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Key Small Business Statistics provides statistical data on the business sector in Canada, focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This edition contains data on the following questions:

  • How many SMEs are there in Canada?
  • How many businesses appear and disappear each year?
  • How many new businesses survive the first 10 years?
  • How many people work for SMEs?
  • How much did employment grow between 2013 and 2017?
  • What is the share of high-growth firms?
  • Which provinces have the highest concentrations of exporters?
  • How do SMEs contribute to Canada’s exports?
  • What are Canada’s main export destinations?
  • How do SMEs contribute to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP)?

In this publication, the definition of what constitutes a “business” or an “enterprise” may vary slightly according to the statistical sources used. Below is a list of those sources and links to the definitions used:

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) defines a business based upon the number of paid employees. For this reason, self-employed and “indeterminate” businesses are generally not included in the present publication as they do not have paid employees.Footnote1

Accordingly, this publication defines an SME as a business establishment with 1–499 paid employees, more specifically:

  • A small business has 1 to 99 paid employees.Footnote2
  • A medium-sized business has 100 to 499 paid employees.
  • A large business has 500 or more paid employees.

Notes on data and statistics:

  • Statistics on financing, innovation and business owner characteristics have been omitted from the present edition. These statistics all come from Statistics Canada’s Survey on Financing and Growth of Small and Medium Enterprises, 2014. Profiles will be prepared when statistics from the 2017 survey become available at the end of 2018.
  • Many statistics on self-employment have been removed from Key Small Business Statistics.

This new edition and previous publications are available on the SME Research and Statistics website.

Read the full report here

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