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Canadian international trade in services, December 2021

Released: 2022-02-08

Canada's monthly international trade in services deficit widened from $256 million in November to $476 million in December. Overall, imports of services increased 2.3% to $12.2 billion, while exports edged up 0.4% to $11.8 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 December as imports increased 8.7% to $1.6 billion, despite the Government of Canada issuing an advisory on December 15 for all Canadians to avoid non-essential international travel due to the increased prevalence of the Omicron variant. The increase in imports of travel services in December represents a ninth consecutive monthly increase. Exports of travel services rose 4.8% to $1.9 billion. Despite recent increases, both imports (-65.7%) and exports (-22.3%) of travel services in December were still below their levels in February 2020, before the pandemic.

Imports of transportation services were up 5.4% to $2.7 billion in December, mainly due to higher payments of passenger fares and other services related to air transportation. Exports of transportation services increased 1.7% to $1.4 billion. Both exports and imports of transportation services reached their February 2020 level for the first time in December. Imports were 2.7% above their February 2020 level, while exports of transportation services matched their February 2020 level.

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

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

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

By comparison, total imports of goods increased 3.7% to $57.7 billion in December while total exports of goods declined 0.9% to $57.6 billion, resulting in a slight deficit of $137 million. Combined, the trade balance for goods and services amounted to a $613 million deficit in December, a $2.8 billion change from a combined surplus of $2.2 billion in November.

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

On an annual basis, exports of services increased 3.4% to $130.1 billion in 2021, and imports edged up 0.5% to $132.0 billion. As a result, Canada's international trade in services deficit narrowed from $5.5 billion in 2020 to $1.9 billion in 2021. Travel services were largely responsible for the narrowing deficit, as exports (-9.1%) declined less than imports (-40.6%) in 2021. These year-over-year declines in travel services are entirely due to the strength of the first three months of 2020, before restrictions on international travel were imposed.

The services trade deficit for November, first reported at $230 million, was revised up to $256 million with this month's release. Imports of services were revised up by $37 million, on upward revisions to transportation services, government services, and travel services. Exports of services were revised up by $12 million, as upward revisions to transportation services and travel services offset a downward revision to commercial services.

  Note to readers

COVID-19 and additional data sources

Circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic 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 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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