Trade by Exporter Characteristics - Goods (TEC)

Detailed information for 2022





Record number:


The Trade by Exporter Characteristics - Goods program provides aggregate statistical information on characteristics of Canadian businesses who export goods to countries outside of Canada.

Data release - May 18, 2023 (Goods)


Statistics Canada has aligned its exporter linkage product in coherence with other national statistical agencies using the enterprise as the main statistical unit. Supplementary information using the establishment as a statistical unit is also available. In order to differentiate this program from previous vintages of exporter data programs, this new program is called the Trade by Exporter Characteristics (TEC) - Goods.

The TEC - Goods program provides aggregate statistical information on characteristics of Canadian businesses who export goods to countries outside of Canada. At the enterprise level, such characteristics include value of exports and number of exporting enterprises by employment size, number of partner countries, country of destination, concentration of exports, size of exports, related parties, and industry according to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Supplementary information at the establishment level includes data by industry according to the NAICS of the exporting establishment, country of destination, establishment employment size, related parties, and number of partner countries, available by province and territories.

By identifying individual exporters captured by merchandise trade data within the Statistics Canada Business Register (BR), the information contained in the export records can be linked to the information available for the statistical unit (enterprise or establishment) in the BR, namely business characteristics such as industry of the exporting enterprise or establishment (according to the NAICS). In addition, linkage to the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) data provides information on enterprise employment. Together this collection of information provides a profile of Canadian businesses engaged in exports of goods.

Statistics Canada's Business Register (BR) is a central repository of information on businesses operating in Canada. It is used as the principal frame for many of Statistics Canada's economic statistical programs. The BR provides consistent and standardized data at the enterprise and establishment levels for each year under consideration.

The standardized business classification model developed at Statistics Canada comprises a four- level hierarchy of statistical entities:

- Enterprise - the top of the hierarchy, which is associated with a complete (consolidated) set of financial statements
- Company - the level at which operating profit can be measured
- Establishment - the level at which the accounting data required to measure production are available (principal inputs, revenues, wages, etc.)
- Location - the bottom of the hierarchy, which requires only the number of employees for delineation.

The method used in compiling the TEC - Goods program was to identify exporters, the declaring unit, and to link their associated information to the business entities available in the Business Register, the establishment or location responsible for producing the goods for export. Thus, the primary statistical unit where linkage takes place in the TEC - Goods program is the establishment, which is then aggregated to the enterprise level for additional analytical purpose.

A statistical enterprise is defined as the organizational unit of a business that directs and controls the allocation of resources relating to its domestic operations, and for which consolidated financial and balance sheet accounts can be derived. The statistical establishment is the smallest entity within an enterprise at which the accounting data required to measure production is available (principal inputs, revenues, salaries, employment and wages). The industry of an establishment may not be the same as the industry of the enterprise to which it belongs; however, it better reflects the primary activity of a business entity.

When data is disseminated at the enterprise level, if there are various exporting establishments that all report to one enterprise, information on the province and the industry (according to the NAICS) will all relate to that enterprise (and not the individual establishments). This makes the statistical enterprise most applicable for national level analysis. Many exporters have one associated enterprise which is the entirety of the firm in the BR. This single enterprise is the counted enterprise in these cases. If there are various exporting enterprises within one complex business structure, each exporting enterprise is counted separately.

For exports, a related party is defined as a party who holds or controls ten percent or more of the outstanding voting stock or share of the other party it is transacting with.

Tables 12100091 to 12100097, and 12100158 are based on enterprise level information, while information in tables 1210098, 12100103, 12100104 and 12100159 reflects the establishment level. Other tables by census metropolitan area, based on establishment level, are available at 12100137 and 12100138.

Reference period: 2000 to 2022

Collection period: Two months following the reference period.


  • International trade
  • Merchandise exports
  • Trade patterns

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population for the Trade by Exporter Characteristics - Goods program is all merchandise exporting businesses as identified from exporter information (declaring units) provided on Customs export documentation (declarations filed electronically using the Canada Border Services Agency's [CBSA] Canadian Export Reporting System [CERS] software, G7 Electronic Data Interchange Export Reporting program, or Export Summary Reporting program) and obtained through the Canada-US data exchange from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Instrument design

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


Data are collected for all units of the target population, therefore no sampling is done.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

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

Canadian exports to the United States are compiled using United States import statistics (from the U.S. Census Bureau) in accordance with the 1987 Memorandum of Understanding between Canada and the United States. This procedure is used for all Canadian exports to the United States except exports of natural gas and electricity. These two commodities are recorded directly from Canadian sources in both Canadian and U.S. customs data.

Data for Canadian exports to countries other than the United States are compiled by Statistics Canada from export declarations filed electronically using the CBSA's Canadian Export Reporting System (CERS) software, G7 Electronic Data Interchange Export Reporting program, or Export Summary Reporting program. The CBSA electronically transmits export data to Statistics Canada on a daily basis.

The Generic Survey Universe File (GSUF), which is the term for an individual vintage of the Business Register (BR, record number 1105), is an integral data source, as exporters (referred to as declaring units) are linked to enterprises and establishments from this universe in order to produce the Trade by Exporter Characteristics (TEC) - Goods program dataset. A list of operating entity numbers along with other business characteristic variables formed the reference year GSUF extraction. The exporter identification for individual exporters is then linked, through a series of steps, to the BR entity, allowing the exporter to have a statistical equivalent, the exporting enterprise and establishment.

The number of employees used in the TEC - Goods program dataset primarily comes from the Survey of Employment, Payroll and Hours (SEPH, record number 2612). When employment information is unavailable from SEPH, employment is obtained from the PD7 - Statement of account for current source deductions source which is available on the Business Register. If PD7 employment is 0 for an individual enterprise, that enterprise is counted as having 0 employees. If employment for an individual enterprise is unavailable in PD7, Profiled number of employees on the BR is used. If employment is not found for an individual enterprise from any of the three sources, the enterprise is classified in the 0 or unreported employees category by default. The same methodology is applied when measuring employment at the establishment level.

Error detection

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


No imputation was done.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

The Trade by Exporter Characteristics - Goods program identifies exporting enterprises and establishments that contribute to domestic export value. Export value that could not be linked resulted from a variety of factors, such as incomplete or invalid information on documents.

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

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data accuracy

This statistical program is derived from a record linkage exercise. Please refer to the Integrated Meta database entries of each individual data source used in this program for more information on their data accuracy measures.

Every effort is made to ensure that administrative data are conceptually correct for the use to which they are put. Any anomalies or inconsistencies detected are verified with the source, and where necessary, adjustments are made to reconcile data with the conceptual framework of the series. The administrative agencies used are considered to be the best source available, and data received from them is judged to be of very good quality, even in those circumstances where adjustments have been made.

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