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Provincial and territorial economic accounts, 2015

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Released: 2016-11-09

Real gross domestic product (GDP) in Canada rose 0.9% in 2015, following a 2.6% increase in 2014. Economic growth slowed partly as a result of declines in Alberta (-3.6%), Newfoundland and Labrador (-2.0%) and Saskatchewan (-1.3%). Business investment and exports in these provinces decreased in 2015.

Economic growth was strongest in British Columbia (+3.3%) and Ontario (+2.5%). Economic growth in British Columbia was at or above the national average for a fourth consecutive year, while that of Yukon was lower for a third year in a row. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Nunavut all posted stronger growth in 2015 than in 2014.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Real gross domestic product, 2015
Real gross domestic product, 2015

Household final consumption expenditure increased in all provinces and territories, with British Columbia (+3.1%) posting the largest gain. However, growth in household spending slowed in all jurisdictions, except Prince Edward Island and the three territories. Nationally, household spending rose 1.9% in 2015, after increasing 2.8% in 2014.

Against the backdrop of lower oil prices, business gross fixed capital formation in Canada fell 6.2% in 2015, the first annual decline since 2009 and the fifth consecutive year of deceleration. Business investment was lower in 8 of the 13 jurisdictions, most notably in Alberta (-20.9%) and Saskatchewan (-19.1%). Growth was strongest in the Northwest Territories (+17.5%), mainly in diamond mining, and Ontario (+6.5%), where housing investment was up 7.2%.

Business investment in non-residential structures decreased in all but four jurisdictions, with large declines observed in Alberta (-29.1%), Saskatchewan (-28.6%) and Yukon (-22.7%). Nationally, it was down 16.0%, following a 4.2% increase in 2014.

Business investment in machinery and equipment fell 3.3% nationally in 2015, following growth of 1.2% in 2014. Most of the decline was attributable to a 15.9% drop in Alberta. Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut showed significant growth.

Business investment in residential structures rose in eight jurisdictions, with the strongest growth in the Northwest Territories (+9.9%) and British Columbia (+9.1%). In Nunavut, however, it fell 51.1% as a result of a decline in new housing construction. Investment in housing was up 3.8% nationally, after increasing 2.7% in 2014.

Exports of goods and services grew in seven jurisdictions, with New Brunswick (+7.8%) and Nunavut (+8.8%) posting the largest gains. The increase in New Brunswick was driven by refined petroleum products, and pulp and paper stock. Nationally, exports grew 3.4%, following a 5.8% increase in 2014.

Imports of goods and services rose 0.3% nationally in 2015, after increasing 2.2% in 2014. Growth was strongest in New Brunswick (+6.1%), the Northwest Territories (+5.1%) and Ontario (+3.7%). Imports declined in Alberta (-10.4%) and Saskatchewan (-10.3%).

In nominal terms, compensation of employees grew in all provinces and territories, except Alberta (-0.7%), with the Northwest Territories (+4.4%) and Ontario (+4.2%) posting the largest gains. Nationally, it rose 2.8%, following a 3.8% gain in 2014.

Gross operating surplus was up in 8 of the 13 jurisdictions, with Ontario (+6.9%) recording the largest increase. In Alberta, however, gross operating surplus fell 31.7% in 2015, following double-digit gains in each of the previous two years. The decrease in Alberta led to a 7.6% decline at the national level. In 2015, gross operating surplus was generally down in the provinces and territories that have a higher concentration of activity in the energy sector.

Household disposable income rose in all 13 provinces and territories in 2015, with increases ranging from 2.7% in Nova Scotia to 6.1% in British Columbia. Alberta and Nunavut were the only jurisdictions to record slower growth compared with 2014. Nationally, household disposable income was up 4.4%, following a 3.2% gain in 2014.

Atlantic Canada

Newfoundland and Labrador's real GDP contracted 2.0% in 2015, after decreasing 1.0% in 2014. The decline in 2015 was mainly the result of a decrease in investment in non-residential structures, and machinery and equipment (-5.6%) and lower exports (-2.7%). Intellectual property products (+43.2%) rebounded from the 45.8% decline in 2014, because of new projects in offshore exploration.

Real GDP in Prince Edward Island rose 1.3%, following a 1.5% gain in 2014. Higher household final consumption expenditure (+2.3%) contributed the most to the economic growth. Business gross fixed capital formation fell 1.0%, mainly as a result of lower investment in non-residential structures, and machinery and equipment.

Real GDP in Nova Scotia expanded 1.0% after growing 0.8% in 2014. Increased household final consumption expenditure (+1.2%) and business investment in residential structures (+5.3%) were partially offset by declines in business gross fixed capital formation in non-residential structures (-11.3%), and machinery and equipment (-6.9%)

In New Brunswick, real GDP increased 2.3%, the largest gain since 2004, after edging down 0.1% in 2014. Higher exports (+7.8%) and household final consumption expenditure (+1.8%) fuelled economic growth.

Central Canada

Real GDP in Quebec rose 1.2% in 2015, after increasing 1.3% in 2014. Growth was driven by exports of goods and services (+3.8%). Household final consumption expenditure (+1.1%) also increased, while business gross fixed capital formation (-3.1%) was lower.

In Ontario, real GDP grew 2.5%, after increasing 2.7% in 2014. Household final consumption expenditure (+2.7%), exports of goods and services (+2.8%), and business gross fixed capital formation (+6.5%) all contributed to the overall gain. Economic growth in Ontario was higher than the national average for the second consecutive year, after being lower in the previous eight years.

Western Canada

In Manitoba, real GDP increased 2.2% in 2015, after advancing 1.5% in 2014. Household final consumption expenditure (+1.6%) and business gross fixed capital formation (+2.3%) contributed to the economic growth.

Saskatchewan's real GDP fell 1.3%, following growth of 2.4% in 2014. The decline was the result of decreased business gross fixed capital formation (-19.1%) and lower exports (-2.8%). Household final consumption expenditure increased 0.8%.

Real GDP in Alberta fell 3.6%, following growth of 5.0% in 2014. Business gross fixed capital formation declined 20.9%, as oil prices fell 42.5% in 2015, while exports of goods and services decreased 2.8%.

In British Columbia, real GDP rose 3.3%, the same pace as in 2014. Increased household final consumption expenditure (+3.1%) and higher exports (+2.8%) contributed to the gain, while business gross fixed capital formation decreased 0.9%.

The territories

Yukon's real GDP contracted 6.0% in 2015, after falling 0.2% in 2014. This was the largest decrease of all jurisdictions. Lower exports (-12.3%), which were mainly due to a decline in other metal ores and concentrates, and a decrease in business gross fixed capital formation (-10.7%) largely contributed to the decline in 2015. In contrast, household final consumption expenditure increased 2.0%.

In the Northwest Territories, real GDP rose 1.3%, after advancing 5.3% in 2014. Economic growth was mostly driven by higher business gross fixed capital formation (+17.5%), mainly in diamond mining. Exports fell 2.1%, after increasing 6.1% in 2014. Household final consumption expenditure grew 1.9%.

Real GDP in Nunavut was up 1.3% in 2015, following a decline of 1.7% in 2014. Increased exports (+8.8%) largely contributed to economic growth. Business gross fixed capital formation in machinery and equipment (+29.5%) and intellectual property (+28.4%) offset some of the large decreases observed in 2014.

  Note to readers

This release incorporates revisions to the provincial and territorial economic accounts for 2013 and 2014 and an update to 2015 data. The provincial–territorial gross domestic product by industry data from 2013 to 2015 were also revised. Both data series incorporate the new 2013 benchmark provincial and territorial supply and use tables, revisions to the national income and expenditure accounts released today, as well as revised provincial–territorial source data.

Percentage changes for expenditure-based statistics (such as household final consumption expenditure, gross fixed capital formation, exports and imports) are calculated from volume measures that are adjusted for price variations. Percentage changes for income-based statistics (such as compensation of employees and net operating surplus of corporations) are calculated from nominal values; that is, they are not adjusted for price variations.

Products

Provincial and territorial gross domestic product by income and expenditure accounts

This release also presents new 2015 as well as revised 2013 and 2014 data on provincial and territorial gross domestic product (GDP) by income and expenditure.

Provincial and territorial GDP by income and expenditure accounts includes estimates of income- and expenditure-based GDP, real GDP, contributions to percent change in real GDP, implicit price indexes, the current accounts for the household sector, the property income of households and other selected indicators for the household sector.

More detailed analysis on today's release from the national accounts, including additional charts and tables, is presented in the 2015 issue of Provincial and Territorial Economic Accounts Review, Vol. 10, no. 1 (Catalogue number13-016-X), now available from the Browse by key resource module of our website, under Publications.

Gross domestic product by industry – Provincial and territorial (annual)

Revised data for 2013 to 2015 on provincial and territorial GDP by industry are included with this release.

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of provincial and territorial GDP by industry data, contact Guillaume Dubé (613-863-0782; guillaume.dube2@canada.ca), Industry Accounts Division

Detailed analysis and tables

The System of Macroeconomic Accounts module, accessible from the Browse by key resource module of our website, features an up-to-date portrait of national and provincial economies and their structure.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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