Canada's International Investment Position (IIP)

Detailed information for third quarter 2023





Record number:


This statistical program measures at a point in time the value and composition of Canada's financial assets and liabilities with non-residents.

Data release - November 29, 2023


Canada's international investment position is the statistical statement that presents at a point in time the value and composition of Canadian financial assets with non-residents and Canadian financial liabilities to non-residents.

Canadian international financial assets are owned by Canadian residents whereas Canadian international financial liabilities are owned by non-residents. They both result from past transactions in financial instruments between Canadian residents and non-residents and other revaluations in these financial instruments. International financial assets are claims of Canadians on non-residents whereas international financial liabilities represent debt of Canadians vis-à-vis non-residents.

The difference between total international financial assets and total international financial liabilities is referred to as the net international investment position. Put another way, Canada's net investment position is the difference between what Canada owns (its external assets) and what Canada owes (its external liabilities) to non-residents.

There are four functional categories of financial assets and liabilities in the international investment position: direct investment, portfolio investment, reserves assets and other investment. These four functional categories largely reflect the nature of the investment in another country.

Direct investment is a functional category where the investor residing in one country has a significant influence on the management of an enterprise residing in another country; this means the direct investment also encompasses investment where there is a substantial influence to the point of having a controlling interest.

In the portfolio investment functional category, the investor in financial instruments does not have a significant influence on the non-resident issuer of the instruments. The reserve assets category includes external assets that are readily available to and controlled by the monetary authority for various purposes, including for intervention in exchange rate markets. In the functional category called other investment, there is also no influence from the investor's viewpoint, but unlike portfolio investment, there is generally no market to trade the instruments used to carry out the investment.

Government relies on these statistics to help assess Canada's financial condition, and to help assess economic integration between Canada and other nations. Other users of these statistics include the academic community and the credit rating agencies. Finally, they are needed to meet Canada's statistical obligations to supranational organizations, such as the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Statistical activity

The Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts provides a conceptually integrated statistical framework for studying the state and behaviour of the Canadian economy. The accounts are centered on the measurement of activities associated with the production of goods and services, the sales of goods and services in final markets, the supporting financial transactions and the resulting wealth positions.

Reference period: Calendar year


  • Balance of international payments
  • Economic accounts
  • Government financial statistics

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The universe for the international investment position includes all investors that reside in Canada and hold assets with non-residents, as well as all investors that reside in Canada and have liabilities to non-residents. The investors can be businesses, governments, non-profit institutions, or households.

Most of the data used to derive the international investment position originate from surveys of Canadian companies that are asked to consolidate all of their Canadian operations and accordingly are referred to as Canadian enterprises. The survey frame is believed to contain up-to-date coverage of all Canadian enterprises having a significant amount of international assets or liabilities. This frame is constantly updated through a number of sources.

For the direct investment functional category, data are collected from companies engaged in a direct investment relationship. Survey data is supplemented with administrative data to ensure full coverage.

For the portfolio investment functional category, data are collected from institutional investors and financial intermediaries.

For the other investment functional category, the data are gathered mostly from Canadian banks.

Instrument design

There are several questionnaires that collect data that are used directly for compiling Canada's international investment position. These are:

BP-CIA - Canadian Investment Abroad (annual)
BP-FIC - Foreign Investment in Canada(annual)
BP-STRUC - Structure of Canadian Companies in the Reporting Enterprise
BP-22 - Investment in Canada by non-Canadian corporations (annual)
BP-27 - Transactions between Canadian incorporated insurance companies and their foreign affiliates, agencies and bank accounts and other companies or persons outside Canada (annual)
BP-28 - Transactions between Canadian branches of foreign insurance companies in Canada and head or other offices, companies or persons outside Canada (annual)
BP-QT - Quarterly Investment between Canada and Other Countries, (quarterly)
BP54 - Canadian portfolio investment (annual)
BP55 - Particulars of issues of funded debt and foreign bank borrowings (annual)
BP56 - Geographic distribution of selected long-term debt booked in Canada at Canadian banks and consolidated Canadian subsidiaries (annual)

The questionnaires used for the International Investment Position were originally designed at various times from the 1950's. They have been periodically redesigned up to recently in the case of the financial surveys. Redesigned questionnaires (BP-CIA, BP-FIC, BP-QT) have gone through extensive testing through Questionnaire Design and Research Centre. Field testing with respondents was also conducted. These questionnaires were last redesigned in 2011.


Questionnaires dealing with direct investment or other investment are sent to Canadian enterprises known to have or believed to have significant international assets or liabilities, whereas the questionnaire dealing with portfolio investment is sent to institutional investors and financial intermediaries.

There are roughly 2,500 firms that meet the sampling criteria for questionnaires dealing with direct investment or other investment, while there are approximately 500 firms that receive the portfolio investment questionnaires. These questionnaires are believed to cover close to 100% of the target population.

The foreign direct investment questionnaires use a stratified design with simple random sample selection in each stratum. The stratification strategy for the BP-CIA, BP-FIC, BP-22, BP-27 and BP-28 questionnaires that primarily reflect FDI data. The first stratification is the must-take portion known as the units selected with certainty. For the non must-take portion, the stratification is done by industrial groups and geographical regions, and the population was further stratified by size (take all, take-some 1 and take-some 2).

For the non must-take portion, the sample is allocated to the two take-some groups, by industrial group and geographical region. Also, a minimum number of four enterprises for each take-some stratum is set. The sample selection in the take-some strata is random. The sample size fluctuates from cycle to cycle, approximately 1100 units for the BP-CIA and 1600 for the BP-FIC and BP-STRUC questionnaires.

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.

Generally, data are collected from electronic questionnaires. Response is mandatory for the surveyed entities. Respondents are instructed to complete their electronic questionnaires within four weeks of receiving the email invitation for completing the electronic questionnaire.

If no response is received, follow-up is done using email reminders or telephone calls.

Electronic survey data is automatically captured into systems.

Surveys and communications are offered in both official languages to respondents.

A number of administrative data sources are also used such as -
- Bank of Canada (geographical distribution of assets and liabilities of Canadian banks; official international reserves) and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (supplementary administrative sources provided by financial institutions)
- Department of Finance Canada and Export Development Canada (loans to foreign governments and corporations)
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (number of landed immigrants)
- Treasury Board (allowances)
- Bank for International Settlements (non-bank deposits abroad; individually supplied by the U.S. Department of Treasury and Bank of England)
- Canada Revenue Agency (T9, T2, T106, T1134).

Other International Accounts statistical programs are used to compile Canada's International Investment Position, such as
- Canada's Balance of International Payments Quarterly Data (record no. 1534) provides data regarding recent direct investment and other investment transactions affecting both the asset and liability side of the international investment position.
- Canada's International Transactions in Securities Monthly Survey (record no. 1535) provides data regarding recent portfolio investment transactions affecting both the asset and liability side of the international investment position.

Other sources - A variety of other sources are used such as financial press, business publications, company reports, private commercial databases, etc.

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

Error detection

The data received from questionnaire respondents or administrative sources are submitted to automated and manual validation and edits during data collection, data capture, and data processing to ensure consistency and coherence.

Many types of edits are performed at the micro level:
- edits built-in to the electronic surveys to flag extreme values, missing values, as well as consistency edits between questionnaires sections;

- edits in the processing system to flag period over period consistency issues, and validation of non-mandatory fields.

When necessary, there is follow up with the respondent to verify or correct the data.

Macro edits are also performed:
- Further time-series analysis at the macro leads to analysis at the micro level, which may lead to micro edits and follow-up.
- Administrative and external data sources are also used at the macro level for data confrontation to provide additional error detection.


Administrative and/or historical data are used for non-response. The annual values are weighted quarterly based on historical quarterly patterns. Data from companies' annual reports are sometimes used to validate or help impute for non-response.


For direct investment, the survey frame is updated annually using the most recent survey and administrative data. This is done at the enterprise level, which is linked to the central Business Register.

Fiscal periods that differ from calendar end periods are adjusted to fit the year end calendar.

Weighting is done primarily for sampling, on a region and industry basis.

Compiled estimates for annual benchmark data on international investment positions are mostly collected from annual surveys and administrative data sources.

Compiling quarterly estimates involve changes in the international investment positions that have occurred subsequent to the most recent annual data collection. Quarterly data about transactions are taken from Canada's Balance of International Payments Quarterly Data (record no. 1534). Adjustments are then made to account for currency exchange rate and market prices fluctuations, and other volume changes such as write-offs, reclassifications, or residency changes.

Quality evaluation

Before the Canada's International Investment Position data are published, several steps are taken to ensure the quality of the estimates.

The change in position from the previous period is compared to the data on investment transactions during the period as shown in Canada's Balance of International Payments Quarterly Data (record no. 1534).

The evolution of the net international investment position (assets less liabilities) is compared with the current account surplus or deficit as shown in Canada's Balance of International Payments Quarterly Data (record no. 1534).

The asset and liability data from the National Balance Sheet Accounts (record no. 1806) are also reviewed as a cross check for the Canada's International Investment Position data.

Counterpart data submitted to supranational organizations by national statistical agencies are also confronted.

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

Statistical revisions are carried out in order to incorporate the most recent information from quarterly and annual surveys.

Data are released approximately 75 days after the reference period. Estimates for each quarter are revised when those for subsequent quarters of the same year are published. At the time of the third quarter of each year, revisions are generally made back three reference years. Canada's International Investment Position is not normally revised again except when comprehensive revisions are carried out.

There is no seasonal adjustment of the international investment position.

Data accuracy

Since survey data are complemented with administrative data, overall coverage is very high. Canada's International Investment Position estimates are generally deemed to be of high quality. Revisions tend to be small in most reference periods over time, including periods of annual benchmarking.


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