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Annual Head Office Survey, 2020

Released: 2022-03-07

Head office employment drops by 6.0% in 2020

In 2020, the number of head offices in Canada contracted 1.5% to 2,694, while head office employment dropped more steeply (-6.0%). Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, every province experienced decreases in head office employment.

Among the provinces, head office employment remained concentrated in Ontario (43.1%), Quebec (23.7%) and Alberta (15.6%).

The majority of head offices were located in major census metropolitan areas (CMAs). Toronto had the most head offices (697), due in part to the financial sector, followed by Montréal (379), Vancouver (241) and Calgary (197).

Toronto also had the most head office employees (68,670) of any CMA. Montréal was next (38,638), followed by Calgary (25,606) and Vancouver (14,898).

As the pandemic continued on into 2021, businesses have been better able to adapt to evolving public health measures. According to the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours head office employment recovered as the number of paid employees in the industry group grew 5.4% from the end of 2020 to November 2021.

  Note to readers

Head offices include establishments and locations primarily engaged in providing general management or administrative support services to affiliated establishments. Their activities include corporate functions, such as strategic organizational planning, communications, tax planning, legal services, marketing, finance, human resource management, and information technology services. The observed population can include establishments active for only a part of the reference year.

Information on the growth of the number of paid employees in the industry group is taken from Table 14-10-0220-01.

Data are collected for the 12-month fiscal period that ends from April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021. For some businesses, this means reporting mostly on pre-pandemic operations. As a result, the effects of the pandemic are not fully reflected in the estimates for this reference year and will extend to the estimates for the 2021 reference year.

These data and other data related to business and consumer services can be found at the Business and consumer services and culture statistics portal.

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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