The first step in developing the CSA is the conceptual exercise of defining culture. The next step involves applying this definition to standard classification systems used by Statistics Canada to compile and present economic data. These classification systems are the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and the North American Product Classification System (NAPCS). The mapping of the culture domains and sub-domains to the NAICS and NAPCS is taken directly from the CFCS and is the foundation of the CSA. The end result of this exercise is a list of NAICS based industries and NAPCS based products that represent culture and sport.

The Supply and Use Tables (SUT) by province and territory, as well as at national level are the building blocks of the CSA. Two of the important dimensions contained in these tables are an industry dimension and a commodity dimension. However, the commodity (SUPC) and industry (IOIC) classifications used in the SUT are too aggregated to be directly incorporated in the CSA. For example, Table 1 in the Culture and sport industries and products in the CSA section below shows the NAICS industries associated with the IOIC industry performing arts, spectator sport and related industries, and heritage institutions. This IOIC industry is composed of twenty three different six-digit NAICS.

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