Trade by Exporter and Importer Characteristics - Services (STEC)

Detailed information for 2021





Record number:


The purpose of the Trade by Exporter and Importer Characteristics - Services (STEC) program is to provide aggregate statistical information, at the national level, on the value of services exports and imports by the industry, employment size class, multinational status and digital intensity of the enterprises in Canada engaged in cross-border commercial services.

Data release - November 9, 2023


The Trade by Exporter and Importer - Services (STEC) program is an initiative at Statistics Canada undertaken to analyze the business characteristics of commercial services exporters and importers in Canada.

The STEC data are compiled from linking trade in services microdata with the characteristics of the businesses involved. Specifically, statistics collected as part of the International Trade in Services Statistics (ITSS) program provide information on the monetary value of services trade broken down by commercial services exporters and importers, service category (for example, computer services or legal services), and partner country. This information is then linked to business dimensions such as industry, according to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), multinational status, and employment size class. For commercial services exports, digital intensity is an added dimension. The linkage of trade values with business characteristics is made possible by using a common identifier found in Statistics Canada's Business Register (BR).

Reference period: The calendar year

Collection period: One year after reference period


  • Business performance and ownership
  • Economic accounts
  • Information and communications technology
  • International trade
  • Trade patterns

Data sources and methodology

Target population

Annual data on commercial services traders is compiled by using annual survey frames and grossing-up techniques outlined in program 1536: Canada's International Transactions in Services. The responses of the sampled enterprises are weighted according to their industry and revenues, and those weights are used to estimate the total value of trade.

The STEC program leverages data from the annual International transactions in services survey frames to form a services trader universe by profiling each services trader. Resources are then allocated to maintain an updated enterprise-level annual file aimed at reflecting a services universe in order to form a time series for which the value at the enterprise level sums to published services trade data aggregates. Therefore, while there are many similarities in compiling macroeconomic aggregates, STEC is a derived analytical product focused that concentrates solely on profiling the services traders.

Instrument design

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Sampling Unit
The enterprise is the main statistical unit for the STEC program. 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. Tables 12-10-0142 and 12-10-0146 are based on enterprise level information and reported at the national level.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 20210/01/01 to 2021-12-31

Data are collected directly from survey respondents and extracted from administrative files.

The STEC data are compiled from linking trade in commercial services microdata with the characteristics of the businesses involved. The linkage of trade values with business characteristics is made possible by using a common identifier found in Statistics Canada's Business Register (BR).The primary data sources to support STEC include both survey and administrative data. The most important survey used to collect data on annual international trade values is the International transactions in commercial services survey (BP21S). Respondents of this survey report imports and exports of commercial services by type of service and partner country.

STEC is benchmarked to annual published values for commercial services exports and imports, published in 36-10-0006: International transactions in services, commercial services by category, annual (x 1,000,000). Annual trade values from the STEC correspond to the annual aggregate values in Canada's international transactions in commercial services. As for administrative data, the T106 and T2 forms are sources used to collect and confront statistics on trade values. STEC also includes the Activities of Multinational Enterprises in Canada database as a source, a program describing the activities of foreign MNEs and Canadian MNEs, as well as enterprises in Canada that are not majority-owned multinational enterprises. Data from this program can be accessed at the levels of enterprise in Table 36-10-0604-01.

Error detection

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Quality evaluation

Not applicable

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that 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

Not applicable

Data accuracy

STEC core dimensions
For a given annual universe of services traders, the core dimensions for every entity in the universe can be compiled separately (with diverse coverage across dimension). Those dimensions split annual values by multinational enterprise status, industry, employment size class, as well as trading partner (United States and Rest of World). Digital intensity, which is expressed as the share of services exports that are being digitally delivered to global trading partners, is also a dimension for which data are available from reference year 2019.

Multinational enterprise status/Type of enterprise
The type of enterprise is broken down into four categories using a majority ownership concept under the foreign direct investment framework:
1. Canadian Multinational
2. Foreign Multinational
- US Multinational
- Multinational with majority ownership parent in country other than United States
3. Other enterprises
4. Unreported

The industry dimension is presented at the 2-digit level using the North American Industry Classification System 2017 (NAICS).
Employment size class
Employment size classes are broken down in three groups, one of which has three subgroups (see Table 12-10-0142 for this breakdown):
1. Unreported employees
2. Small and medium-sized enterprises (0-499 employees)
- 0-49 employees
- 50-249 employees
- 250-499 employees
3. Large enterprises (500 or more employees)

Digital delivered services trade and Digital intensity
Digitally delivered exports refers to cross-border services that Canadian exporters provide to other countries without requiring movement of individuals between countries being a prerequisite to provide that service. STEC estimates the share of services exports that are being digitally delivered to global trading partners while simultaneously offering profiles of the exporters employing digital means to deliver their products. This profiling occurs through the integration of digital intensity as a dimension within the STEC program at Statistics Canada.

Quality evaluation
The STEC program identifies exporting and importing enterprises that contribute to international trade value. Trade value that could not be linked resulted from a variety of factors, such as incomplete or invalid information in data sources or from the particulars of the commercial services not being attributable to a particular enterprise or type of enterprise. Financial intermediation services (FISIM) are a current example of value not attributed to particular enterprises; however, it is identified as part of the Finance Industry (NAICS 52).

Data accuracy
This statistical program is derived from a record linkage exercise.
Every effort is made to ensure that administrative data are conceptually correct for their use in STEC.

Relationship between STEC and TEC statistics
STEC statistics build upon earlier, similar initiatives in the area of trade in goods, called Trade by Enterprise Characteristics (TEC). This program is associated with Trade by Exporter and Importer Characteristics: Goods (TEC). However, unlike TEC, cross-border services data for STEC are currently only published at the Canada level while customs transactions can be broken down by province and territory.

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