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Canadian business counts, December 2017

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Released: 2018-02-08

Nationally, there were 1,270,783 active businesses with employees in December. Provincially, Ontario reported the highest number of active businesses with employees at 463,721, followed by Quebec (258,713), British Columbia (198,604) and Alberta (175,921).

The three industry sectors in Canada with the most business locations were construction (145,000), retail trade (142,990) and professional, scientific and technical services (142,844).

In addition, there were 2,777,670 active businesses without employees and with annual revenues greater than $30,000.

Canadian business counts can be used to compare the number of active businesses by province, territory and city, for many industry categories.

Valentine's Day: A look at flower and chocolate shops by province

In Canada, there are 3,143 florists and 982 chocolate and candy shops (also classified as confectionary and nut stores), or 8.94 and 2.79 locations respectively per 100,000 population.

Prince Edward Island (10.50) and Ontario (9.51) have the most florist shops per 100,000 population, while Nova Scotia (6.39) and New Brunswick (7.63) have the least.

Meanwhile, British Columbia (3.89) and Quebec (3.36) have the most chocolate and candy shops per 100,000 population while New Brunswick (1.20) and Nova Scotia (1.73) have the least.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Chocolate and flower shops per 100,000 population by province and territory
Chocolate and flower shops per 100,000 population by province and territory

Winter time: A look at ski slopes by province

There are 323 skiing facilities in Canada. Quebec leads the way with 109 locations, followed by British Columbia (77) and Ontario (69).

Chart 2  Chart 2: Ski slopes by province and territory
Ski slopes by province and territory

  Note to readers

Canadian business counts—previously called Canadian business patterns—provide counts of active businesses by industry classification and employment-size categories for Canada and the provinces and territories. Canadian business counts are based on the same criteria that were used to calculate Canadian business patterns.

Data are available in CANSIM tables 552-0007 and 553-0007.

The counts are compiled from the Business Register, Statistics Canada's central listing of Canadian businesses. They are based on the statistical concept of "location"—that is, each operating location is separately counted, including cases where one business comprises multiple locations. For example, a retail business with 10 stores represents 10 businesses in the Canadian business counts. Generally, among all Canadian businesses, 99% are single-location enterprises.

Changes to the Business Register's methodology or business industrial classification strategies can bring about increases or decreases in the number of active businesses reported in the Canadian business counts. As a result, the data do not represent changes in the business population over time. Statistics Canada recommends that users not use the data as a time series.


Custom data products for other geographic levels can be ordered on a cost-recovery basis. Data prior to December 2011 are also available upon request on a cost-recovery basis.

Contact information

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

To order custom data, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Alex Côté (613-854-1676;, Statistical Registers and Geography Division.

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