National Balance Sheet Accounts (NBSA)

Detailed information for third quarter 2016





Record number:


The National Balance Sheet Accounts record the stock of assets (financial and non-financial), liabilities and net worth for each institutional sector.

Data release - December 14, 2016


The National Balance Sheet Accounts provide a stock dimension to the associated flow data in the capital and financial accounts and other changes in assets accounts. The National Balance Sheet Accounts are a set of balance sheets for all sectors of the economy and for the economy as a whole¿a consolidated national balance sheet account. The national balance sheet records national wealth (sum of all sectors' non-financial assets) and Canada's net international investment position. Canada's national net worth is calculated as the difference between what we own in non-financial assets less what we owe to, or are owed from, the rest of the world, as measured by Canada's international investment position.

The National Balance Sheet Accounts present the value of produced and non-produced non-financial and financial assets and the value of financial liabilities (including equities) at the end of a given accounting period (quarter or year). The difference between total assets and total liabilities is net worth, which can be summed across national sectors to produce an equivalent estimate of national net worth. There are two main dimensions to the National Balance Sheet Accounts: sectors and categories. The sectors identify who holds the assets, liabilities and net worth. The categories identify what type of liabilities and assets are held¿they provide a picture of the composition of a sector's assets, liabilities and net worth.

Assets and liabilities are valued at market prices. Market valuation ensures the data are meaningful for current analysis, since economic behaviour reflects perception of current wealth positions. In addition, book-value estimates are available for select sectors and categories sectors.

Statistical activity

The National Balance Sheet Accounts are compiled by integrating numerous data sources related to the stock of financial assets, non-financial assets and liabilities for the various sectors of the economy (households, general government, financial and non-financial corporations, non-profit institutions serving households, and non-residents) into a statement that measures the wealth and net worth of the nation. The 2008 System of National Accounts outlines the concepts, methods, accounting identities and accounting framework required to produce the National Balance Sheet Accounts. The statistical activity resembles that of a business accountant that is required to take basic company information and summarize it into a balance sheet which provides information on the financial health of the business. In the case of the National Balance Sheet Accounts, basic statistical information is taken from a variety of sources (such as business surveys, administrative and regulatory files, government public accounts and household wealth surveys) and summarized into National Balance Sheet Accounts which highlight the financial health of the various sectors of the Canadian economy.

Collection period: The collection period varies depending on the data sources used to compile the National Balance Sheet Accounts. In general, the National Balance Sheet Accounts are published 75 days following the reference period.


  • Economic accounts
  • Financial and wealth accounts

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The National Balance Sheet Accounts are compiled according to the production and asset boundary defined by the 2008 System of National Accounts. This includes the economic activities of all households, non-profit institutions serving households, governments, financial corporations and non-financial corporations operating within the economic territory of Canada. It also includes all interactions (e.g. stock of financial assets and incurrence of liabilities) with non-residents.

Instrument design

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data sources

Data are extracted from administrative files and derived from other Statistics Canada surveys and/or other sources.

A significant number of data sources are used to compile the National Balance Sheet Accounts. The more notable data sources include: estimates of capital stock, investment and consumption of fixed capital, the Quarterly Survey of Financial Statements, regulatory banking information, administrative sources, pension fund surveys, Government Finance Statistics, and Balance of Payments statistics. All of these data sources are adjusted to conform to the 2008 System of National Accounts concepts and definitions and integrated into the 2008 System of National Accounts accounting framework.

Error detection

This methodology type does not apply to this survey.


This methodology type does not apply to this survey.


The National Balance Sheet Accounts are estimated by using the most complete and high quality data sources available in order to establish benchmark annual estimates. This generally entails annual business surveys, administrative data files from the Canada Revenue Agency, annual household survey files, annual information from pension funds, financial institutions and government public accounts and establishing annual estimates.

Data are mainly received in aggregate form and, in some instances, on a company or enterprise basis. Stocks of assets and liabilities, by detailed categories, are compiled for the major sectors of the economy. These stocks are adjusted to conform to the 2008 System of National Accounts conceptual framework and as such are adjusted for reasons of valuation, timing and coverage.

The sub-annual estimates are generated by applying the movements of sub-annual data sources such as the Quarterly Survey of Financial Statements, quarterly Balance of Payments and quarterly Government Finance Statistics to the benchmark estimates.

Quality evaluation

Data are analyzed for time series consistency, links to current economic events, issues arising from the source data, and finally with respect to coherence.

It is not possible to produce an equivalent to national wealth or national net worth; nor is it possible to construct a balance sheet for the household sector, except periodically from household surveys. However, certain sub-sectors of the NBSA are largely comparable to estimates produced by source data divisions (e.g., pension funds, levels of government).

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. 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.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Revisions - Statistical revisions are carried out in order to incorporate the most recent information from quarterly and annual surveys, taxation statistics, public accounts, censuses, etc.

Data are released within 75 days after the reference period. Estimates for each quarter are revised when those for subsequent quarters of the same year are published. At the time of the third quarter of each year, revisions are generally made back three years. The National Balance Sheet Accounts are not normally revised again except when comprehensive revisions are carried out.

Seasonal adjustment - Quarterly NBSA data series are largely unadjusted for seasonal variation. However, selected quarterly aggregate data series are available on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

Data accuracy

The accounts are designed in a matrix format, using two constraints: 1) Assets less liabilities equal net worth; and, 2) financial assets (by type) equal liabilities (by type). There are no explicit discrepancies, however analysis of the discrepancies in the Capital and Financial Accounts provide one gauge of reliability; and, a stock-flow reconciliation provides another. However, these are partial and insufficient measures.

No direct measures of the margin of error in the estimates can be calculated. The quality of the estimates can be inferred from analysis of revisions and from a subjective assessment of the data sources and methodology used in the preparation of the estimates.


Date modified: