How They Get small business wrong

Understanding Canada’s Private Sector:

How Statistics Canada Gets it Wrong

Whether we’re in business and simply trying to understand our market, or in government attempting to develop policy, we need to rely on good statistical information to frame our thinking. As a CPA in practice, I have been struck by the differences in approach between BC STATS (my local provincial government agency) and STATISTICS CANADA.

“SMEs play an essential role in employing Canadians across the country. On the provincial level, the percentage of private sector employment in SMEs is highest in Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island at 94.0 percent and 93.9 percent respectively (Table 4). This percentage is lowest in Quebec and Ontario at 87.4 percent and 88.3 percent respectively. Total private sector employment in Ontario and Quebec amounts to 7,426,100 jobs, which represents more than 60 percent of Canadian private sector employment.” – STATISTICS CANADA


STATISTICS CANADA talks in an almost disparaging way of “micro businesses” (firms with 4 or fewer employees). The problem is that taken as a whole, the self-employed and these micro businesses account for more employment than all of Canada’s large and mid-size businesses combined (24.57% vs 24.44%) by our estimates[1].

[1] Which are of course based on their data.

Which are of course based on their data.

No.1 Concern for CPA Firms

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