Biannual Survey of Suppliers of Business Financing (BSSBF)

Detailed information for July 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019




2 times per year

Record number:


Statistics Canada is conducting this survey to collect and to report aggregate information on the financing of businesses in Canada. The survey aims to measure flows of capital to business by industry and product line, as well as to observe biannual changes in credit conditions.

Data release - July 21, 2020


The Biannual Survey of Suppliers of Business Financing is the result of a commitment made in 1999 by the Government of Canada to improve the information available about the financing businesses in Canada. Data are collected from the major suppliers of business financing including domestic banks and other banks, credit unions and caisse populaires, finance companies (including some Government Business Enterprises), portfolio managers, and insurance companies. Business clients are classified by three variables: authorization level, type of instrument used and industry grouping. New variables were added to this survey to collect data on new disbursements, by authorization level and industry, and accounts in arrears by 90 days or more.

The survey contributes baseline statistics to the Financing Data Initiative (FDI), a partnership with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (formerly Industry Canada). Policy makers use the information to determine whether financing problems exist in order to assess, identify and improve policy measures. Suppliers of business financing may use the results to identify areas for improvement or opportunities for profitable business financing.

Reference period: 6 month period beginning January 1 or July 1 of each year

Collection period: During the three months following the reference period.


  • Business performance and ownership

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population includes all enterprises that meet the following criterion:

The enterprise, or one of its establishments, has a two-digit NAICS code in 52 and the enterprise is incorporated and for-profit. Unincorporated and non-profit enterprises are excluded.

The observed population is a subset of the target population. The following additional criterion was applied to the target population to create the observed population:

The enterprise, or one of its establishments, must be one of the 120 largest enterprises by outstanding debt and be included in one of the following 4-digit NAICS codes: 5221 (banks, credit unions, caisses populaires), 5222 (finance companies), 5239 (Portfolio Managers), 5241 (insurance companies).

Instrument design

The content and design of the survey was developed in consultation with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (formerly Industry Canada) and twelve respondent organizations (including the Canadian Bankers Association and the Canadian Credit Union Association).


This survey is a census with a cross-sectional design and a longitudinal follow-up.

Data are collected from 120 of the largest financial institutions in Canada with assets over $5 million. The 120 units represent over 90% of all lending to businesses in Canada.

The sampling unit is a financial institution (NAICS code 52) as defined on the Statistics Canada Business Register and is incorporated and for-profit.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2020-01-06 to 2020-06-29

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Data are collected through an electronic questionnaire process for the majority of the units. Follow-ups are conducted via the telephone.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .

Error detection

Edits are applied at the micro level. In the case of inconsistent information supplied by respondents, follow-up is conducted via telephone in order to confirm the information received. Inconsistent or invalid information is also reviewed at the analysis stage.

The data are subjected to a detailed quality review process with checks to detect missing, invalid or inconsistent entries or to identify records that are potentially erroneous. This includes a comparative analysis to the preceding year when possible as well as with other sources of related data and information.


Imputation primarily makes use of historical information and current trends in principal characteristics of similar units.

Similar units are identified based on their industry classification as well as their value of credit outstanding and disbursements over the last 6 months.


Estimation of totals is done by simple aggregation of the values of all estimation units from the largest 120 financial institutions. Estimates are computed at the Canada level. No variance estimation is calculated for a census.

Quality evaluation

The survey results are analyzed before publication. In general, the analysis includes a detailed review of the individual responses, a review of general economic conditions as well as historic trends and comparisons with other data sources.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that 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.

The confidentiality of the reported statistics to the survey is protected under the provisions of the Statistics Act. Accordingly, statistics are released in aggregate only, with no potential identification of individually reported information. The confidentiality provisions of the Statistics Act override the provisions of the Access to Information Act to guarantee the confidentiality of reported data of individual respondents.

Due to the high level of response to the Biannual Survey of Suppliers of Business Financing data suppression was used exclusively for the protection of confidential information. Suppression of data points denoted by "x" is used to protect the identity of respondents from direct or residual disclosure.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

The most recent data are subject to revision. These data may be revised to include amended information or reports from respondents that are received after the end of a collection cycle.

Data accuracy

The overall response rate for the first iteration (January to June) of reference year 2020 for the Biannual Survey of Suppliers of Business Financing was 81.9%.

In general, data quality is higher for dollar value cells than number accounts. The latter may be affected by the assignment of accounts by respondents.

Total Debt Outstanding:

The number of records imputed due to missing or inconsistent values for the total debt outstanding questions was 27 (or 22.8% of the total sample) for the value of debt outstanding, and 27 (or 22.8% of the total sample) for the number of business credit accounts.


The number of records imputed due to missing or inconsistent values for the new term credit disbursements questions was 27 (or 22.8% of the total sample) for the value of disbursements, and 27 (or 22.8% of the total sample) for the number of disbursements.

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