Small Business Profiles
The Small Business Profiles present selected revenue, expense, profit and balance sheet items as well as financial ratios on small business in Canada.
Detailed information for 2011
Data release - February 4, 2014
The Small Business Profiles present selected revenue, expense, profit and balance sheet items as well as financial ratios on small business in Canada. These profiles comprise Industry Canada's SME Benchmarking Tool, available on the Internet at
- Business performance and ownership
- Financial statements and performance
- Small and medium-sized businesses
Data sources and methodology
The target population consists of small businesses that are defined as those having annual revenue between $30,000 and $5 million. The information is presented by industry using the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) to the six-digit level.
This survey is a census with a cross-sectional design.
This component of the population is defined as all unincorporated businesses on the T1 return file for reference year 2011 whose annual revenues are $30,000 to $5 million, inclusive, and for whom complete geographical and industrial classifications are available. For reference year 2011, 877,931 units are included.
This component of the population is defined as all incorporated businesses on the T2 Balance Sheet and T2 Income Statement tables maintained by Tax Data Division of Statistics Canada. Therefore, a complete census of GIFI schedules for small businesses within the T2 statistical universe file (comprising 965,526 businesses) is available, all with complete geographical and industrial classifications.
Data are available on a census basis for both portions of the population.
Data are extracted from administrative files.
The 2011 profiles are produced using information extracted from tax returns submitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for the 2011 tax year. Tax Data Division of Statistics Canada maintains files that provide income and expenses from self-employment for unincorporated businesses as well as GIFI schedules (Balance Sheets and Income Statements) for incorporated businesses.
Once the data are collected and captured by CRA, they are sent to Statistics Canada. There, a team of subject matter specialists in tax data processing run edit programs, which identify errors, inconsistencies and extreme values. Data that fail to meet predetermined criteria are referred to analysts for appropriate action. At this stage of corporate processing, all industries are handled similarly. A second set of edits is also applied to the data after capture to eliminate basic inconsistencies, such as subtotals not adding to totals.
Imputation is performed in two cases: when a data point reported by a business is judged to fall outside the limits of statistically coherent values; or when a business fails to itemize all or part of a data point. In both cases, the records requiring imputation (recipient records) are assigned values based on the data of records with more complete data (donor records).
Donor records are selected using the 'nearest neighbour' method: using matching variables, the donor record determined to be most similar to the recipient record is identified. Matching variables included revenue, expenses, and inventory. Additionally, donors are restricted to the same industry group as the recipient records.
Once edit and imputation are complete, no weighting is necessary because the T1 and T2 data are available on a census basis. Estimation methods are used to calculate the values for each financial variable in each industry, area and revenue grouping combination. Estimates deemed of unacceptable quality, or that violate confidentiality rules, are identified and removed.
The half and quartile boundaries are calculated for each business type by industry and by area. For one set of estimates, the businesses are ranked from lowest to highest operating revenue. The half boundary will be the total revenue value from the record that lies exactly on the mid-point (0.50). The quartile boundaries will be the total revenue values from the records which lie on the 0.25, 0.50 and 0.75 points. Average data for the expense, balance sheet and other variables are then calculated using only those businesses allocated to each half or quartile group.
For the other set of estimates, the businesses are ranked from lowest to highest operating profit. The half boundary will be the total operating profit value from the record that lies exactly on the mid-point (0.50). The quartile boundaries will be the total operating profit values from the records which lie on the 0.25, 0.50 and 0.75 points. Average data for the expense, balance sheet and other variables are then calculated using only those businesses allocated to each half or quartile group.
An historical trend analysis was carried out at aggregated industry and geographic levels to identify potential issues in the data. Due to definition and methodological changes over time, only extreme values or trends were verified in detail. Internal consistency checks were applied to derived totals and ratios.
Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any data which would divulge information obtained under the Statistics Act that relates to any identifiable person, business or organization without the prior knowledge or the consent in writing of that person, business or organization. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.
Data suppressed due to confidentiality will appear as a lowercase x in the cell in a profile. The revenue ranges will also be a lowercase x in the cell.
The data accuracy activities are carried out by Tax Data Division using standard corporate procedures in developing the database that is used by the Centre for Special Business Projects to create the Small business profiles database.
Quality indicators were produced to provide data users with information on the accuracy of the published estimates. As the published data are drawn from a census, there is no associated sampling error. The quality indicators are based on the amount of imputation performed on each published data point.
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