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Canadian Transportation Economic Account, 2015 and 2016

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Released: 2020-10-02

In 2016, output of transportation services reached $356.2 billion and accounted for 8% of Canada's gross domestic product

Output for total transportation activity, as defined by the Canadian Transportation Economic Account (CTEA), is estimated to have been $356.2 billion in 2016. The total contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) was $168.1 billion, representing 8% of Canada's total GDP.

The CTEA estimated that households produced $143.4 billion of transportation services in 2016. Output by the for-hire transportation industries was $170.2 billion, while own-account production of air, rail, water and trucking in the non-transportation industries was a combined $42.6 billion.

The CTEA provides an expanded measure of the transportation services produced in the Canadian economy. In addition to measuring traditional for-hire transportation services, it provides an explicit measure of transportation services produced by households and by non-transportation industries in the process of conducting their core business activities. New for this release, the CTEA adds provincial details for the transportation services produced by households and the non-transportation industries.

Although these data predate the COVID-19 pandemic, they provide an important benchmark to measure the full effect of the pandemic on the Canadian economy.

Share of own-account transportation by industries remains constant at 30%

Own-account production of air, rail, water and truck transportation services by the non-transportation industries was $42.6 billion in 2016. The share of own-account production in the total domestic supply of these four modes of transportation was 30% in 2014 and remained constant in 2015 and 2016.

The highest production of own-account activity continues to be in trucking. Canadian industries used 42% of own-account trucking services to satisfy their trucking transportation requirements in 2016.

Own-account water transportation production was $968 million in 2015 and $973 million in 2016. In 2016, its share in the total output of water transportation increased by one percentage point, to 16%, mainly because of higher production in the forestry and logging industry.

In 2016, own-account production of air transportation was $737 million and own-account production of rail transportation was $716 million. These capital-intensive modes continue to generate low own-account percentage shares, at 3% and 5%, respectively.

Own-account transportation services employed 378,000 workers in 2016

In 2016, own-account transportation generated 378,000 jobs. Trucking represented 98% of all own-account employment in 2016. This is unsurprising given the relative ease of adding own-account trucking capacity compared with the other more capital- and skill-intensive modes of transportation.

Own-account trucking equipment was the largest source of capital acquisition, with purchases of both light and heavy trucks contributing to most of the $5.4 billion investment in equipment purchases. Investment in infrastructure, at $522 million, was relatively modest. As one might expect, the various modes of transportation rely on infrastructure produced by other sectors of the economy (e.g., airports to produce runways, or municipalities and provinces to produce highways).

The sum of own-account and household transportation activities often accounts for a greater share of total provincial GDP than the for-hire transportation industries. Note that provincial GDP in this table is adjusted to include the value of household production of transportation services (HPTS). In some provinces, the HPTS share alone was higher than the for-hire activity; for example, in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Quebec. Own-account transportation services contributed a stable share between 0.9% and 1.1% of GDP across all provinces, with only the Northwest Territories (1.4%) and Nunavut (1.2%) trending slightly above the norm.

  Note to readers

The Canadian Transportation Economic Account (CTEA) estimates are a supplement to the Canadian Supply and Use Tables (SUTs). They provide a comprehensive measure of both own-account and for-hire transportation services.

The CTEA presents own-account transportation by each mode as a separate industry. Therefore, in addition to the 12 existing for-hire transportation industries (air transportation, rail transportation, water transportation, truck transportation, transit ground passenger and scenic, urban transit system, taxi and limousine services, other transit and scenic, pipeline transportation of gas, crude oil and other transportation, support activities for transportation, and postal services couriers and messengers), 5 new own-account transportation industries are introduced in the CTEA, one for each of the four primary modes of transportation (air, rail, water and truck) and one for the Household Production of Transportation Services (HPTS) industry.

Valuing the production of own-account transportation services by industries has no impact on value added by industry and total gross domestic product (GDP). However, measuring HPTS, in the macroeconomic framework, increases GDP by the amount of depreciation and by certain taxes on motor vehicles owned by households.

The CTEA consists of two tables:

Supply: The supply table is a product by industry matrix that shows how much of each product is produced by each industry, as well as imported from outside Canada.

Use: The use table is a product by industry matrix that shows how much of each product is used by each industry as an intermediate input. It also shows use by final demand categories (such as personal expenditure, investment and government consumption), inventories and exports.


Additional information can be found in the document "Transportation Economic Account: Sources and Methods."

Contact information

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

To request the Canadian Transportation Economic Accounts, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Craig Stewart (613-851-7665;, Industry Accounts Division.

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