Capital and Repair Expenditures, Actual, Preliminary Actual and Intentions (CAPEX)

Detailed information for 2009





Record number:


This survey collects data on capital and repair* expenditures in Canada. The information is used by Federal and Provincial governments and agencies, trade associations, universities and international organizations for policy development and as a measure of regional activity. *Organizations reporting in the preliminary actual, intentions were not asked for repair expenditures.

Data release - February 25, 2009 (intentions); July 28, 2009 (revised intentions); February 26, 2010 (preliminary actual); February 25, 2011 (actual)


This annual survey collects data on the intentions for capital investment and the expenditures for the previous two years; on occasion, where economic changes justify the need, data on the revised intentions are also collected for the current year. Information on capital spending provides a useful indication of market conditions both in the economy at large and in particular industries. Since such expenditures account for a large and relatively variable proportion of gross domestic expenditures, the size and content of the investment program provides significant information about demands that have been placed upon the productive capabilities of the economy during the period covered by the survey. In addition, information on the relative size of the capital expenditures program planned, both in total and for individual industries, gives an indication of the views management hold on the future market demands in relation to present productive capacity. Inputs are used by the Canadian System of National Accounts, particularly in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Balance of Payments. The information is used by Federal and Provincial governments and agencies, trade associations, universities and international organizations for policy development and as a measure of regional activity.

Reference period: Fiscal year


  • Business, consumer and property services
  • Construction
  • Economic accounts
  • Machinery and equipment
  • Non-residential building construction
  • Non-residential engineering construction
  • Repair and maintenance

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population comprises all business and government entities operating in Canada. Outlays for used Canadian assets are excluded since they constitute a transfer of assets within Canada and have no effect on the aggregates of our domestic inventory. Assets imported from outside Canada are included as they increase our domestic inventory.

Instrument design

The questionnaire was redesigned in 1985 and has remained largely unchanged since then.


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

The target population consists of all Canadian businesses in Canada. The frame is the list of establishments from which the portion eligible for sampling is determined and the sample is taken. The frame is maintained by Statistics Canada's Business Register and is updated using administrative data.

Prior to the selection of a random sample, establishments are classified into homogeneous groups (i.e., groups with the same NAICS codes, same geography (province/territory). Quality requirements are targeted, and then each group is divided into sub-groups called strata: take-all and take-some.

In the take-all strata, all units are sampled with certainty whereas the take-some strata is sampled using the simple random process and a minimal fraction of 1% is imposed and a minimum of 3 units is required where possible. The sample size for the survey is 28,000 units.

Revised intentions for year 2009:

The Capital Expenditures Survey - Revised Intentions was conducted between mid-May and the end of June 2009, on an exceptional basis, using a reduced sample (7,400 businesses and governments).

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents, extracted from administrative files and derived from other Statistics Canada surveys and/or other sources.

Two survey periods are organized and timed to collect three sets of annual data related to investment intentions, preliminary actual expenditures and actual capital and repair expenditures. The investment intentions for year Y and the preliminary actual expenditures for Y-1 are collected, using a combined questionnaire, from October of Y-1 to January of Y; the actual capital and repair expenditures for Y-2 are collected from March of Y-1 to October of Y-1. Establishments selected for the sample receive either the regular survey questionnaire (short or long form), a specialized survey questionnaire (short or long form) or the new project questionnaire. The type of questionnaire an establishment receives depends on the industry, the expected level of expenditure, the set of data being collected and whether or not the establishment is classified as a new project. Respondents are asked to report expenditures for their 12 months fiscal period for which the final day occurs between April 1 of the reference year and March 31 of the following year.

Once the sample has been selected, questionnaires are mailed out. Units that have not responded are subject to mail, fax and telephone follow-up to ensure the data is obtained. A special effort is made for units in the take-all strata.

In addition to the data collected by the above mentioned questionnaires, data which are incorporated into the production of capital expenditure estimates are also obtained from other surveys conducted by Statistics Canada and from provincial government administrative files. As well, some estimates of capital expenditures for some industries are produced based on indicators of production, consumption and costs associated with operation in those industries.

Revised intentions for year 2009:

At the end of 2008, Statistics Canada measured the capital investment intentions for non-residential construction and machinery and equipment for 2009. Since the economic conditions had changed considerably, Statistics Canada was given the mandate to re-evaluate the 2009 capital investment intentions for businesses, institutions and organizations. These data were collected from May 11 to June 26, 2009.

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

Error detection

After the questionnaires have been completed and returned, the process of quality assurance continues through data editing. Data are screened at the micro level for internal survey over survey and year over year inconsistencies. On the actual questionnaire for respondents receiving long forms, asset detail edits identify details which are inconsistent with previous questionnaire returns or with assets commonly used in the respondent's industry. In addition, the outlier detection module is run before and after imputation. After imputation, this is done with the imputed data and permits detection of outliers among imputed data. The Hidiroglou-Berthelot (1986) method is used to detect outliers.


Non-respondents are imputed where possible using their previous response for the same year which is adjusted by a factor for survey over survey rate of change.


The ratio estimator is used for estimation with revenue being the auxiliary variable. This method ensures that the final weight multiplied by the income for each unit in the sample matches the known total for the income variable for the entire population in the group. Some adjustments are made for non-response. Variance is estimated using Taylor's linearization formula in the case of ratio estimator.

The final weight of the 2009 Capital Expenditure Intentions Survey is used as the starting point for estimation for the second phase of the 2009 survey. Each sample unit was selected based on a known probability. The inverse of that probability is the plan weight. To counter nonresponse effects, a second adjustment is done. This is equal to the inverse of the unweighted response rate observed at the strata level. A calibration factor is then calculated for each stratum. The total amount of capital expenditure intentions published for 2009 is used as a control total for each survey stratum. The final weight for each respondent is the product of its final weight resulting from the 2009 Capital Expenditure Intentions Survey, its plan weight, its nonresponse adjustment and its calibration factor. This final weight is used to produce estimates and their associated coefficients of variation. The Horvitz-Thompson estimator is used for two-phase sample plans. The SAS StatMx macros set produces the estimates and coefficients of variation for the variables being studied. Estimation is done at the strata level only.

Quality evaluation

The estimation process produces a comprehensive data set for the surveyed and non-surveyed portions of the universe (frame). After the estimation process, trend analysis for the various industries can be done. Commencing with an evaluation of the year over year (or percentage) change in each industry, provinces/territories that have industries or sub-industries experiencing unusual activity are highlighted. In addition, this type of analysis also identifies industries which have the largest impact on Canadian aggregates.

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

Up to reference period 2006, provided data was adjusted to represent the calendar year. The calendarization method was used to reduce response burden, so the respondent could provide data on a fiscal year basis. Once collected and edited, the data was calendarized to generate data for the January to December period for the reference year for cases where respondent reported data on another period. To prevent the production estimates linked to many fiscal periods, calendarization was done. The Cholette (1984) method was used to break the data in monthly portions and extrapolate.

Starting with reference year 2007, the data published is reflecting data provided by respondents based on their fiscal period and no calendar adjustment is applied. For further information on the impact of this methodological change on the time series, an analytical paper is available on request.

Data accuracy

The Capital Expenditures Survey - Revised Intentions, which was conducted in May and June 2009, had a 79.55% response rate. The coefficient of variation, which measures the precision of the estimated data, is 0.3% at the Canada level.


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