Pilot Survey on Financing of Small and Medium Enterprises

Detailed information for 1999





Record number:


The survey is designed to find out what kinds of financing small and medium enterprises are using, and to collect information on recent attempts to obtain new financing.

Data release - March 30, 2001 A brief assessment of the questionnaire and methodology used for this pilot survey, as well as a summary evaluation on what was learned from the pilot survey with recommended changes for the full-scale survey, are available.


As a result of recommendations made by the MacKay Task Force on the Future of the Canadian Financial Services Sector, Finance Canada, Industry Canada and Statistics Canada have been mandated to initiate a new statistical program to collect information on small and medium business financing.

In 2000, a pilot survey of some 2,000 businesses was conducted for the reference year 1999 to assess the feasibility of the survey approach to collecting such information as well as produce a few national estimates for some of the key questions of interest. As a result of this pilot, many recommendations were made for the implementation of a larger scale production survey.


  • Business performance and ownership
  • Small and medium-sized businesses

Data sources and methodology

Instrument design

The survey questionnaires for Part 1 and Part 2 are designed by Statistics Canada in collaboration with Industry Canada. Statistics Canada formats the questionnaire and ensures the questionnaire complies with Statistics Canada policy.


This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design.

The list frame was stratified according to Finance and Industry Canada's needs and to methodology group's recommendations. Since estimates were required by region, industry type, size and age of business, these four variables were used to develop an initial stratification. Number of employees in the enterprise was used to define the size of a business and the age of the business was estimated using the date that the business was birthed on the Business Register. This is only a proxy for the actual age of the business but it was the most accurate information available. Note that the number of employees and the age of business are information collected during the interview and a reclassification based on survey results is done for tabulation purposes.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Collection for this survey was done in two parts. In part 1, most qualitative type questions concerning the businesses latest financing requests were collected using a CATI instrument. For part 2, a questionnaire that collects detailed financial information on liabilities and balance sheet was mailed or/and faxed-out to all businesses that responded to part 1. Telephone follow-up was used to increase response rates.


For part 1, no imputation was performed for missing data. Because part 1 deals strictly with qualitative data, the incidence of missing data was very small. All estimates from part 1 released were percentages of qualitative categories. For records from Part 2 of the survey, a nearest neighbor imputation system was implemented. This method of imputation involves locating a donor (from the entire «deck») of similar size and characteristics to impute data for missing or incomplete information.

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.

Confidentiality analysis includes the detection of possible direct disclosure, which occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of a few respondents or when the cell is dominated by a few companies.

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