799 78.5 1,204,366  

The following four industries — construction; retail trade; professional, scientific and technical services; and other services (except public administration) — account for 551,090 businesses on their own, which represents 45.8 percent of Canadian businesses (Table 3). The health care and social assistance industry also accounts for a significant number of businesses: 117,251 or 9.7 percent of Canadian businesses. More than half (55.5 percent) of Canadian businesses are accounted for in these five of the 20 industries.

More than 99 percent of businesses in the following four industries are small businesses: agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting; real estate and rental and leasing; professional, scientific and technical services; and other services (except public administration). However, only 82.3 percent of businesses in public administration and 86.0 percent of those in management of companies and enterprises are small businesses.

Table 3: Number of Employer Businesses by Sector and Number of Employees, December 2018
Small businesses
(1–99 employees)
Medium-sized businesses
(100−499 employees)
Large businesses
(500+ employees)
Total
Number % Number % Number % Number
Source: Statistics Canada, Table 33-10-0105-01 — Canadian Business Counts, with employees, December 2018.
Goods-Producing Sector 252,577 97.7 5,451 2.1 539 0.2 258,567
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting 48,308 99.3 304 0.6 13 0.0 48,625
Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction 8,750 95.7 307 3.4 88 1.0 9,145
Utilities 1,311 90.2 107 7.4 35 2.4 1,453
Construction 146,420 98.9 1,479 1.0 107 0.1 148,006
Manufacturing 47,788 93.1 3,254 6.3 296 0.6 51,338
Service-Producing Sector 926,113 97.9 17,215 1.8 2,471 0.3 945,799
Wholesale trade 57,095 97.9 1,147 2.0 69 0.1 58,311
Retail trade 142,160 97.9 3,079 2.1 35 0.0 145,274
Transportation and warehousing 68,461 98.3 1,052 1.5 138 0.2 69,651
Information and cultural industries 18,105 96.4 581 3.1 86 0.5 18,772
Finance and insurance 42,353 97.8 798 1.8 155 0.4 43,306
Real estate and rental and leasing 50,903 99.1 414 0.8 50 0.1 51,367
Professional, scientific and technical services 145,405 99.1 1,263 0.9 114 0.1 146,782
Management of companies and enterprises 6,104 86.0 711 10.0 279 3.9 7,094
Administrative and support, waste management and remediation services 51,624 96.6 1,587 3.0 210 0.4 53,421
Educational services 13,661 93.3 537 3.7 440 3.0 14,638
Health care and social assistance 114,479 97.6 2,408 2.1 364 0.3 117,251
Arts, entertainment and recreation 18,182 96.5 567 3.0 84 0.4 18,833
Accommodation and food services 80,476 98.2 1,400 1.7 64 0.1 81,940
Other services (except public administration) 110,412 99.4 575 0.5 41 0.0 111,028
Public administration 6,693 82.3 1,096 13.5 342 4.2 8,131
All Industries 1,178,690 97.9 22,666 1.9 3,010 0.2 1,204,366

1.2 How many businesses appear and disappear each year?

An increase or decrease in the number of businesses is the net result of the appearance or disappearance of businesses over a given period. This is often referred to as "creative destruction." Between 2001 and 2016, the number of businesses increased every year, except for two: in 2013 and in 2016, when more businesses disappeared (97,151 and 95,889) than were created (95,326 and 95,176),Footnote 4 as illustrated in Figure 1.Footnote 5 Over the last five years (from 2012 to 2016), on average, 95,940 businesses were created every year and 90,120 disappeared.

Figure 1: Number of Businesses with at Least One Employee, Canada, 2001−2016

Line chart illustrating the Number of Businesses with at Least one Employee Canada, 2001−2016 (the long description is located below the image)
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Data Development and Economic Research, National Accounts Longitudinal Microdata File.
Description of Figure 1
Number of Businesses with at Least One Employee, Canada, 2001−2016
Year Number of businesses with at least one employee
2001 899,008
2002 905,333
2003 913,407
2004 954,653
2005 971,854
2006 994,646
2007 1,020,417
2008 1,042,287
2009 1,049,548
2010 1,064,221
2011 1,080,135
2012 1,093,254
2013 1,091,429
2014 1,102,524
2015 1,109,955
2016 1,109,242

As illustrated in Figure 2, throughout the 2001−2016 period, the business birth rate was lower in the goods-producing sector than in the services-producing sector. It is noteworthy that the rate of business births in the goods-producing sector has declined over the last two years, from 8.3 percent in 2014 to 7.7 percent in 2016. Over the last five years, the average birth rate in the goods-producing sector was 8.1 percent, compared with 8.9 percent in the services-producing sector. On average, every year between 2012 and 2016, 23,520 businesses were created and 21,500 businesses disappeared in the goods-producing sector, while in the services-producing sector, 72,420 businesses were created and 68,620 businesses closed.

This variation between birth rates for these two sectors can be explained by the entry cost and different levels of competition. If this is, indeed, the case, higher birth rates would be observed in sectors with a lower entry cost or with a higher level of competition than other sectors.

The enterprise birth rate is inversely related to firm size during market entry. The more individuals employed when a business begins operations, the lower the enterprise birth rate (Figure 3). On average, between 2012 and 2016, the birth rate was 11.0 percent, 3.5 percent, 2.1 percent and 1.5 percent for businesses with 1−4, 5−19, 20−49 and 50−99 employees respectively.

Figure 2: Birth Rate for Enterprises with One or More Employees, Canada, and Main Sectors, 2001−2016

Line chart illustrating the birth Rate for Enterprises with One or More Employees, Canada, and Main Sectors, 2001−2016 (the long description is located below the image)Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Data Development and Economic Research, National Accounts Longitudinal Microdata File.
Description of Figure 2
Birth Rate for Enterprises with One or More Employees, Canada, and Main Sectors, 2001−2016
Year Canada Goods-producing sector Service-producing sector
2001 9.1% 7.5% 9.7%
2002 8.9% 7.2% 9.5%
2003 9.7% 8.0% 10.3%
2004 10.3% 8.5% 10.9%
2005 10.0% 8.4% 10.6%
2006 9.2% 8.1% 9.6%
2007 8.6% 7.3% 9.1%
2008 9.2% 7.9% 9.7%
2009 8.6% 7.2% 9.1%
2010 8.7% 8.1% 8.9%
2011 8.6% 8.0% 8.9%
2012 8.9% 8.2% 9.1%
2013 8.7% 8.2% 8.9%
2014 8.8% 8.3% 9.0%
2015 8.6% 8.0% 8.8%
2016 8.6% 7.7% 8.9%

Figure 3: Birth Rate by Initial Business Size, Canada, 2001−2016

Line chart illustrating the Birth Rate by Initial Business Size, Canada, 2001−2016 (the long description is located below the image) Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Data Development and Economic Research, National Accounts Longitudinal Microdata File.
Description of Figure 3
Birth Rate by Initial Business Size, Canada, 2001–2016
Year 1–4 employees 5–19 employees 20–49 employees 50–99 employees
2001 11.9% 4.1% 2.3% 1.8%
2002 11.6% 4.0% 2.4% 1.9%
2003 12.5% 4.4% 2.6% 2.0%
2004 13.3% 4.5% 2.5% 2.0%
2005 13.0% 4.3% 2.5% 1.9%
2006 11.8% 4.0% 2.4% 1.9%
2007 11.1% 3.5% 2.0% 1.6%
2008 11.8% 3.8% 2.1% 1.6%
2009 11.0% 3.6% 2.2% 1.4%
2010 10.9% 3.8% 2.5% 1.9%
2011 10.9% 3.6% 2.2% 1.6%
2012 11.2% 3.6% 2.1% 1.7%
2013 11.0% 3.6% 2.2% 1.5%
2014 11.1% 3.6% 2.2% 1.5%
2015 10.8% 3.5% 2.1% 1.6%
2016 10.9% 3.4% 1.8% 1.2%

The vast majority of businesses had 1−4 employees when they began operations. Of the 95,940 businesses created on average annually from 2012−2016, close to 90.0 percent (or 86,356 businesses) had 1−4 employees when they were created. Over the course of this period, 8.5 percent, 1.2 percent and 0.3 percent of new businesses began operations with, respectively, 5−19, 20−49 and 50−99 employees. Of the average 90,120 annual closures, 91.0 percent, 8.2 percent, 0.7 percent and 0.1 percent were businesses with 1−4, 5−19, 20−49 and 50−99 employees, respectively.

1.3 What proportion of new businesses survive the first 15 years?

Businesses in the goods-producing and services-producing sectors showed similar survival rates over the course of the first two years (T + 1 and T + 2) after their creation (T0) (Figure 4). After the third year (T + 3), business survival rates in the goods-producing sector were higher than in the services-producing sector. After five years (T + 5), 68.1 percent of businesses in the goods-producing sector were still operating, compared with 64.9 percent of businesses in the services-producing sector. After 10 years (T + 10), the business survival rate for the goods-producing sector was 48.3 percent, compared with 43.7 percent for the services-producing sector. Finally, 36.7 percent of businesses in the goods-producing sector and 31.3 percent of business in the services-producing sector were still active 15 years (T + 15) after they entered the Canadian market.

Figure 4: Survival Rate of Businesses with One or More Employees, Goods Producing Sector and Services-Producing Sector, Canada

Line chart illustrating the Survival Rate of Businesses with One or More Employees, Goods Producing Sector and Services-Producing Sector, Canada (the long description is located below the image) Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Data Development and Economic Research, National Accounts Longitudinal Microdata File.
Description of Figure 4
Survival Rate of Businesses with One or More Employees, Goods Producing Sector and Services-Producing Sector, Canada
Number of years since the company's entry Canada Goods-producing sector Service-producing sector
T 0 100% 100% 100%
T+1 95.2% 94.7% 95.4%
T+2 87.6% 87.5% 87.6%
T+3 79.8% 80.7% 79.6%
T+4 72.2% 74.0% 71.6%
T+5 65.6% 68.1% 64.9%
T+6 59.8% 62.9% 58.9%
T+7 55.0% 58.5% 54.1%
T+8 51.4% 54.8% 50.4%
T+9 47.9% 51.4% 46.9%
T+10 44.7% 48.3% 43.7%
T+11 41.7% 45.5% 40.7%
T+12 39.0% 43.0% 37.9%
T+13 36.7% 40.9% 35.6%
T+14 34.6% 38.7% 33.4%
T+15 32.4% 36.7% 31.3%

There is a positive correlation between enterprise survival rate and initial business size (Figure 5). Businesses that began operations with a large number of employees had a higher survival rate than businesses that began with a smaller number of employees. Of businesses that began operations with 1−4 employees, 61.3 percent were still active after 5 years (T + 5), 43.0 percent were still active after 10 years (T + 10), and 31.9 percent were still active after 15 years (T + 15), compared with businesses that began operations with a workforce of 50−99 employees, of which 74.3 percent were still active after 5 years (T + 5), 56.2 percent were still active after 10 years (T + 10) and 42.7 percent were still active after 15 years (T + 15).

Figure 5: Survival Rate by Initial Business Size

Line chart illustrating the Survival Rate by Initial Business Size (the long description is located below the image) Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Data Development and Economic Research, National Accounts Longitudinal Microdata File.
Description of Figure 5
Survival Rate by Initial Business Size
Number of years since the company's entry 1−4 employees 5−19 employees 20−49 employees 50−99 employees
T 0 100% 100% 100% 100%
T+1 92.2% 96.9% 98.1% 98.3%
T+2 82.5% 88.7% 91.8% 92.8%
T+3 74.2% 80.5% 84.1% 86.2%
T+4 67.1% 73.4% 77.5% 79.3%
T+5 61.3% 67.3% 73.2% 74.3%
T+6 56.3% 62.0% 68.5% 69.6%
T+7 52.4% 57.7% 64.5% 66.5%
T+8 48.9% 53.7% 60.7% 62.9%
T+9 45.7% 50.3% 57.0% 59.3%
T+10 43.0% 47.3% 53.6% 56.2%
T+11 40.3% 44.4% 50.4% 53.6%
T+12 37.9% 41.9% 47.9% 50.6%
T+13 35.9% 39.6% 45.8% 49.5%
T+14 33.9% 37.3% 43.4% 46.9%
T+15 31.9% 34.5% 41.3% 42.7%

2. Employment

2.1 How many people were employed in Canada in 2018?

In 2018, approximately 15.8 million individuals were employedFootnote 6 in Canada. Of this number, 76.0 percent worked in the private sectorFootnote 7 and 24.0 percent worked in the public sectorFootnote 8 (Table 4).

Table 4: Number of individuals employed in the private and public sectors, by business size, 2018
  Small businesses
(1–99 employees)
Medium-sized businesses
(100−499 employees)
SMES
(1−499 employees)
Large businesses
(500+ employees)
Total
(thousands)
Number
(thousands)
% Size Number
(thousands)
% Size Number
(thousands)
%
Size
Number
(thousands)
%
Size

Note: Figures may not add up to totals because of rounding.

Sources: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey; and ISED calculations.

Private sector 8,384.2 69.8 2,357.5 19.6 10,741.6 89.5 1,264.2 10.5 12,005.8
% Private sector 80.0   73.7   78.6   59.5   76.0
Public sector 2,090.8 55.2 840.7 22.2 2,931.5 77.3 859.5 22.7 3,791.0
% Public sector 20.0   26.3   21.4   40.5   24.0
Total 10,474.9 66.3 3,198.2 20.2 13,673.2 86.6 2,123.6 13.4 15,796.8

The distribution of the number of people employed according to business size varies considerably between the private sector and the public sector. In 2018, 89.5 percent of employed individuals in the private sector worked for SMEs, compared with 77.3 percent of those employed by public organizations of the same size.

Between 2013 and 2018, the number of individuals employed in Canada showed a net gain of 836,300. Just over 70 percent of this increase is attributed to the private sector and less than 30 percent to the public sector.

2.2 What is the distribution of employment across the private sector?

In 2018, private sector businesses employed slightly more than 12 million people in Canada. The majority of private sector employees worked for small businesses, specifically 69.9 percent (8.4 million), compared with 19.6 percent (2.4 million) for medium-sized businesses and 10.5 percent (1.3 million) for large businesses (Figure 6). In total, SMEs employed 89.5 percent of the private sector workforce (10.7 million individuals), highlighting the important role SMEs play in employing Canadians.

Figure 6: Distribution of Private Sector Employees by Business Size, 2018

Pie chart illustrating the Distribution of Private Sector Employees by Business Size, 2018 (the long description is located below the image)
Sources: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey; and ISED calculations.
Description of Figure 6
Distribution of Private Sector Employees by Business Size, 2018
Business size Distribution in percentage
Small businesses (1–99 employees) 69.8%
Medium-size businesses (100–499 employees) 19.6%
Large businesses (500 + employees) 10.5%

SMEs play an essential role in employing Canadians across the country. At the provincial level, the percentage of private sector employment in SMEs is highest in Prince Edward Island and in Newfoundland and Labrador, at 96.7 percent and 95.0 percent, respectively (Table 5). In contrast, this percentage is lowest in Quebec and Ontario at 87.6 percent in each province. Total private sector employment in Ontario and Quebec amounts to 7,500,900 jobs, which represents more than 60 percent of Canadian private sector employment.

Table 5: Total Private Sector Employment by Province and Business Size, 2018
Province Small businesses
(1–99 employees)
Medium-sized businesses
(100–499 employees)
% of SME employment Large businesses
(500+ employees)
Total
(thousands)
Number
(thousands)
% Number
(thousands)
% Number
(thousands)
%

Note: Figures may not add up to totals because of rounding.

Sources: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey; and ISED calculations.

Newfoundland and Labrador 111.4 78.7 23.0 16.2 95.0 7.1 5.0 141.5
Prince Edward Island 36.8 82.7 6.2 14.0 96.7 1.4 3.3 44.5
Nova Scotia 213.0 75.5 50.4 17.9 93.3 18.8 6.7 282.1
New Brunswick 163.3 72.3 45.4 20.1 92.5 17.0 7.5 225.7
Quebec 1,865.6 67.6 552.1 20.0 87.6 342.6 12.4 2,760.3
Ontario 3,136.1 66.2 1,018.4 21.5 87.6 586.1 12.4 4,740.6
Manitoba 285.8 72.7 69.9 17.8 90.5 37.5 9.5 393.3
Saskatchewan 259.5 78.9 50.5 15.3 94.3 18.9 5.7 328.9
Alberta 1,093.8 73.5 269.5 18.1 91.6 125.5 8.4 1,488.8
British Columbia 1,218.9 76.2 272.0 17.0 93.2 109.2 6.8 1,600.1
Canada 8,384.2 69.8 2,357.5 19.6 89.5 1,264.2 10.5 12,005.8

Distribution of employment by business size varies across industries. As shown in Table 6, SMEs account for over 90.0 percent of employment in six industries: agriculture (100 percent); other services (except public administration) (99.0 percent); accommodation and food services (98.0 percent); wholesale and retail trade (96.3 percent); construction (96.1 percent); and business, building and other support services (93.5 percent).

Table 6: Total Private Sector Employment by Industrial Sector and Business Size, 2018
  Small businesses
(1–99 employees)
Medium-sized businesses
(100−499 employees)
% OF SME employment Large businesses
(500+ employees)
Total
(thousands)
Number
(thousands)
% Number
(thousands)
% Number
(thousands)
%

Note: Figures may not add up to totals because of rounding.

Sources: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey; and ISED calculations.

Goods-Producing Sector 1,944.0 62.6 777.2 25.0 87.6 384.9 12.4 3,106.1
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting 110.8 94.2 6.8 5.8 100 0.0 0.0 117.6
Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction 146.9 50.0 72.7 24.8 74.8 74.1 25.2 293.7
Utilities 8.1 40.0 6.0 29.5 69.4 6.2 30.6 20.3
Construction 844.4 82.3 140.9 13.7 96.1 40.4 3.9 1,025.7
Manufacturing 833.9 50.6 550.8 33.4 84.0 264.2 16.0 1,648.8
Services-Producing Sector 6,440.1 72.4 1,580.3 17.8 90.1 879.3 9.9 8,899.7
Wholesale and retail trade 1,956.0 77.9 461.2 18.4 96.3 93.6 3.7 2,510.9
Transportation and warehousing 356.2 57.2 157.7 25.3 82.5 109.0 17.5 622.9
Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing 545.9 60.9 175.7 19.6 80.4 175.4 19.6 896.9
Professional, scientific andtechnical services 664.2 66.9 225.5 22.7 89.6 103.2 10.4 992.9
Business, building and other support services 429.5 75.7 101.1 17.8 93.5 36.9 6.5 567.5
Educational services 70.8 62.7 19.7 17.5 80.2 22.4 19.8 112.9
Health care and social assistance 541.8 55.7 193.8 19.9 75.6 236.9 24.4 972.5
Information, culture and recreation 339.6 64.1 116.9 22.0 86.1 73.7 13.9 530.2
Accommodation and food services 1,013.2 90.0 89.7 8.0 98.0 22.6 2.0 1,125.5
Other services (except public administration) 523.0 92.2 39.1 6.9 99.0 5.4 1.0 567.4
Total 8,384.2 69.8 2,357.5 19.6 89.5 1,264.2 10.5 12,005.8

The total number of employees working for small businesses in 2018 was, in order of magnitude, wholesale and retail trade (1.96 million); accommodation and food services (1.01 million); construction (0.84 million); and manufacturing (0.83 million). These industries alone accounted for 55.4 percent of all jobs in small businesses in Canada. Overall, industries in the goods-producing sector accounted for 25.9 percent of total employment and 23.2 percent of employment in small businesses.

Agriculture had the highest share of employees working in small businesses (1−99 employees), specifically 110,800 out of the total of 117,600 employees in the industry, or approximately 94 percent.

2.3 How much did employment grow between 2013 and 2018?

Between 2013 and 2018, total net employment change in the private sector was 590,800, which corresponds to an average annual growth rate of 1.0 percent (#). The net employment change among small businesses was 335,800, compared with 98,200 among medium-sized businesses, or an average annual growth rate of 0.8 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively. Consequently, the contribution to net employment change by small businesses was 56.8 percent and 16.6 percent by medium-sized businesses. SMEs were responsible for 73.4 percent of net employment change over the last five years (Figure 7).

Table 7: Average Annual Growth Rate and Contribution to Net Employment Change in the Private Sector by Province and Business Size, 2013−2018
Province Small businesses
(1–99 employees)
Medium-sized businesses
(100−499 employees)
Large businesses
(500+ employees)
Total
AAGRFootnote *
(%)
NECFootnote **
(thousands)
CECFootnote ***
(%)
AAGRFootnote *
(%)
NECFootnote **
(thousands)
CECFootnote ***
(%)
AAGRFootnote *
(%)
NECFootnote **
(thousands)
CECFootnote ***
(%)
AAGRFootnote *
(%)
NECFootnote **
(thousands)
CECFootnote ***
(%)

Sources: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey; and ISED calculations.

Newfoundland and Labrador −0.6 −3.3 48.0 −0.8 −0.9 13.3 −6.1 −2.6 38.7 −0.9 −6.8 100
Prince Edward Island 0.9 1.6 57.3 2.9 0.8 29.3 6.2 0.4 13.4 1.3 2.8 100
Nova Scotia 0.3 3.6 −2.4 −6.4 2.9 2.5 0.0 −0.3 100
New Brunswick −0.8 −6.3 151.0 1.6 3.4 −81.4 −1.4 −1.3 30.4 −0.4 −4.2 100
Quebec 0.3 26.8 24.2 1.0 26.4 23.9 3.7 57.3 51.9 0.8 110.5 100
Ontario 1.1 168.6 57.4 1.2 61.3 20.9 2.3 63.7 21.7 1.3 293.6 100
Manitoba 0.8 11.0 106.2 −1.8 −6.8 −65.7 3.7 6.2 59.5 0.5 10.4 100
Saskatchewan 0.9 11.4 131.2 −1.1 −2.8 −32.1 0.1 0.1 0.9 0.5 8.7 100
Alberta 0.2 12.1 −0.8 −11.4 0.2 1.5 0.0 2.2 100
British Columbia 1.9 110.3 63.4 2.8 34.6 19.9 6.4 29.1 16.7 2.3 173.9 100
Canada 0.8 335.8 56.8 0.9 98.2 16.6 2.7 156.8 26.5 1.0 590.8 100

Over the last five years, private sector employment has increased in seven of the 10 provinces. Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are the three provinces that saw a drop in private sector employment. In Newfoundland and Labrador, employment dropped across all business size categories, while Nova Scotia experienced a decrease in medium-sized businesses, and New Brunswick in both small and large enterprises.

Only three provinces showed employment increases across all size categories: Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. This last province also posted the greatest annual average growth (2.3 percent) in private sector employment over the last five years.

Over the 2013−2018 period, close to 94 percent of net employment change was attributable to businesses in the services-producing sector; employment in the goods-producing sector showed a negligible increase (Table 8).

Figure 7: Contribution to Net Employment Change of Private Sector Businesses by Business Size, 2013−2018

Pie chart illustrating the Contribution to Net Employment Change of Private Sector Businesses by Business Size, 2013−2018 (the long description is located below the image)
Sources: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey; and ISED calculations.
Description of Figure 7
Contribution to Net Employment Change of Private Sector Businesses by Business Size, 2013−2018
Business size Contribution in percentage
Small businesses (1−99 employees) 56.8%
Medium-size businesses (100−499 employees) 16.6%
Large businesses (500 + employees) 26.5%

The most significant net employment changes observed in the services-producing sector were the increases in professional, scientific and technical services (127,400) and in wholesale and retail trade (90,300). These two industries alone accounted for close to 40 percent of the net change in the services-producing sector. The contribution to net employment change by SMEs in these two industries was 86.6 percent for the professional, scientific and technical services sector and 71.4 percent for wholesale and retail trade. The services-producing sector did not produce any notable decrease in employment between 2013 and 2018.

A positive net employment change was observed in the construction industry and in manufacturing: 60,800 and 3,800 jobs, respectively, which were partly offset by negative net employment changes (26,500 jobs) observed in the other three industries making up the goods-producing sector.

Table 8: Average Annual Growth Rate and Contribution to Net Employment Change by Industrial Sector and Business Size, 2013−2018
  Small businesses
(1–99 employees)
Medium-sized businesses
(100−499 employees)
Large businesses
(500+ employees)
Total
AAGRFootnote *
(%)
NECFootnote **
(thousands)
CECFootnote ***
(%)
AAGRFootnote *
(%)
NECFootnote **
(thousands)
CECFootnote ***
(%)
AAGRFootnote *
(%)
NECFootnote **
(thousands)
CECFootnote ***
(%)
AAGRFootnote *
(%)
NECFootnote **
(thousands)
CECFootnote ***
(%)

Sources: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey; and ISED calculations.

Goods-Producing Sector 0.4 38.3 100.5 -0.3 -12.5 -32.7 0.6 12.2 32.2 0.2 38.1 100
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting -0.8 −4.5 153.7 5.4 1.6 -53.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 -0.5 −2.9 100
Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction -2.3 −18.2 93.5 -2.4 −9.2 47.2 2.3 7.9 -40.7 -1.3 −19.5 100
Utilities -5.0 −2.4 57.5 -3.6 −1.2 29.1 -1.7 −0.5 13.4 -3.6 −4.1 100
Construction 1.4 58.3 96.0 0.6 4.0 6.6 -0.8 −1.6 -2.6 1.2 60.8 100
Manufacturing 0.1 5.0 131.4 -0.3 −7.6 -198.4 0.5 6.4 167.0 0.0 3.8 100
Services-Producing Sector 1.0 297.5 53.8 1.5 110.6 20.0 3.7 144.6 26.2 1.3 552.7 100
Wholesale and retail trade 0.5 43.8 48.5 0.9 20.7 22.9 6.7 25.8 28.6 0.7 90.3 100
Transportation and warehousing 0.7 11.7 21.6 2.3 16.8 30.9 5.5 25.7 47.5 1.8 54.2 100
Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing 0.6 15.3 21.0 2.5 20.7 28.4 4.8 36.9 50.6 1.7 72.9 100
Professional, scientific andtech-nical services 2.8 85.6 67.2 2.3 24.3 19.1 3.8 17.5 13.7 2.8 127.4 100
Business, building and other support services 0.4 7.9 51.6 1.0 4.7 30.4 1.6 2.8 18.0 0.6 15.4 100
Educational services 4.3 13.5 67.1 3.7 3.3 16.5 3.2 3.3 16.5 4.0 20.1 100
Health care and social assistance 2.0 50.3 57.0 1.2 11.2 12.6 2.4 26.8 30.4 1.9 88.2 100
Information, culture and recrea-tion 0.9 14.3 79.5 0.6 3.3 18.4 0.1 0.4 2.1 0.7 18.0 100
Accommodation and food services 1.0 48.2 83.7 1.4 6.0 10.4 3.3 3.4 5.9 1.1 57.6 100
Other services (except public administration) 0.3 6.9 79.0 -0.1 −0.3 -3.0 10.4 2.1 23.9 0.3 8.8 100
Total 0.8 335.8 56.8 0.9 98.2 16.6 2.7 156.8 26.5 1.0 590.8 100

3. Growth

3.1 What is the proportion of high-growth firms?

Firms that achieve high growth in a short period of time tend to make a large contribution in terms of employment and wealth creation. Based upon a recent study,Footnote 9 high-growth firmsFootnote 10 contributed to 41 percent of the total net employment change between 2009 and 2012. Although policy-makers tend to associate high-growth firms with innovative high-tech firms, the reality, as discussed below, is that these firms are found across all industrial sectors.

Figure 8 presents percentages of high-growth firms across different industries, between 2013 and 2016, based upon revenue and employment. As shown, there are high-growth firms in all industries. In the goods-producing sector, the largest share of high-growth firms, based upon revenue, is found in the following industries: construction (8.3 percent); manufacturing (8.2 percent); and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (7.4 percent). In the services-producing sector, industries with the largest share of high-growth firms are information and cultural industries (10.8 percent); professional, scientific and technical services (8.8 percent); and administrative and support, waste management, and remediation services (7.3 percent). Overall, the share of high-growth firms based upon revenue is just under double the share based upon employment (5.6 percent versus 3.1 percent).

Figure 8: Percentage of High-Growth Firms by Industry, Based upon Revenue and Employment Growth, 2013−2016

horizontal bar chart illustrating the percentage of high-growth firms by industry, based upon revenue and employment growth, 2013−2016 (the long description is located below the image)
Source: Statistics Canada, Entrepreneurship Indicators Database.
Description of Figure 8
Percentage of High-Growth Firms by Industry, Based upon Revenue and Employment Growth, 2013−2016
Industry sector Revenue Employment
Information and cultural industries 10.8% 6.7%
Professional, scientific and technical services 8.8% 4.0%
Construction 8.3% 4.2%
Manufacturing 8.2% 3.7%
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting 7.4% 4.0%
Administrative and support, waste management and remediation services 7.3% 3.1%
Management of companies and enterprises 7.1% 4.7%
Finance and insurance 6.9% 3.6%
Wholesale trade 6.8% 3.2%
Mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction 6.7% 5.0%
Real estate and rental and leasing 6.7% 2.7%
Transportation and warehousing 5.7% 4.6%
Utilities 5.0% 5.0%
Educational services 4.6% 3.4%
Retail trade 4.3% 2.5%
Other services (except  Public administration) 4.2% 2.1%
Arts, entertainment and recreation 4.0% 2.4%
Health care and social assistance 3.3% 2.3%
Accommodation and food services 2.9% 1.9%
Total 5.6% 3.1%

4. Export of goods

4.1 Which provinces have the highest concentrations of exporters?

Exporting is vital to Canada's economy. It is a driver of economic growth and is strongly correlated with real gross domestic product growth. Furthermore, exporting can provide a strategically important means of growing a firm by expanding its market beyond the confines of Canada's relatively small domestic market.

Exporters are found in all provinces. In 2018, out of the 50,247 establishments that exported goods, 42.7 percent were operating in Ontario (Table 9). Ontario had the highest concentration of exporters at 48.8 exporters per thousand establishments, respectively. The lowest concentration of exporters was found in the territories and Newfoundland and Labrador, at 14.9 and 18.2 exporters per thousand establishments, respectively.

In Canada, the average value of exports per establishment was $10.4 million in 2018. This includes establishments located in the territories, which had the highest average value of exports, at slightly more than $35.1 million per establishment, followed by Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador at $23.0 million and $22.6 million per establishment, respectively. This can probably be explained by the fact that the territories and these two provinces specialize in the exploitation of natural resources.

Table 9: Provincial Exports by Number of Establishments and Value of Goods Exported, 2018
  Number of exporters Distribution
(%)
Number of exporters
per 1,000 establishments
Value of exports
($ billions)
Distribution
(%)
Average value of exports by establishment
($ Billions)

Note: Figures may not add up to totals because of rounding.

Source: Statistics Canada, Table 12-10-0098-01 — Trade in goods by exporter characteristics, by industry of establishment (x 1,000).

Canada 50,247   41.7 522.8   10.4
Newfoundland and Labrador 310 0.6 18.2 7.0 1.3 22.6
Prince Edward Island 242 0.5 38.6 1.5 0.3 6.3
Nova Scotia 1,017 2.0 33.9 5.4 1.0 5.3
New Brunswick 786 1.6 31.1 12.5 2.4 15.9
Quebec 10,827 21.5 43.6 86.1 16.5 8.0
Ontario 21,480 42.7 48.8 200.3 38.3 9.3
Manitoba 1,749 3.5 44.1 19.3 3.7 11.0
Saskatchewan 1,440 2.9 34.8 18.6 3.6 12.9
Alberta 5,203 10.4 31.6 119.7 22.9 23.0
British Columbia 7,131 14.2 38.1 50.1 9.6 7.0
Territories 62 0.1 14.9 2.2 0.4 35.1

4.2 How do SMEs contribute to Canada's exports?

In 2018, Canada's exports of goods increased to $522.8 billion, of which 41.1 percent was attributable to SMEs (Figure 9). More than 50,000 Canadian establishments exported goods, the vast majority of which were SMEs (97.4 percent).

Figure 9: Contribution of SMEs to the Export of Goods by Number of Exporters and Value of Exports, Canada, 2018

Bar chart illustrating the Contribution of SMEs to the export of goods by number of exporters and value of exports, Canada, 2018 (the long description is located below the image)
Sources: Statistics Canada, Table 12-10-0094-01 — Trade in goods by exporter characteristics, by enterprise employment size and industry; and ISED calculations.
Description of Figure 9
Contribution of SMEs to the Export of Goods by Number of Exporters and Value of Exports, Canada, 2018
Indicator Small businesses
(1−99 employees)
Medium-size businesses
(100−499 employees)
Large businesses
(500 + employees)
Value 20.1% 21.0% 58.9%
Number of exporters 89.6% 7.8% 2.6%

Even if virtually all Canadian industrial sectors export goods, four in particular account for over 90 percent of the total value of goods exported in 2018 (Figure 10). Manufacturing accounted for almost 57.0 percent of the total value of goods exported in 2018, followed by management of companies and enterprises (14.4 percent), wholesale trade (12.5 percent), and mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (8.7 percent).

The contribution of SMEs to exports of goods varies by industrial sector (Figure 11). In 2018, the contribution of SMEs to the total value of goods exported was 75.1 percent in wholesale trade and 66.4 percent in "other industries." At the other end of the scale, the contribution of SMEs to the value of exports of goods was only 4.4 percent in management of companies and enterprises and 41.1 percent in manufacturing.

Figure 10: Main Industries Involved in the Export of Goods by Value of Exports, Canada, 2018

Bar chart illustrating the Main industries involved in the export of goods by value of exports, Canada, 2018 (the long description is located below the image)
Source: Statistics Canada, Table 12-10-0094-01 — Trade in goods by exporter characteristics, by enterprise employment size and industry.
Description of Figure 10
Main Industries Involved in the Export of Goods by Value of Exports, Canada, 2018
Industry Sector Percentage distribution by value of exports
Manufacturing 57.0%
Wholesale trade 12.5%
Management of companies and enterprises 14.4%
Mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction 8.7%
Other industries 7.4%

Figure 11: Contribution of SMEs to the Total Value of Exports by Industry, Canada, 2018

Bar chart illustrating the Contribution of SMEs to the total value of exports by industry, Canada, 2018 (the long description is located below the image)
Source: Statistics Canada, Table 12-10-0094-01 — Trade in goods by exporter characteristics, by enterprise employment size and industry.
Description of Figure 11
Contribution of SMEs to the Total Value of Exports by Industry, Canada, 2018
Industry Sector Small businesses
(1–99 employees)
Medium-size businesses
(100–499 employees)
Large businesses
(500 + employees)
Manufacturing 20.1% 21.0% 58.9%
Wholesale trade 58.9% 16.2% 24.9%
Management of companies and enterprises 2.2% 2.2% 95.6%
Mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction 10.5% 33.8% 55.7%
Other industries 52.6% 13.8% 33.6%

4.3 What are Canada's main export destinations?

Between 2013 and 2018, the value of goods exported increased to an average annual growth rate of 4.3 percent, totaling almost $523 billion (Table 10). This 4.3 percent annual growth rate is a little higher than that observed for exports to the United States (4.0 percent), the main destination for Canadian goods exports.

From 2013 to 2018, the value of exports to the United States by small businesses as a percentage of the value of total exports by small businesses increased from 74.5 percent to 76.3 percent; for medium-sized businesses, the increase was from 67.5 percent to 70.0 percent. On the other hand, this percentage decreased for large businesses, with exports of goods to the United States by large businesses dropping from 77.8 percent to 74.8 percent (Table 11). In other words, SMEs concentrated on exporting to the United States between 2013 and 2018, while large businesses diversified their export destinations.

Of the 20 main destinations for exports of Canadian goods in 2018, the highest contribution attributable to SMEs toward the total value of goods exported came from exports destined for the United Kingdom, the third-most significant destination at 70.1 percent of the total value of goods exported by SMEs. Canadian SMEs also accounted for more than 50 percent of the total value of goods exported to three other countries among the 20 main destinations: Switzerland (66.1 percent), Brazil (59.9 percent) and Indonesia (53.1 percent).

In 2018, the second-most significant destination for goods produced by small businesses was China, followed by Japan. The United Kingdom was the second-most significant destination for medium-sized businesses, with China in third.

Table 10: Twenty Main Destinations for Exports of Canadian Goods, 2013 and 2018
  2013 2018
Rank Value
($ billions)
Contribution
(%)
Rank Value
($ billions)
AAGRFootnote *
2013-2018
Contribution
(%)
Small businesses Medium-sized businesses Large businesses Small businesses Medium-sized businesses Large businesses

Note: Figures may not add up to totals because of rounding.

Source: Statistics Canada, Table 12-10-0095-01 — Trade in goods by exporter characteristics, by enterprise employment size and country of destination.

United States 1 318.9 18.9 16.6 64.4 1 387.3 4.0 20.7 19.9 59.5
China 3 19.4 19.7 20.2 60.1 2 26.0 6.0 19.3 24.5 56.2
United Kingdom 2 13.1 4.6 59.1 36.3 3 15.6 3.6 7.4 62.7 29.9
Japan 4 10.3 20.1 21.1 58.9 4 12.6 4.1 18.4 14.5 67.1
Mexico 5 4.8 17.1 15.4 67.5 5 7.6 9.7 11.2 24.0 64.8
South Korea 8 3.2 24.2 14.8 61.0 6 5.7 12.2 30.2 14.0 55.8
The Netherlands 7 3.3 11.8 16.9 71.3 7 4.5 6.2 13.6 10.9 75.5
Germany 9 3.1 17.9 15.2 66.9 8 4.0 5.3 17.6 18.8 63.6
India 11 2.5 22.4 30.7 46.9 9 3.9 9.0 15.6 23.4 61.0
Hong Kong 6 4.6 23.7 16.4 59.9 10 3.5 −5.1 18.7 14.1 67.2
Belgium 13 2.2 33.1 27.7 39.2 11 3.5 9.5 10.7 14.0 75.3
France 10 2.9 10.4 16.9 72.8 12 3.1 1.5 13.8 17.6 68.6
Italy 16 1.8 14.1 15.7 70.2 13 2.9 10.2 10.4 16.1 73.5
Norway 14 2.0 9.8 2.1 88.2 14 2.4 3.3 3.8 3.3 92.9
Indonesia 15 1.8 16.7 43.5 39.9 15 2.1 2.7 7.2 45.9 46.9
Spain 22 0.9 17.4 9.3 73.3 16 2.0 17.8 13.4 12.5 74.0
Brazil 12 2.3 12.1 41.7 46.2 17 1.9 −3.6 9.9 50.0 40.1
Taiwan 20 1.3 21.6 11.2 67.3 18 1.9 7.6 27.3 10.0 62.8
Saudi Arabia 23 0.8 25.3 10.7 63.9 19 1.8 17.4 8.8 7.5 83.7
Switzerland 17 1.7 5.6 6.6 87.8 20 1.8 0.8 59.9 6.1 33.9
Rest of the world   22.7 31.6 19.3 49.1   28.8 4.9 26.6 19.3 54.1
 Total   423.6 19.1 18.6 62.3   522.8 4.3 20.1 21.0 58.9
Table 11: Twenty Main Destinations for Exports of Canadian Goods, distribution of the value of exports by destination for each category of business size, Canada, 2013 and 2018
  2013 2018
Rank Value
($ billions)
Contribution
(%)
Rank Value
($ billions)
AAGRFootnote *
2013-2018
Contribution
(%)
Small businesses Medium-sized businesses Large businesses Small businesses Medium-sized businesses Large businesses

Note: Figures may not add up to totals because of rounding.

Source: Statistics Canada, Table 12-10-0095-01 — Trade in goods by exporter characteristics, by enterprise employment size and country of destination.

United States 1 318.9 74.5 67.5 77.8 1 387.3 4.0 76.3 70.0 74.8
China 3 19.4 4.7 5.0 4.4 2 26.0 6.0 4.8 5.8 4.7
United Kingdom 2 13.1 0.7 9.8 1.8 3 15.6 3.6 1.1 8.9 1.5
Japan 4 10.3 2.5 2.8 2.3 4 12.6 4.1 2.2 1.7 2.7
Mexico 5 4.8 1.0 0.9 1.2 5 7.6 9.7 0.8 1.7 1.6
South Korea 8 3.2 1.0 0.6 0.7 6 5.7 12.2 1.6 0.7 1.0
The Netherlands 7 3.3 0.5 0.7 0.9 7 4.5 6.2 0.6 0.4 1.1
Germany 9 3.1 0.7 0.6 0.8 8 4.0 5.3 0.7 0.7 0.8
India 11 2.5 0.7 1.0 0.4 9 3.9 9.0 0.6 0.8 0.8
Hong Kong 6 4.6 1.3 1.0 1.0 10 3.5 −5.1 0.6 0.5 0.8
Belgium 13 2.2 0.9 0.8 0.3 11 3.5 9.5 0.4 0.4 0.8
France 10 2.9 0.4 0.6 0.8 12 3.1 1.5 0.4 0.5 0.7
Italy 16 1.8 0.3 0.4 0.5 13 2.9 10.2 0.3 0.4 0.7
Norway 14 2.0 0.2 0.1 0.7 14 2.4 3.3 0.1 0.1 0.7
Indonesia 15 1.8 0.4 1.0 0.3 15 2.1 2.7 0.1 0.9 0.3
Spain 22 0.9 0.2 0.1 0.2 16 2.0 17.8 0.3 0.2 0.5
Brazil 12 2.3 0.3 1.2 0.4 17 1.9 −3.6 0.2 0.9 0.2
Taiwan 20 1.3 0.3 0.2 0.3 18 1.9 7.6 0.5 0.2 0.4
Saudi Arabia 23 0.8 0.3 0.1 0.2 19 1.8 17.4 0.1 0.1 0.5
Switzerland 17 1.7 0.1 0.1 0.6 20 1.8 0.8 1.0 0.1 0.2
Rest of the world   22.7 8.9 5.6 4.2   28.8 4.9 7.3 5.1 5.1
 Total   423.6 100 100 100   522.8 4.3 100 100 100

5. Gross domestic product

5.1 How do SMEs contribute to Canada's gross domestic product?

Gross domestic product (GDP) is a key measure of economic production that can be used to compare any two industries' value added, i.e., the value that an industry, through its activities, adds to its inputs. The main advantage of the GDP concept is that it avoids double counting; hence, it is considered superior in gauging economic performance over, for example, revenue, number of businesses or even employment. Statistics Canada recently produced estimates of GDP generated by the private sector by business size for the 2003−2015 period.

Based on Statistics Canada estimates, the contribution to GDP by business size did not vary significantly throughout the 2003−2015 period (Figure 12). On average, from 2011 to 2015, the contribution of small businesses to GDP was 40.8 percent, the contribution of medium-sized businesses was 12.3 percent and the contribution of large businesses was 46.9 percent. In other words, SMEs accounted for more than 50.0 percent of the value added to the country's output.

Figure 12: Contribution to GDP by Business Size, Canada, 2003–2015

Line chart illustrating the Contribution to GDP by business size, Canada, 2003–2015 (the long description is located below the image)
Source: Statistics Canada.
Description of Figure 12
Contribution to GDP by Business Size, Canada, 2003–2015
Year Small businesses
(1–99 employees)
Medium-size businesses
(100–499 employees)
Large businesses
(500 + employees)
2003 37.9% 12.8% 49.3%
2004 37.7% 12.7% 49.6%
2005 37.0% 12.3% 50.7%
2006 37.2% 12.3% 50.5%
2007 40.9% 12.8% 46.3%
2008 40.4% 12.3% 47.4%
2009 40.6% 12.3% 47.1%
2010 43.1% 12.8% 44.1%
2011 40.1% 10.8% 49.1%
2012 41.0% 12.6% 46.4%
2013 40.7% 12.5% 46.8%
2014 40.3% 12.5% 47.2%
2015 41.7% 13.2% 45.1%

The contribution of SMEs to GDP varied more from one industrial sector to another (Table 12). The average contribution of SMEs to GDP over the 2011−2015 period was 49.4 percent in the goods-producing sector, compared with 56.1 percent in the services-producing sector.

For the goods-producing sector, the average contribution of SMEs to GDP was 95.7 percent in agriculture and 79.9 percent in construction. For the other three industries in the goods-producing sector, the average contribution of SMEs to GDP was less than 50 percent.

Table 12: Contribution to GDP by Business Size and Industrial Sector, Average from 2011−2015
  Contribution (%)
Small businesses
(1−99 employees)
(%)
Medium-sized businesses
(100−499 employees)
(%)
SMEs
(%)
Large businesses
(500+ employees)
(%)

Note: Figures may not add up to totals because of rounding.

Source: Statistics Canada.

Goods-Producing Sector 35.2 14.3 49.5 50.6
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting 90.6 5.1 95.7 4.4
Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction 14.7 8.5 23.2 76.8
Utilities 5.0 5.6 10.6 89.4
Construction 65.6 14.3 79.9 20.1
Manufacturing 26.1 21.0 47.1 52.9
Services-Producing Sector 44.5 11.6 56.1 43.9
Wholesale trade 38.7 18.4 57.1 42.9
Retail trade 47.2 10.8 58.0 42.0
Transportation and warehousing 32.3 10.9 43.2 56.8
Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing 35.8 8.0 43.8 56.2
Professional, scientific and technical services 56.2 13.1 69.3 30.7
Business, building and other support services 42.1 16.1 58.3 41.7
Educational services 69.2 12.6 81.9 18.1
Health care and social assistance 86.8 5.1 92.0 8.0
Information, culture and recreation 11.9 7.9 19.7 80.3
Accommodation and food services 64.3 15.6 79.9 20.1
Other services (except public administration) 79.6 6.5 86.1 13.9
Total 40.6 12.7 53.3 46.7

For the services-producing sector, the greatest contribution of SMEs to GDP was 92.0 percent observed in health care and social assistance, 86.1 percent in other services (except public administration), and 81.9 percent in educational services. The information, culture and recreation (19.7 percent); finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (43.8 percent), and transportation and warehousing (43.2 percent) industries had, on average, lower contributions to GDP from SMEs.

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