3. Scope of the classification guide

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3.1 What does it mean to measure culture industries?
3.2 What does it mean to measure culture products?
3.3 What does it mean to measure culture occupations?

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This classification guide is to be used in conjunction with the Conceptual Framework for CultureStatistics 2011, which is the conceptual framework that outlines and defines the parts of culture that we want to measure. The classification guide examines standard statistical classification systems and examines how well they meet the needs of the framework, identifying areas where they do or do not match CFCS concepts and categories. This mapping can then be used as a tool to explore ways to use and improve available data sources. Improvements will need to be part of an ongoing process, as priorities are set and opportunities to develop and improve data sources arise.

Figure 2 Mapping of Standard Classification Systems to the Canadian Framework for Culture StatisticsFigure 2 Mapping of Standard Classification Systems to the Canadian Framework for Culture Statistics

The classification guide identifies what we may be able to measure given the tools available to us. This is different from identifying what could be measured if the tools or data sources were different. Therefore, this guide represents a methodology for working with the major statistical tools within the constructs provided by the conceptual framework.

The guide is not an examination of actual data sources. It does not evaluate the data that are available using existing statistical tools and definitions. For example, while industry or product codes may be defined at highly detailed levels, reliable data from surveys may not be available at this detail due to sampling design, survey questionnaires, or the ability of respondents to provide detailed information for the survey. Moreover, the challenges with actual data will vary for different sources and statistics. While this work identifies some of the issues related to classification systems, data users will still need to evaluate whether the type of data and the level of detail available meet particular analytical requirements.

The classification guide consists of two parts: the text, which contains explanations, definitions and examples, and the classification tables, which contain lists of codes, by classification system. The classification systems examined in this guide are the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS 2007), the North American Product Classification System (NAPCS – provisional), the National Occupational Classification for Statistics (NOC-S 2006), and the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP 2000).

While the classification tables contain all existing codes relevant to culture from a particular classification system, the lists do not represent all culture activity. Given that existing classifications systems do not always match perfectly with CFCS concepts, the culture domains are not defined by the list of codes, but rather by their definitions in the conceptual framework. The classification tables are used to guide the data user and to illustrate what is included in a domain, but they are not exclusive.

The focus of this guide is on the creation, production and dissemination of culture products produced by industrial or artisanal processes, as represented by the core, ancillary and transversal domains of the framework. It centres on standard definitions for industries, products, occupations and instructional programs. Each of these economic dimensions is identified independently based on its own characteristics. In this way, a product or occupation is "cultural" by virtue of its product and occupational characteristics, not because it is produced by or employed by a culture industry.

This classification guide does not cover the Infrastructure domains, which are described at a conceptual level in the Conceptual Framework for Culture Statistics 2011 (Statistics Canada 2011).They include Mediating products (goods and services that support the use of culture content such as televisions, computers, and Internet access) and Physical infrastructure (the built structures and spaces that house the activities of the creative chain). The methodology to produce comparable measurements of culture infrastructure is still undeveloped internationally. Further research and consultation are necessary before infrastructure classifications can be added to this guide.

In addition, this guide does not provide tables for the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) or the Extended Balance of Payments Services Classification (EBOPS). They are specialized classification systems that are used, by international agreement, to classify data on international trade in goods and services. Systems are already in place to produce data sets for culture goods and services trade, using both HS and EBOPS codes.

The guide applies primarily to the economic aspects of culture. While the measurement of culture from a social perspective is a requirement for a full representation of culture, relevant classification systems do not exist to provide standard definitions related to the participation of individuals in various parts of the creative chain, or to non-market "consumption" of culture. Thus, the guide does not examine specific tools for measuring all types of demand for culture or to define indicators of the social impact of culture. More time and effort will be required to explore the conceptual and measurement tools necessary to investigate these non-market aspects of culture.

3.1 What does it mean to measure culture industries?

Culture industries are the primary engine for the production of culture goods and services. The unit of observation of the industrial classification, the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS), is the establishment1 (the producing unit), so that the industrial classification is chiefly a grouping of producing units, not products.

The definitions of NAICS industries, as with any similar classification standard such as the International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC), permit the collection of statistics that combine information about the economic performance of establishments when their main production activity is similar. In the case of culture industries, we are interested in establishments whose primary production activity and inputs are creative or whose primary function is to facilitate the transmission or distribution of creative content.

It is notable that the calculation of total culture industry activity does not provide a measure of total culture output. Some culture goods and services may be produced as a secondary activity of a non-culture industry (e.g. magazines published by religious institutions) and will not be captured in data from an industry perspective.

Similarly, just as some culture products are produced by non-culture industries, culture industries may earn revenues from non-culture products. For example, while the sales of live theatre venues include entrance tickets (culture products); they may also sell food and beverages, parking, and souvenirs (non-culture products). While these sales would be captured in total revenues of the culture industry, and are important in the analysis of industry performance, they would not represent revenues earned from culture products, and they would not be included in a measure of total culture production. Hence, not all output of a culture industry is defined as culture.

Culture industries are usually the target of public policy and program initiatives to support culture. The industrial dimension of the CFCS can provide important economic information on the health of these industries and the role these industries play in meeting Canadian culture demand.

3.2 What does it mean to measure culture products?

As noted above, the measure of total culture production requires careful identification of those goods and services that are culture products. The product dimension of culture differs from the industry dimension because products permit a focus on the output from all sources, whether those sources are defined as culture industries or non-culture industries. Culture products are identified based upon their inherent content or purpose, not because they are produced by a culture industry.

For example, magazines can be published by associations or religious institutions, which are not defined as culture industries. A culture product measure would capture the production of all magazines, wherever they are produced. A culture industry measure, on the other hand, would be restricted to the group of establishments whose primary activity is culture production, in this case, periodical publishers.

3.3 What does it mean to measure culture occupations?

The measure of culture occupations requires the identification of occupations where the tasks performed involve creative activity or are unique to supporting the creation, production or dissemination of culture products. Many of these people do not work in culture industries; they may work, for example, as writers and artists in non-culture industries. The occupational dimension of the framework can look beyond culture production itself to examine the supply of artists and creators, their training, their work activity, and their success.

In addition to creators, other occupations are unique to the production and delivery of culture products. These occupations are classified as specialized technical support, management support, and government and education occupations related to culture. The inclusion of these occupations supports the measurement of the entire labour force that directly supports the creation and production of culture goods and services. While creators are the primary source of culture content, many of these occupations (e.g. lighting technicians, film editors) are required to assemble or distribute the final product.


  1. The establishment, as a statistical unit, is defined as the most homogeneous unit of production for which the business maintains accounting records from which it is possible to assemble all the data elements required to compile the full structure of the gross value of production, the cost of materials and services, and labour and capital used in production.
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