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Canadian international trade in services, October 2021

Released: 2021-12-07

Canada's monthly international trade in services deficit narrowed from $758 million in September to $562 million in October. Overall, exports of services increased 2.2% to $11.4 billion, and imports were up 0.4% to $12.0 billion.

To explore the most recent results of Canada's international trade in services in an interactive format, see the International trade monthly interactive dashboard.

Chart 1  Chart 1: International trade in services
International trade in services

Travel services continued to recover in October as imports increased 9.5% to $1.2 billion, a seventh consecutive monthly increase, and exports rose 8.7% to $1.7 billion. The growth in travel services for both imports and exports primarily reflected an increase in the number of international travellers, although education-related travel services also contributed to the overall increase. All fully vaccinated non-Canadian resident travellers have been eligible to enter Canada since September 7. However, the United States opened its land borders to all fully vaccinated travellers on November 8.

Imports of transportation services increased 5.4% to $2.5 billion, mainly due to higher payments related to the marine shipment of goods. Exports of transportation services were up 6.0% to $1.3 billion, largely due to an increase in receipts of passenger fares.

Despite recent increases, both imports and exports of travel services were still below their pre-pandemic February 2020 levels in October 2021, by 73.7% and 31.4%, respectively. The corresponding numbers for transportation services were 2.9% below their February 2020 level for imports, and 4.5% below their February 2020 level for exports. The lack of recovery to pre-pandemic levels for transportation services is entirely due to the passenger fares component for both imports and exports.

Imports of commercial services declined 2.1% to $8.2 billion in October, due to lower imports of financial services. Despite the decline, imports of commercial services were still the second highest level on record in October, as the September level was the highest. Exports of commercial services were up 0.5% to $8.3 billion in October.

Chart 2  Chart 2: International trade in services, exports
International trade in services, exports

Chart 3  Chart 3: International trade in services, imports
International trade in services, imports

Chart 4  Chart 4: International trade in services, balances
International trade in services, balances

By comparison, total exports of goods increased 6.4% to $56.2 billion in October, and total imports of goods were up 5.3% to $54.1 billion, resulting in a goods surplus of $2.1 billion. Combined, the trade balance for goods and services amounted to a $1.5 billion surplus in October, an $874 million increase from September.

Chart 5  Chart 5: International trade in goods and services, October 2021
International trade in goods and services, October 2021

The services trade deficit for September, first reported at $624 million, was revised up to $758 million with this month's release. Imports of services were revised up by $139 million, on upward revisions to commercial services and transportation services, while travel services were revised down. Exports of services were almost unchanged, reflecting an upward revision to commercial services that was almost entirely offset by a downward revision to travel services.

  Note to readers

COVID-19 and additional data sources

Circumstances surrounding COVID-19 pose issues for the production of monthly international trade in services statistics, particularly for travel and transportation services.

To better capture the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Statistics Canada is incorporating data from the Canada Border Services Agency's primary inspection kiosks into its monthly international trade-in-services program. These are electronic customs declaration kiosks that have been installed in most major Canadian airports. While these data represent only a subset of total travellers, they provide relevant and timely insights.

Further information on the estimation methodology is available upon request.


The updated Canada and the World Statistics Hub (Catalogue number13-609-X) is available online. It illustrates the nature and extent of Canada's economic and financial relationship with the world using interactive charts 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.

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 updated to maintain its relevance.

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 Alec Forbes (, International Accounts and Trade Division.

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