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Trade by importer characteristics: Goods, 2019

Released: 2020-07-06

Data on trade in goods by importer characteristics for 2019 are now available.

This information is also available through the "Trade in Goods by Exporter and Importer Characteristics: Interactive Tool."

  Note to readers

The Trade by Importer Characteristics: Goods program is an initiative at Statistics Canada undertaken to analyze the business characteristics of importers of goods in Canada. These estimates are formed by linking customs merchandise trade data records to business entities in Statistics Canada's Centralized Business Register.

Customs import data are collected jointly by Statistics Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency.

The Business Register contains the complete operating and legal structure of enterprises operating in Canada, as well as their key characteristics, such as employment and economic activity based on the North American Industry Classification System.

Survey definitions

This release contains information at both the enterprise and establishment levels. An enterprise is defined as the statistical unit that directs and controls the allocation of resources relating to its domestic operations, and for which consolidated financial statements are maintained. An establishment is the smallest statistical unit within an enterprise structure, and better reflects the primary industrial activity and the province of the importer. The two measures generate a different number of importing units, as well as a different industry allocation of these units.

Small and medium-sized enterprises have fewer than 500 employees, including those that did not report any employment. Large enterprises have 500 or more employees.

Country of origin is the country of production or the country in which the final stage of production or manufacture occurs.

Country of export is the country from which the goods were exported or sold to Canada. The country of export is different from the country or place of transshipment. Many goods which are shipped to Canada may stop at some place along their route to either change carriers, or to be consolidated or deconsolidated to make shipping easier. This type of stoppage is considered a transshipment point, but it will not change the country of export.

Domestic re-imports are goods of Canadian origin, whether grown, extracted, or manufactured in Canada, that are exported to another country and then returned to Canada in 'the same state' as they were sent out.

A related party is defined as a party that holds or controls 5% or more of the outstanding voting stock or shares of the other party it is transacting with.

In this release, data disseminated at the provincial level are conceptually different from customs-based merchandise import data. Provincial data for the Trade by Importer Characteristics: Goods program are based on the province where the importer is located, and goods can be shipped to other provinces for final consumption. Customs-based merchandise imports are based on the province of clearance; this is the province where the goods are cleared at customs, but this may not always be the province in which the importer is located.

Detailed information on concepts and methodology relating to this release is available on the Trade by Importer Characteristics: Goods survey page.

Survey coverage

In this release, the total value of imports refers to the part of the annual import value (customs basis) that can be linked to specific entities in the Business Register each year. Annual import values (customs basis) can be obtained from table 12-10-0119-01. Additional information and definitions related to merchandise imports are available on the survey page for Canadian International Merchandise Trade (Customs Basis).

Each year from 2010 to 2019, the total number of identified importing enterprises accounted for 96% to 97% of the total import value. Throughout this release, the percentage share of import value corresponds to the share of the annual import value for which there was an identified importer. The number of importers corresponds to the number of importers identified within the Business Register by the Trade by Importer Characteristics program.


The product "Trade in Goods by Exporter and Importer Characteristics: Interactive Tool" (Catalogue number71-607-X) has been updated.

The Methodological Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-607-X) is available.

The User Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-606-G) is also available. This publication will be regularly updated to maintain its relevance.

The updated "Canada and the World Statistics Hub" (Catalogue number13-609-X) is available online. This product illustrates the nature and extent of Canada's economic and financial relationship with the world using interactive graphs and tables. This product provides easy access to information on trade, investment, employment and travel between Canada and a number of countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, China, Japan, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain.

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 Angela Yuan-Wu (613-240-2871; or Ying Di (613-867-2736;, International Accounts and Trade Division.

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