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Quarterly financial statistics for enterprises, first quarter 2015

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Released: 2015-05-28

Canadian corporations earned $75.4 billion in operating profits in the first quarter, down 6.0% from the previous quarter. This decrease followed a 9.1% decline in the fourth quarter of 2014. Overall, operating profits decreased in 12 of 22 industries.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Quarterly operating profits - Description and data table
Quarterly operating profits

Chart 1: Quarterly operating profits - Description and data table

In the non-financial sector, operating profits fell 7.9% to $55.7 billion in the first quarter, following a 4.8% decrease the previous quarter.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Quarterly change in operating profits - Description and data table
Quarterly change in operating profits

Chart 2: Quarterly change in operating profits - Description and data table

In the financial sector, operating profits fell 0.2% to $19.7 billion. This decrease followed a 19.9% decline in the fourth quarter of 2014.

On a year-over-year basis, operating profits for all Canadian corporations decreased 9.3% compared with the first quarter of 2014. Profits fell 11.9% in the non-financial sector and declined 0.9% in the financial sector.

Non-financial sector

Oil and gas extraction profits fell from $2.2 billion in the fourth quarter to a $631 million loss in first quarter, the fourth consecutive quarter of decline. The price of crude oil, which decreased through the second half of 2014, continued to decline in the first quarter, negatively affecting operating revenues, which fell by $6.1 billion to $35.7 billion.

Profits in the petroleum and coal products manufacturing industry fell by $2.1 billion to $944 million, their lowest level in five years. Operating revenues fell 19.9% to $26.1 billion.

Operating profits decreased 12.7% in manufacturing to $12.1 billion.

Lower profits were reported by 9 of 13 manufacturing industries.

Stronger than normal sales in February and March led to a rebound in profits for the motor vehicle and parts manufacturing industry. Profits increased 58.2% to $1.3 billion. This followed a fourth quarter that saw the lowest profits in motor vehicle manufacturing in two years.

Operating profits in wholesale trade rose 2.8% to $5.5 billion. Profits for machinery, equipment and supplies wholesalers rose 18.6% to $1.7 billion, while profits for motor vehicle and parts merchandise wholesalers fell 23.1% to $426 million.

Operating profits in the retail sector rose 7.9% to $4.1 billion. Motor vehicle and parts dealers had a strong first quarter with profits up 15.3% to $696 million. Profits for other retailers increased 9.3% to $1.3 billion while clothing, department and other general merchandise stores saw a 5.9% drop to $796 million as major retailers shuttered locations across Canada.

Transportation and warehousing profits rose 8.4% to $5.1 billion. Transportation rose 11.5% to $3.3 billion while pipelines, warehousing and transportation support activities profits grew 3.5% to $1.9 billion.

Information and cultural industries profits increased 3.1% to $4.4 billion. This came mainly from strong growth in the publishing, broadcasting, motion pictures, sound recording and information services industry, which rose 15.5% to $1.3 billion. Profits for the telecommunications industry declined 1.3% to $3.1 billion.

Professional, scientific and technical services profits fell 6.0% to $3.4 billion.

Financial sector

Operating profits in the financial sector decreased 0.2% to $19.7 billion in the first quarter.

Profits for depository credit intermediaries increased 11.2% to $10.7 billion as a result of higher dividend income and revenue from derivative trading.

Insurance carriers' profits fell by $933 million in the first quarter, resulting in an operating loss of $110 million. This decline mainly came from life, health and medical insurance carriers where higher actuarial liability expenses were recorded in the first quarter.

  Note to readers

Quarterly financial statistics are compiled using financial information provided by enterprises that derive these data from their financial statements. Starting January 1, 2011, Canadian publicly accountable enterprises were required to replace Canadian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (CGAAP) with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) when preparing their financial statements for fiscal years starting on or after January 1, 2011. Canadian private enterprises were required to replace CGAAP by Accounting Standards for Private Enterprises or IFRS. The adoption of new accounting standards by some enterprises since the beginning of 2011 may affect comparability with prior periods.

Quarterly profit numbers referred to in this release are seasonally adjusted and are in current dollars. The quarterly financial data for the period covering the first quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2014 inclusive have been revised following reconciliation to the 2012 and 2013 annual series. In addition, seasonally adjusted data have been revised back to 2012.

For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

Quarterly financial statistics for enterprises are based upon a sample survey and represent the activities of all corporations in Canada, except those that are government controlled or not-for-profit. An enterprise can be a single corporation or a family of corporations under common ownership and/or control, for which consolidated financial statements are produced.

Profits referred to in this analysis are operating profits earned from normal business activities. For non-financial industries, operating profits exclude interest and dividend revenue and capital gains/losses whereas, for financial industries, these are included, along with interest paid on deposits.

Operating profits differ from net profits, which represent the after-tax profits earned by corporations.

Aggregate balance sheet and income statement data for Canadian corporations are now available in CANSIM at the national level for 22 industry groupings.

The first quarter 2015 issue of the Quarterly Financial Statistics for Enterprises (Catalogue number61-008-X) will be available soon.

Financial statistics for enterprises for the second quarter will be released on August 27.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

To enquire about the concepts, methods, or data quality of this release, contact Daryl Keen (613-864-8550; or Philippe Marceau (613-864-8790;, Industrial Organization and Finance Division.

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