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, 43,587 of establishments are non-employers or indeterminate and 54,771 have one or more employees.

Establishments by employment type and province/territory (2020)
Province/territory Employers Non-employers / Indeterminate
Alberta 6,582 4,540
British Columbia 8,371 6,954
Manitoba 1,742 1,104
New Brunswick 972 506
Newfoundland and Labrador 601 217
Nova Scotia 1,283 750
Northwest Territories 35 14
Nunavut 10 7
Ontario 20,751 18,214
Prince Edward Island 193 122
Quebec 12,233 10,069
Saskatchewan 1,964 1,078
Yukon 34 12
Canada 54,771 43,587

Source: Statistics Canada, special tabulation, unpublished data, unclassified excluded, 2020.

In 2020, the breakdown of employer establishments in this industry was as follows: 42.7% of them were considered micro, employing less than five employees; small establishments accounted for 55%; and medium-sized establishments accounted for an additional 2.1% 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 (2020)
Province/territory Employment size category (number of employees)
Micro (1-4) Small (5-99) Medium (100-499) Large (500+)
Alberta 2,436 4,026 111 9
British Columbia 3,936 4,308 121 6
Manitoba 626 1,086 27 3
New Brunswick 403 557 12 0
Newfoundland and Labrador 257 334 10 0
Nova Scotia 546 712 25 0
Northwest Territories 9 25 1 0
Nunavut 3 7 0 0
Ontario 9,046 11,112 537 56
Prince Edward Island 87 98 8 0
Quebec 5,309 6,619 288 17
Saskatchewan 705 1,235 24 0
Yukon 10 24 0 0
Canada 23,373 30,143 1,164 91
Percent distribution % 42.7 55.0 2.1 0.2

Source: Statistics Canada, special tabulation, unpublished data, unclassified excluded, 2020.

  • 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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