Business Conditions Survey for the Manufacturing Industries (BCS)

Detailed information for January 2008





Record number:


This voluntary survey is designed to provide an advance indication of current trends for the manufacturing sector of the Canadian economy.

Data release - January 29, 2008


This voluntary survey is designed to provide an advance indication of current trends for the manufacturing sector of the Canadian economy. Data are used by Industry Canada, Human Resources Canada, the Department of Finance, the Bank of Canada and the Canadian Manufacturing Association. In addition, Burns-Fry Toronto produces an index based on the data and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) produces a publication "Indicators of Industrial Activity".

Reference period: The first week of each quarter starting on January, April, July and October

Collection period: First 10 days of each quarter.


  • Business performance and ownership
  • Current conditions
  • Manufacturing

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The Canadian Manufacturing Industry.

Instrument design

The questionnaire was designed to collect variables deemed the advance indicators of manufacturing trends. It has not been changed since its conception.


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

Estimates produced by this survey are based on a stratified systematic sample of about 9,000 manufacturing establishments selected from the frame maintained by the Business Register. The sample used for this survey is the sample used for the monthly Survey of Manufacturing and is revised bi-annually to reflect changes in the composition of the Canadian manufacturing population. The population is stratified by industry within province and each stratum is then divided into three substrata of large, medium and small establishments according to the shipment value reported to the ASM. All large establishments are surveyed and a systematic sample is independently selected within each of the other two size (medium and small establishments) substrata.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

The survey is conducted through a mail out-mail back form. The BCS is a voluntary survey and therefore collection follow-up is only done for the top manufacturers. A fax reminder and questionnaire is sent to respondents who have not replied 3 days prior to the survey closing date.

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

Error detection

The questionnaires are scanned at initial receipt for large errors such as multiple answers to a given question. Multiple answer questions are removed from questionnaires. After data have been captured, an automated system checks the validity of the survey data and for multiple or conflicting answers.


No imputation is done for this survey.


Responses are weighted to reflect the relative importance of the respondents' opinions for all questions except for the question on employment prospects. The weights are based on the value of shipments reported to the Annual Survey of Manufactures. The weights for the employment prospects question are based on employment data reported to the Annual Survey of Manufactures. For each possible answer to each question, the weighted responses are summed and expressed as percentages of all weighted responses.

Quality evaluation

The final data sets are subject to rigorous analysis that includes comparison to historical series and comparisons to other sources of data in order to put the economic changes in context. Information available from the media, other government organizations and economic think tanks is also used in the validation process.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any data which would divulge information obtained under the Statistics Act that relates to any identifiable person, business or organization without the prior knowledge or the consent in writing of that person, business or organization. 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 results of the BCS are published at high industry levels only, such as total manufacturing Canada and Provinces, and total manufacturing sectors Canada level only.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Data for the previous quarter are revised based on late returns.

Data accuracy

While effort is made to ensure high standards throughout all stages of collection and processing, the resulting estimates are inevitably subject to a certain degree of non-sampling error. Non-sampling error is not related to sampling and may occur for many reasons. For example, non-response is an important source of non-sampling error. Population coverage, differences in the interpretations of questions and mistakes in recording, coding and processing data are other examples of non-sampling errors.

Non-sampling errors are controlled through a careful design of the questionnaire, the use of a minimal number of simple concepts, consistency checks and the annual update of the sample to reflect changes in the manufacturing population.

Response rates are a measure of the proportion of those sample units that have responded in time for inclusion in the estimate. They are used as indicators of the possible extent of non-sampling errors. The average response rate for the BCS is 45%; the average response rate weighted by the total value of shipments for the individual responding establishments is 50%.

The Manufacturing Business Conditions Survey is a voluntary opinion survey, it does not collect hard numbers, and rather it solicits manufacturers' opinions on current levels of inventories, orders and productions, and employment prospect levels for the coming 3 months. There are no measures of sampling error produced for the BCS.

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