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Quarterly financial statistics for enterprises, first quarter 2016

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Released: 2016-05-26

Canadian corporations' operating profits

$73.1 billion

First quarter 2016


(quarterly change)

Canadian corporations earned $73.1 billion in operating profits in the first quarter, down 4.6% from the previous quarter. The decrease was attributable to a $2.8 billion drop in profits in the energy sector. (The energy sector comprises oil and gas extraction and support activities and petroleum and coal products manufacturers.)

Profits for financial enterprises fell $1.7 billion. Slight profit gains in other industries were not enough to offset these declines. Overall, operating profits were down in 11 of 22 industries.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Quarterly operating profits
Quarterly operating profits

In the non-financial sector, operating profits declined 3.5% to $50.7 billion in the first quarter, following a 3.0% decrease in the fourth quarter.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Quarterly change in operating profits
Quarterly change in operating profits

In the financial sector, operating profits declined 7.1% to $22.4 billion, mainly because of a large change in the value of actuarial liabilities of life insurers. This was the third consecutive quarter in which the revaluing of actuarial liabilities had a negative impact on operating profits.

On a year-over-year basis, overall operating profits for Canadian corporations fell 0.4% (correction) compared with the first quarter of 2015. Profits fell 6.9% in the non-financial sector and increased 18.1% in the financial sector.

Non-financial sector

The prolonged decline in the price of crude oil led to a fifth consecutive quarterly operating loss for the oil and gas extraction and support activities industry. The loss, which was larger than in any quarter of 2015, totalled $4.8 billion, and resulted from a 14.4% decline in revenue to $25.5 billion.

Operating profits in the manufacturing sector were down 7.8% compared with the previous quarter to $10.2 billion. Operating profits fell in 6 of 13 manufacturing industries.

In manufacturing, petroleum and coal products recorded the largest decline in the first quarter, as operating revenues fell $2.5 billion. Operating profits declined (-$1.1 billion) for the fifth consecutive quarter, leading to the industry's first operating loss (-$960 million) in 23 years.

The computer and electronic product manufacturing industry recorded a small operating loss in the first quarter, down $133 million from the previous quarter. The decline was the result of lower sales of smart phone handsets.

Operating profits for food and soft drink manufacturers grew 24.3% to $1.8 billion. Operating revenues were up 1.0% to $30.0 billion.

Operating revenues for the motor vehicle and parts manufacturing industry increased 4.3% to $35.7 billion. According to the Monthly Survey of Manufacturing, assembled motor vehicles accounted for almost 70% of sales in this industry, with parts accounting for the remainder. Operating profits in the motor vehicle and parts manufacturing industry increased 7.7% to $1.6 billion.

Despite declines in operating revenue over the past five quarters, profits in the primary metal manufacturing industry rose 9.6% (+$26 million). In the first quarter, operating expenses fell faster than revenues, mainly because of the lower cost of purchased goods and services.

Operating profits in wholesale trade rose 4.1% to $5.7 billion in the first quarter. Revenue growth was most pronounced among food, beverage and tobacco, and farm product merchant wholesalers, with gains of $2.8 billion (+11.6%) to $27.2 billion.

Operating revenues in the retail sector were up 0.2% and profits rose 3.7% to $4.4 billion. Profits for food and beverage stores rose 17.0% to $937 million, while profits for clothing, department and other general merchandise stores declined $165 million (-13.2%) to $1.1 billion.

Transportation and warehousing profits increased 14.4% to $5.4 billion in the first quarter. The gain was the result of a rise in transportation profits, which were up $803 million despite a $31 million decline in operating revenues. Profits for pipelines, warehousing and transportation support activities declined 5.8% to $1.9 billion.

Profits in information and cultural industries increased 3.4% to $4.4 billion. Telecommunications profits were up 3.5% to $3.3 billion, and profits in the publishing, broadcasting, motion pictures, sound recording and other information services industry rose 3.3% to $1.1 billion.

Financial sector

Operating revenues in the financial sector edged up 0.5% to $93.7 billion in first quarter. Despite this small increase, operating profits were down 7.1% to $22.4 billion, as a result of large adjustments in the normal increase of actuarial liabilities for the life insurance industry.

Insurance carriers' operating profits fell $1.5 billion to $926 million in the first quarter, while net profits decreased from $4.2 billion to $3.5 billion. Life, health and medical insurance carriers' profits fell from an operating loss of $132 million to an operating loss of $1.6 billion. In contrast, profits for property and casualty insurance carriers increased 6.9% to $1.7 billion.

  Note to readers

Quarterly financial statistics are compiled using financial information provided by enterprises, which 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 the comparability of data with those of prior periods.

Data on quarterly profits in this release are seasonally adjusted and expressed in current dollars. Quarterly financial data for the period covering the first quarter of 2013 to the fourth quarter of 2015 have been revised following the reconciliation to the 2013 and 2014 annual series.

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

Quarterly financial statistics for enterprises are based on 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. For financial industries, these are included, along with interest paid on deposits.

In this release, all profits are operating profits unless otherwise stated. Operating profits differ from net profits, which represent the after-tax profits earned by corporations.

Real-time CANSIM tables

Real-time CANSIM tables 187-8001 and 187-8002 will be updated on June 9. For more information, consult the document, Real-time CANSIM tables.

Next release

Financial statistics for enterprises for the second quarter will be released on August 25.


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

The publication Quarterly Financial Statistics for Enterprises (Catalogue number61-008-X) is no longer released. Data from the Quarterly Survey of Financial Statements is available in CANSIM.

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 Hafid Amzil (613-854-6437;, Industrial Organization and Finance Division.

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