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Canadian business counts, December 2021

Released: 2022-02-10

In December 2021, there were 1,300,633 employer businesses in Canada and 2,850,191 non-employer businesses with annual revenues greater than $30,000.

The Canadian business counts are available for each province and territory, as well as for every census metropolitan area and the census subdivisions within them.

The counts may reflect some of the business openings and closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, although they will not be fully represented as the evolving resumption or permanent closure of businesses may not yet be fully processed and confirmed by Statistics Canada's Business Register.

Since the May 2020 reference month, Statistics Canada is also publishing monthly estimates of business openings and closures. These releases provide insightful data and analysis on the effects of the pandemic on businesses.

  Note to readers

The Canadian business counts are produced semi-annually for each June and December, and the data are released in August and February. They can be used to compare numbers of businesses across industries, provinces and territories, census metropolitan areas and the census subdivisions within them, as well as employment-size categories.

The counts include businesses identified as "active" on the Business Register, Statistics Canada's internal listing of Canadian businesses. Compiled primarily from Canada Revenue Agency tax records, the Business Register changes the status of a business to "inactive" only once tax accounts are formally closed or become dormant over an extended period.

Businesses are usually counted on the basis of the statistical concept of "location." Each operating location is counted separately, including cases where one business comprises multiple locations.

Businesses are categorized as employer or non-employer depending on whether they have paid employees for whom payroll deduction remittances were filed with the Canada Revenue Agency at any point in the previous 12-month period.

Also, as is the normal practice, Statistics Canada advises cautious interpretation of period-to-period changes in the counts because these can be affected by administrative or methodological changes in the underlying Business Register data.

With the December 2021 counts, refinements to the geographic coding of business locations were made, which may change the geographic classification of some businesses at low levels of geography. Generally, the re-classification is to nearby zones, resulting in only minor impacts on counts for census subdivisions. There are no impacts on the overall counts for census metropolitan areas and census divisions and, by extension, for provinces and territories.

Further information regarding these modifications is available upon request.


Custom data products for other geographic levels can be ordered on a cost-recovery basis.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (

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