Culture Trade - Goods

Detailed information for 2010





Record number:


This derived survey is conducted to provide information and analysis on Canada's international trade in culture goods.

Data release - November 28, 2011


This statistical activity is conducted to provide information and analysis of the value of imports and exports of Canada's merchandise trade data in the culture sector. The unit of analysis is the commodity as described in the "Canadian Framework for Culture Statistics". Culture goods include original and mass produced goods which contain culture content, as defined by this framework. Culture goods include creative goods that warrant intellectual property rights and goods, which support creation, production or transmission of other creative goods.

This derived survey is funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage (PCH). The survey produces estimates on the overall trade of culture goods in Canada by commodity groupings and trade partners.

These survey estimates are used by various departments and agencies such as the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Cultural Industries Development Fund of the Business Development Bank of Canada, International Markets Program of Telefilm Canada and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. In addition, the data are useful to international agencies such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Statistical activity

The survey is currently administered as part of the Culture Statistics Program, which was established in 1972 to create, maintain and make available timely and comprehensive data on the culture sector in Canada. Specialized client-driven information needs are met through analytical studies of such topics as the economic impact of culture, the consumption of culture goods and services, government, personal and corporate spending on culture, the culture labour market, and international trade of culture goods and services.

The Guide to Culture Statistics (available through the online catalogue number 87-008-GIE (free)) has been developed by the Culture Statistics Program to facilitate access to culture information throughout Statistics Canada.

Reference period: Calendar year

Collection period: The week following the reference period


  • Culture and leisure
  • International trade
  • Trade in culture goods and services

Data sources and methodology

Target population

Importers and exporters of culture goods.

Instrument design

Not applicable.


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

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

Data sources

Data are collected from other Statistics Canada surveys and/or other sources.

International trade data on culture goods are obtained from the International Trade Division (ITD) at Statistics Canada.

Canadian trade statistics are compiled according to the "General" system of trade as defined by the United Nations Statistical Office. The general trade system, in principle, presents all goods entering the country (imports) and all goods leaving the country (exports). It differs from the "Special" system of trade in the treatment of imported goods into Customs bonded warehouses. Under the special trade system, these goods are counted only if and when they are withdrawn from Customs warehouses for domestic consumption. They are not counted in export statistics unless they have first cleared Customs.

Import data are captured by Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) from B3 forms and from electronic import transaction entries. Data for Canadian exports to countries other than the United States are compiled by the International Trade Division from B-13A forms received via the CBSA and from Summary Reports and Canadian Automated Export Declarations (CAED) submitted directly to Statistics Canada.

Canadian exports to the United States are compiled using United States import statistics (from the U.S. Customs Service via the U.S. Census Bureau) and account for approximately 87% of the value of Canada's export trade.

Error detection

Error detection activities are conducted by International Trade Division during capture.

Import transactions are captured by Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA). Exports to countries other than the United States are captured and edited by Statistics Canada.

Validation, combination, unit value and "reasonableness" edits are performed on both imports and exports data during the edit and imputation process. Validation edits use a number of metadata tables which allow the comparison of a reported variable to a list of valid codes. Other validity checks ensure that a reported variable respects the characteristics it is supposed to, e.g., numeric variables are reported as numeric. Records that are found to be invalid are replaced with valid ones, mainly through an automatic imputation process. Combination edits include commodity/country, commodity/trader and commodity/province. Unit value lows and highs are calculated for each Harmonized System (HS) code. Data that fall within this range are accepted while those that fail are rejected. The imports processing system of the International Trade Division (ITD) also performs a number of edits and imputations on imports from the United States on behalf of the United States Census Bureau (USBC).


Imputation activities are conducted by International Trade Division during processing.

Both manual and automated imputations are performed on imports and exports data. Data that fail an edit and are beyond an established threshold are manually reviewed and corrected. The method of correction usually takes the form of telephone follow-up to the importer, exporter or their representative, the broker. Sometimes a link to the electronic invoice will suffice to obtain the necessary information to take corrective action.

Data that fail the edits and are below a value threshold are automatically imputed. In the case of a unit value failure the quantity is the variable automatically imputed. Quantity is imputed by randomly selecting a unit value between a high and a low unit value range.

Export documents received too late for incorporation in the current month are assigned to the month the transaction took place. If a monthly summary report from a high volume exporter is not received on time, the data are imputed for the current month and revised with the trade value in the following statistical month.


Culture goods are grouped and allocated to categories in accordance with the Canadian Framework for Culture Statistics. Specifically, goods trade microdata, which classify goods using the Harmonized System (HS), are grouped in accordance with the Standard Classification of Goods (SCG) and category headings used in the Framework.

Quality evaluation

Quality evaluations are performed by the Culture Statistics Program in the form of historical trend analysis using subject-matter expert judgement. This method is used to identify anomalies in the data for a given period. This error detection process is conducted at the final stage of aggregation of the culture goods trade categories.

In terms of the source data, International Trade Division's (ITD) customs-based trade statistics are more accurate for measuring imports than they are for measuring exports. This is because Customs are typically more vigilant with respect to goods entering the country than they are with goods leaving the country.

Customs-based export statistics may understate and/or incorrectly portray the destination of exports. They are understated when the proper documentation is not filed with Customs and are incorrectly portrayed when the country of final destination is inaccurately reported on the customs documentation. The latter occurs most frequently when goods are routed through an intermediary country before continuing on to their final destination.

ITD calculates a monthly estimate for export undercoverage that is applied to the aggregated Balance of Payments-based data. ITD also periodically conducts reconciliation exercises with its major trading partners other than the United States.

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.

Culture goods trade data from the International Trade Division of Statistics Canada are subjected to a "passive suppression" approach for confidentiality. Passive suppression is based on the principle that confidential data will not knowingly be released. It requires that appropriate measures be taken only at the request of importers or exporters who feel that their interests would be harmed by the dissemination of data. The onus of notifying ITD of suspected instances of the release of confidential data rests with the affected companies.

On the other hand, "active suppression" requires the review of data to determine the confidentiality status of data prior to dissemination. In ITD, the Exporter Register takes this approach. In ITD's general program importers and exporters do not have a company identification that is as complete or reliable as in a formal sample frame and therefore cannot provide an adequate basis for the application of active suppression mechanisms. However, in the case of the Exporter Register, a company's identification is obvious and is linked to the Statistics Canada Business Register, making the use of "active suppression" appropriate.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

The source data that are used to create tabular data for the culture goods sector are revised by International Trade Division, on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis.

Data accuracy

Data quality of culture goods estimates are dependent on the data quality of the underlying sources, and in the way that these sources are combined. Statistics Canada makes every effort 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, by ITD, and where necessary, adjustments are made to reconcile data with the conceptual framework of the international trade series. The administrative agencies used by ITD 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.

Note to Users:

International trade data on culture goods are obtained from the International Trade Division of Statistics Canada. Trade data are regrouped into culture categories according to the Canadian Framework for Culture Statistics. Therefore, the categories of culture goods presented here are not compatible with the International Trade Division's publication.

The revised versions of the ITD data used for the Culture goods trade are: September 09, 2011 for the annual revision for 2009 and prior, and July 28, 2011 revision for 2010 data.

When one thinks of goods moving into or out of Canada, it is natural to picture trucks arriving at border stations along our physical frontier with the United States. Yet Canada's border is really a collection of locations within Canada and around the world at airports and seaports. Technology, however, has defeated the border to some extent for specialized goods such as news clips, television broadcasts (reducing shipments of film stock), and music samples (possibly reducing shipments of compact discs and other recorded media). Electronic shipments such as these are not reflected in goods trade estimates, nor are internet downloads. To be counted in terms of culture goods trade, a good must have physically crossed the border.

Exports from Canada do not necessarily represent "Canadian content" and imports to Canada do not necessarily represent "Foreign content"'. This characteristic cannot be measured. The country of origin represents where the good was produced.

Exports and imports are valued in current Canadian dollars.

Changes in the value of Canadian exports and imports may be driven by the price and/or volume of the goods.

Imports coming from Canada (mainly returns) are now included in the total value.

Tabulations are based on Domestic Exports and exclude Re-imports. Re-imports are goods that leave the country in the same condition they entered or have been minimally processed (not substantially enhanced in value).

Statistics published by province and territory in Canada for imports are based on the province of clearance which is the province where the goods were cleared at Customs. Data for exports are based on the province of origin which is where the goods are grown, extracted or manufactured.

For additional information, "The Culture Goods Trade User Guide" (81-595-MIE2006040, free) is available through the publications link above.

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