Corporations Returns Act
2021

Release date: October 23, 2023

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Introduction

The Corporations Returns Act is administered by Statistics Canada under the authority of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. It entails the collection of financial and ownership information on corporations conducting business in Canada which is used to evaluate the extent of foreign control of the Canadian corporate economy.

The Corporations Returns Act requires that an annual report be submitted to Parliament summarizing the extent to which foreign control is prevalent in Canada. This is the report for reference year 2021.

This report focuses on ownership of assets as a basis for measuring foreign control because assets provide a long-term perspective. They are a stock item, reflecting economic decisions and market conditions that evolve more slowly over time.

These statistics are compiled from enterprise level data. An enterprise can be a single corporation or a family of corporations under common ownership and/or control, for which consolidated financial statements are produced.

The report covers all incorporated enterprises in Canada except federal and provincial government business enterprises (GBEs) and enterprises classified under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) to Management of Companies and Enterprises (NAICS 55), Religious Organizations (NAICS 8131), Political Organizations (NAICS 81394), Public Administration (NAICS 91), and Funds and other Financial Vehicles (NAICS 526).

The all-industry analysis is based on 21 groups of industries which have been defined using NAICS2017.

Data was compiled by geographic macro-region using the Standard Classification of Countries and Areas of Interest (SCCAI 2019) structure.

Highlights

  • The foreign-controlled share of Canadian assets decreased from 15.1% to 14.9% in 2021.
  • In 2021, enterprises controlled by eight countries account for 87.3% of all foreign-owned assets in Canada.
  • The share of assets of foreign-controlled enterprises in the non-financial sector remained at 23.5% in 2021, unchanged from 2020.
  • In the finance and insurance industries, the share of assets of foreign‑controlled enterprises has maintained its steady downward trend and was at a twelve year low of 8.7% in 2021.
  • Wholesale trade, manufacturing, oil and gas extraction, and mining and quarrying had the largest shares of foreign control as measured by assets among non-financial industries. Non-depository credit intermediation has historically been and continues to have the highest level of foreign control among all financial industries.

Analysis

All Industries

In 2021, foreign controlled and Canadian-controlled enterprises operating in Canada held $15.9 trillion in assets, a value 7.2% higher than the prior year.   

Total assets held by foreign-controlled enterprises increased less than total assets of Canadian-controlled enterprises in 2021, increasing by 6.1% and 7.4% respectively. Consequently, the foreign-controlled asset share decreased, from 15.1% to 14.9% in 2021.

Chart 1 Share of assets, operating revenues and operating profits under foreign control, 2012 to 2021 - All Industries

Data table for Chart 1 
Data table for chart 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for chart 1 Assets, Operating revenues and Operating profits, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Assets Operating revenues Operating profits
percent
2012 20.1 31.2 23.8
2013 19.8 30.3 22.9
2014 19.5 29.7 22.5
2015 18.3 28.8 18.7
2016 17.6 28.7 18.8
2017 17.0 28.7 19.0
2018 16.4 28.3 19.8
2019 16.0 27.9 18.6
2020 15.1 27.0 18.0
2021 14.9 26.8 19.2

Returns collected under the Corporations Returns Act show that enterprises in Canada are controlled by entities from over 90 countries. However, only eight countries account for 87.3% of these foreign-controlled assets. In 2021, the largest share of foreign-controlled assets was owned by American-controlled enterprises.  They accounted for 52.3% of all assets under foreign control.

Chart 2 Assets under foreign control, by country, 2021 - All Industries

Data table for Chart 2 
Data table for chart 2
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for chart 2 Percent (appearing as column headers).
Percent
United States of America 52.3
United Kingdom 11.0
Japan 7.0
Germany 4.1
France 3.9
China 3.5
Switzerland 3.1
Netherlands 2.4
Rest of the world 12.7

Over the previous decade, the share of assets owned by foreign-controlled enterprises has steadily declined. This trend has continued in 2021 with the foreign-controlled share of assets decreasing by 0.2 percentage points from 2020.

In 2021, 54.1% of all assets under foreign control belonged to enterprises from the Americas macro-region, followed by Europe at 29.8% and Asia at 14.7%. While the relative ranking in asset share under foreign control remained consistent for these regions, the difference in asset growth from year to year notably changed. From 2020 to 2021, the Americas macro-region saw the most significant asset growth in a decade (10.6%), whereas Europe saw a slight decline in asset growth (-0.4%). Asian-controlled enterprise asset growth marked a notable slow down going from 12.7% in 2020 to 4.4% in 2021.

Chart 3 Assets under foreign control, by macro-region, 2021 - All Industries

Data table for Chart 3 
Data table for chart 3
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for chart 3 Percent (appearing as column headers).
Percent
Americas 54.1
Europe 29.8
Asia 14.7
Africa, Oceania, Antarctica and adjacent islands 1.5

Table 1.1
Total assets under foreign control by macro region and country, 2019 to 2021 – All industries
Table summary
This table displays the results of Total assets under foreign control by macro region and country Assets, 2019, 2020 and 2021, calculated using millions of dollars and percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Assets
2019 2020 2021 2019 2020 2021
millions of dollars percent
Total Americas (excluding Canada) 1,191,341 1,164,594 1,287,593 53.6 51.9 54.1
United States of America 1,151,618 1,125,525 1,246,238 51.8 50.1 52.3
Brazil F 28,786 31,017 Note F: too unreliable to be published 1.3 1.3
Mexico 4,283 3,204 3,010 0.2 0.1 0.1
Other Americas 6,948 7,079 7,327 0.3 0.3 0.3
Total Europe 700,710 711,154 708,502 31.5 31.7 29.8
United Kingdom 246,044 263,192 261,175 11.1 11.7 11.0
Germany 97,531 98,698 96,571 4.4 4.4 4.1
France 86,593 90,582 92,782 3.9 4.0 3.9
Switzerland 85,098 83,636 74,446 3.8 3.7 3.1
Netherlands 56,779 54,065 56,010 2.6 2.4 2.4
Italy 17,535 17,072 19,198 0.8 0.8 0.8
Other Europe 111,130 103,909 108,320 5.0 4.6 4.5
Total Asia 296,764 334,517 349,134 13.3 14.9 14.7
Japan 134,187 171,058 167,270 6.0 7.6 7.0
China 83,612 83,693 83,489 3.8 3.7 3.5
India 19,630 17,377 16,142 0.9 0.8 0.7
South Korea 12,785 13,547 15,147 0.6 0.6 0.6
Other Asia 46,549 48,843 67,086 2.1 2.2 2.8
Total Oceania, Antarctica and adjacent islands 34,810 32,154 33,834 1.6 1.4 1.4
Australia 34,273 31,602 33,300 1.5 1.4 1.4
Other Oceania, Antarctica and adjacent islands 537 552 534 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total Africa 437 1,918 2,160 0.0 0.1 0.1
Total foreign control 2,224,061 2,244,338 2,381,223 100 100 100

Non-financial Industries

In 2021, enterprises in non-financial industries held $6.7 trillion in assets, representing 42.0% of total assets in Canada.

Assets held by Canadian-controlled enterprises rose 8.5% in 2021. A similar increase of 8.6% was recorded by foreign-controlled enterprises. As a result, the share of assets of foreign-controlled enterprises remained unchanged from 2020, accounting for 23.5% of non-financial sector assets in 2021.

Chart 4 Share of assets, operating revenues and operating profits under foreign control, 2012 to 2021 - Non-financial Industries

Data table for Chart 4 
Data table for chart 4
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for chart 4 Assets, Operating revenues and Operating profits, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Assets Operating revenues Operating profits
percent
2012 27.6 32.5 29.6
2013 27.0 31.5 29.8
2014 26.7 31.0 28.3
2015 27.0 30.2 22.9
2016 26.4 30.1 23.5
2017 25.3 30.2 23.7
2018 24.9 29.9 25.2
2019 23.9 29.7 23.1
2020 23.5 28.4 18.9
2021 23.5 28.5 25.6

Enterprises controlled in the Americas macro region held 59.7% of foreign assets in 2021, an increase of 1.8 percentage points from the year before. Conversely, the share of assets held by enterprises controlled in Europe decreased to 25.5% in 2021 from 27.2% in 2020. The asset share of enterprises controlled in Asia was also down from the previous year, dropping 0.1 percentage points to 12.9%.

Enterprises controlled from the United States (57.3%), the United Kingdom (5.6%) and China (4.4%) held the largest share of foreign-controlled assets in the Canadian non-financial sector. Non-financial industry assets of enterprises controlled by the United States grew 12.3% in 2021, the most out of any country.

Chart 5 Assets under foreign control, by country, 2021 - Non-financial Industries

Data table for Chart 5 
Data table for chart 5
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for chart 5 Percent (appearing as column headers).
Percent
United States of America 57.3
United Kingdom 5.6
China 4.4
France 4.2
Japan 4.2
Germany 3.2
Switzerland 2.7
Netherlands 2.6
Rest of the world 15.7

Table 1.2
Total assets under foreign control by macro region and country, 2019 to 2021 – Non-financial industries
Table summary
This table displays the results of Total assets under foreign control by macro region and country Assets, 2019, 2020 and 2021, calculated using millions of dollars and percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Assets
2019 2020 2021 2019 2020 2021
millions of dollars percent
Total Americas (excluding Canada) 858,869 838,559 939,360 58.3 57.9 59.7
United States of America 822,444 802,913 901,618 55.8 55.4 57.3
Brazil x x x x x x
Mexico x x x x x x
Other Americas 3,836 3,657 3,714 0.3 0.3 0.2
Total Europe 400,556 393,906 401,663 27.2 27.2 25.5
United Kingdom 87,292 90,808 88,013 5.9 6.3 5.6
Germany 52,082 51,651 51,024 3.5 3.6 3.2
France 60,082 61,018 65,770 4.1 4.2 4.2
Switzerland 50,507 48,844 42,891 3.4 3.4 2.7
Netherlands 40,477 38,635 41,110 2.7 2.7 2.6
Italy 13,738 12,675 14,899 0.9 0.9 0.9
Other Europe 96,378 90,275 97,956 6.5 6.2 6.2
Total Asia 187,736 188,986 203,266 12.7 13.0 12.9
Japan 61,597 65,855 65,704 4.2 4.5 4.2
China 68,584 65,949 69,180 4.7 4.6 4.4
India 10,697 x x 0.7 x x
South Korea 8,549 x x 0.6 x x
Other Asia 38,309 39,244 49,590 2.6 2.7 3.2
Total Oceania, Antarctica and adjacent islands 25,453 25,395 26,499 1.7 1.8 1.7
Australia x x x x x x
Other Oceania, Antarctica and adjacent islands x x x x x x
Total Africa 437 1,918 2,160 0.0 0.1 0.1
Total foreign control 1,473,050 1,448,763 1,572,949 100.0 100.0 100.0

Finance and Insurance Industries

In 2021, enterprises operating in the financial sector accounted for $9.3 trillion in assets, representing 58.0% of total corporate assets in Canada.

Enterprises in these highly regulated industries are predominantly Canadian-controlled, resulting in foreign-controlled assets representing less than a tenth of the total. Assets owned by Canadian-controlled enterprises were valued at $8.4 trillion, while those owned by foreign-controlled enterprises had a value of $808 billion. For the financial industries, the share of assets under foreign control was 8.7% in 2021, down from 9.1% in 2020.

Chart 6 Share of assets, operating revenues and operating profits under foreign control, 2012 to 2021 - Financial industries

Data table for Chart 6 
Data table for chart 6
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for chart 6 Assets, Operating revenues and Operating profits, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Assets Operating revenues Operating profits
percent
2012 13.8 18.9 16.6
2013 13.6 18.8 14.8
2014 13.4 18.7 15.4
2015 11.1 16.9 14.9
2016 10.5 16.5 14.5
2017 10.3 15.8 14.2
2018 9.7 15.0 14.4
2019 9.8 14.0 14.5
2020 9.1 16.9 17.3
2021 8.7 13.4 12.4

The countries whose enterprises controlled the most foreign financial assets were the United States with 42.6%, the United Kingdom with 21.4% and Japan with 12.6%.

Chart 7 Assets under foreign control, by country, 2021 - Financial Industries

Data table for Chart 7 
Data table for chart 7
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for chart 7 Percent (appearing as column headers).
Percent
United States of America 42.6
United Kingdom 21.4
Japan 12.6
Germany 5.6
Switzerland 3.9
France 3.3
Netherlands 1.8
China 1.8
Rest of the world 6.9

Table 1.3
Total assets under foreign control by macro region and country, 2019 to 2021 – Financial industries
Table summary
This table displays the results of Total assets under foreign control by macro region and country Assets, 2019, 2020 and 2021, calculated using millions of dollars and percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Assets
2019 2020 2021 2019 2020 2021
millions of dollars percent
Total Americas (excluding Canada) 332,473 326,036 348,234 44.3 41.0 43.1
United States of America 329,174 322,612 344,620 43.8 40.6 42.6
Brazil Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act
Mexico Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act
Other Americas 3,112 3,422 3,613 0.4 0.4 0.4
Total Europe 300,153 317,249 306,838 40.0 39.9 38.0
United Kingdom 158,752 172,385 173,162 21.1 21.7 21.4
Germany 45,449 47,047 45,547 6.1 5.9 5.6
France 26,511 29,564 27,012 3.5 3.7 3.3
Switzerland 34,591 34,792 31,555 4.6 4.4 3.9
Netherlands 16,302 15,430 14,900 2.2 1.9 1.8
Italy 3,797 4,397 4,299 0.5 0.6 0.5
Other Europe 14,752 13,634 10,364 2.0 1.7 1.3
Total Asia 109,028 145,532 145,868 14.5 18.3 18.0
Japan 72,590 105,203 101,566 9.7 13.2 12.6
China 15,028 17,745 14,309 2.0 2.2 1.8
India 8,933 Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act 1.2 Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act
South Korea 4,237 Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act 0.6 Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act
Other Asia 8,240 9,599 17,495 1.1 1.2 2.2
Total Oceania, Antarctica and adjacent islands 9,357 6,759 7,334 1.2 0.8 0.9
Australia Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act
Other Oceania, Antarctica and adjacent islands Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act
Total Africa 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total foreign control 751,011 795,575 808,274 100.0 100.0 100.0

Analysis by industry

Wholesale trade, manufacturing, oil and gas extraction, and mining and quarrying were the non-financial industries with the largest share of foreign control as measured by assets. The share of assets under foreign control was 48.2% for wholesale trade, 44.3% for manufacturing, 40.1% for oil and gas and 30.1% for mining in 2021. Among all financial industries, non-depository credit intermediation has historically been and remains the one with the highest level of foreign control.


Table 2
Total value of assets and foreign-controlled share by industry, 2019 to 2021
Table summary
This table displays the results of Total value of assets and foreign-controlled share by industry Total assets, Assets under foreign control, 2019, 2020 and 2021, calculated using millions of dollars and percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Total assets Assets under foreign control
2019 2020 2021 2019 2020 2021
millions of dollars percent
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting 220,849 237,284 264,083 2.0 2.8 3.8
Oil and gas extraction and support activities 642,488 554,192 574,053 32.1 32.7 40.1
Mining and quarrying 343,051 313,082 312,346 39.4 30.2 30.1
Utilities 169,752 178,918 175,826 12.7 12.4 12.1
Construction 414,800 428,085 469,406 5.8 6.2 5.9
Manufacturing 1,091,334 1,104,833 1,167,319 45.1 44.3 44.3
Wholesale trade 508,721 559,049 614,807 50.6 50.2 48.2
Retail trade 347,266 351,362 364,937 26.3 25.4 22.7
Transportation and warehousing 524,171 418,833 493,721 6.1 8.4 9.2
Information and cultural industries 294,281 318,366 357,091 10.6 12.5 12.2
Real estate and rental and leasing 841,758 880,211 972,309 6.7 5.2 5.4
Professional, scientific and technical services 305,006 343,585 405,597 22.8 25.2 24.9
Administrative and support, waste management and remediation services 120,778 125,105 139,420 18.2 17.4 14.4
Educational, health care and social assistance services 141,879 155,689 170,722 2.8 2.1 2.1
Arts, entertainment and recreation 38,284 38,643 39,863 15.4 12.3 11.4
Accommodation and food services 87,712 93,619 99,043 13.0 12.4 12.8
Repair, maintenance and personal services 75,754 68,341 74,705 10.6 13.4 12.2
Total non-financial industries 6,167,885 6,169,196 6,695,249 23.9 23.5 23.5
Non-depository credit intermediation 327,538 322,591 331,156 57.6 53.4 48.9
Insurance carriers and related activities 1,105,061 1,237,651 1,350,885 12.4 12.0 11.3
Other financial industries 1,400,712 1,556,862 1,733,510 11.6 11.9 12.4
Depository credit intermediation 4,857,604 5,587,023 5,836,687 5.4 5.2 4.8
Total finance and insurance industries 7,690,915 8,704,127 9,252,237 9.8 9.1 8.7
Total all industries 13,858,800 14,873,322 15,947,487 16.0 15.1 14.9

Data quality, concepts and methodology

Start of text box

The full set of statistical tables can be viewed in an interactive format on our website (www.statcan.gc.ca).

Please consult Table 33-10-0570-01 “Foreign-controlled enterprises in Canada, by financial characteristic and selected country of control” for more details.

For additional details on quality, concepts and methodology, please see the program information on our website here: Corporations Returns Act

End of text box

Related Products

Selected data tables from Statistics Canada

Foreign-controlled enterprises in Canada, by financial characteristics and industry
Foreign controlled enterprises in Canada, counts by operating revenue size groups
Foreign controlled enterprises in Canada, by financial characteristics and selected country of control (2007-2019)
Foreign controlled enterprises in Canada, by financial characteristics and selected country of control
Financial and taxation statistics for enterprises, by industry type
Balance sheet, income statement and taxation statistics with selected financial ratios, by total all industries
Balance sheet, income statement and taxation statistics with selected financial ratios, by financial industries
Balance sheet, income statement and taxation statistics with selected financial ratios, by non-financial industries
Representation of men and women on boards of directors

Selected publications from Statistics Canada

Inter-corporate Ownership
Analysis in Brief – Multinational enterprises in Canada
Analysis in Brief – Exploring the significance of Asia’s corporate control in Canada
Infographic – Women in corporate Canada: Who’s at the top?
Infographic – Diversity among board directors and officers
Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series – Diversity among board of directors and officers: Exploratory estimates on family, work and income

Selected survey programs from Statistics Canada

Corporations Returns Act
Financial and Taxation Statistics for Enterprises

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