Businesses - Canadian Industry Statistics

Wholesale Trade - 41

The information on the number, size and location of establishments can be used to assess the existing level of competition within the industry in your province/territory.

The table below shows the breakdown between employer and non-employer or indeterminate establishments for each province and territory as well as at the national level. For this industry, 44,577 of establishments are non-employers or indeterminate and 55,554 have one or more employees.

Establishments by employment type and province/territory (2019)
Province/territory Employers Non-employers / Indeterminate
Alberta 6,669 4,701
British Columbia 8,527 7,124
Manitoba 1,750 1,168
New Brunswick 997 509
Newfoundland and Labrador 623 222
Nova Scotia 1,287 757
Northwest Territories 35 17
Nunavut 11 6
Ontario 21,110 18,608
Prince Edward Island 201 147
Quebec 12,363 10,259
Saskatchewan 1,950 1,043
Yukon 31 16
Canada 55,554 44,577

Source: Statistics Canada, special tabulation, unpublished data, unclassified excluded, 2019.

In 2019, the breakdown of employer establishments in this industry was as follows: 42.6% of them were considered micro, employing less than five employees; small establishments accounted for 55.1%; and medium-sized establishments accounted for an additional 2.2% of the total number of establishments. Large employers, those with more than five hundred persons on payroll, accounted for 0.2% of the total establishments.

Employer establishments by employment size category and province/territory (2019)
Province/territory Employment size category (number of employees)
Micro (1-4) Small (5-99) Medium (100-499) Large (500+)
Alberta 2,461 4,065 135 8
British Columbia 3,951 4,445 124 7
Manitoba 614 1,103 30 3
New Brunswick 410 575 12 0
Newfoundland and Labrador 277 335 10 1
Nova Scotia 547 718 22 0
Northwest Territories 11 23 1 0
Nunavut 3 8 0 0
Ontario 9,247 11,254 552 57
Prince Edward Island 90 103 7 1
Quebec 5,318 6,753 278 14
Saskatchewan 720 1,196 34 0
Yukon 8 23 0 0
Canada 23,657 30,601 1,205 91
Percent distribution % 42.6 55.1 2.2 0.2

Source: Statistics Canada, special tabulation, unpublished data, unclassified excluded, 2019.

  • Notes

    An establishment is placed into a NAICS category according to its primary business activity - the product whose revenues are the highest in terms of dollar value. If an establishment produces more than one product or service and these activities cross over NAICS boundaries then an establishment could move from one NAICS code to another, diminishing numbers attributed to one code and augmenting another. For example, an establishment could be making steel and plastic auto parts, and the NAICS code to which it is assigned would depend on which product accounts for the largest share of its revenues in a specific year.

    We recommend you exercise caution when using the establishment counts for both employment types in combination. The data is collected from different sources. Added together the two employment types do not necessarily make up the universe of companies. The “Employers” category includes all companies both incorporated and unincorporated businesses. However, the “non-employers / indeterminate” category includes all incorporated businesses but only includes the unincorporated businesses with annual revenues over $30,000 (non-taxable and taxable). You should also note that companies that only have contract workers with no employee payroll are included in the “non-employers / indeterminate” category.

    Methodology changes introduced in 2016

    A number of methodological changes affected the data for the December 2016 reference period as part of a large re-classification of units within industries.

    Over 51,000 Holding Companies were recoded to new industries. Approximately 10,000 units were reclassified to Finance and Insurance and 35,000 had their NAICS removed and are now in the unclassified category.

    Additionally, approximately 26,000 previously unclassified businesses were recoded to Finance and Insurance. In total, there were over 36,000 units reclassified to Finance and Insurance including former Holding Companies and unclassified businesses.

    Finally, over 9,700 units were reclassified from Agriculture to other sectors, most (7,700) in Rental and Leasing. 7,700 former unclassified businesses were also recoded to Rental and Leasing.

    Methodology changes introduced in 2014

    Establishment data from Statistics Canada was impacted by multiple methodology changes in 2014. Approximately 600,000 units of the non-employer/indeterminate establishment category were added due to the widening of Statistics Canada's inclusion conditions. This change affects businesses that did not have $30,000 in taxable revenue in previous years but did have at least $30,000 in overall (non-taxable and taxable) revenue. These businesses will now be included and represent approximately 600,000 units. Business counts in NAICS 53 - Real estate and rental and leasing and 62 - Health care and social assistance had the largest increases.

    Additionally, Statistics Canada revised the employer status which resulted in 70,000 units moved from their employers (with employees) category to the non-employer/indeterminate (without employees) category. This is mostly noticeable in the smaller employment size ranges. Business counts in NAICS 72 - Accommodation and Food Services, 62 - Health Care and Social Assistance, 31- 33 Manufacturing and 44-45 - Retail Trade saw the largest decreases.

    The number of establishments can be affected by methodological changes, i.e. changes in the method of identifying inactive units. This may lead to false interpretation of the economy behavior and this is why Statistics Canada does not recommend using the data for longitudinal analysis.

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