National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by Income and by Expenditure Accounts

Detailed information for first quarter 2024





Record number:


The National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by Income and by Expenditure Accounts give a comprehensive statistical picture of Canadian economic developments. The national gross domestic product by income and by expenditure is at the centre of macroeconomic analysis and policy-making in Canada.

Data release - May 31, 2024


The National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by Income and by Expenditure Accounts record the production of goods and services in the economy, the incomes arising from this production, expenditures on production and the resulting saving (dissaving) and investment. The recording of the information in a series of interrelated accounts means that analysts can formulate consistent interpretations of productive activity, income, expenditure, saving, investment, financing and wealth. The information is presented in the form of economic accounts that parallel, to some extent, the statements used in business accounting. The economic series' estimates that appear in a number of accounts are identical and/or consistent, because common definitions, classifications and valuations are used across the entire set of accounts.

GDP lies at the centre of the National Economic Accounts. GDP is the unduplicated value of goods and services produced during a period that is available for final domestic consumption, investment or export. The National Economic Accounts record the value of GDP from two perspectives, as income arising from production and as final expenditure on goods and services produced. In real terms (that is, adjusted for price change), GDP is representative of the volume of economic activity in a given period. The national production account provides a measure of gross value added by industry—total output (or sales) less intermediate consumption.

The income and expenditure accounts record the distribution and use of income by the six main institutional sectors: households, non-profit institutions serving households, governments, non-financial corporations, financial corporations and non-residents. These accounts articulate revenues to the sector (including current transfers from other sectors, such as employment insurance received) and current expenditures of the sector (including transfers to other sectors, such as income taxes paid to government). The difference between a sector's current income and expenditure represents the sector's net saving.

The accumulation of capital is also central to the sector accounts. The capital (or investment) account's focus is on economic agents' decisions regarding investment in non-financial assets. The account records whether a sector's current period savings are sufficient to meet its demand for funds (for investment). The balance of the capital account represents each sector's net lending (saving greater than investment) or borrowing (saving less than investment).

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.

Collection period: In general, the National Gross Domestic Product by Income and by Expenditure Accounts are compiled using a variety of data sources and published 60 days following the reference period.


  • Economic accounts
  • Gross domestic product
  • Income and expenditure accounts

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The National Gross Domestic Product by Income and by Expenditure Accounts respect the production boundary defined by the 2008 System of National Accounts. This includes the economic activities of all establishments, enterprises, households, non-profit institutions serving households, governments, financial corporations and non-financial corporations operating within the economic territory of Canada. It also includes all interactions (such as imports, exports, distribution and receipt of incomes) with non-residents.

Instrument design

This methodology does not apply.


This methodology does not apply.

Data sources

Data are extracted from administrative files and derived from other Statistics Canada surveys and/or other sources.

A broad range of survey and administrative data sources are used to compile the National Gross Domestic Product by Income and by Expenditure Accounts. Some of the more notable sources include: the Quarterly Survey of Financial Statements, the monthly Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours, the Quarterly Retail Commodity Survey, annual business surveys, banking information, Government Finance Statistics, the balance of payments statistics, and the T4 remuneration file from the Canada Revenue Agency. All of these data sources are adjusted to conform to the 2008 System of National Accounts concepts and definitions and integrated into the 2008 System of National Accounts macroeconomic accounting framework.

Combining data from multiple sources is part of the creation of integrated statistics such as national accounts.

Error detection

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


This methodology does not apply.


The National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by Income and by Expenditure Accounts are estimated by taking the most complete and high quality data sources available to establish annual benchmark estimates. This generally entails taking annual business surveys, administrative data files from the Canada Revenue Agency or annual household survey files and integrating them into the 2008 System of National Accounts framework to establish annual estimates. The annual benchmarks for GDP by the income approach and by the expenditure approach are generated through the construction of annual supply and use tables which balance the supply of each product in the economy against its use. These tables present the most complete and accurate depiction of Canadian economic activity.

The sub-annual estimates are generated by applying the movements of sub-annual surveys such as the Quarterly Survey of Financial Statements, the Monthly Survey of Manufacturing and the monthly Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours to the benchmark estimates.

The majority of the components of the sub-annual GDP by Income and by Expenditure Accounts are presented on a seasonally adjusted and unadjusted basis. Seasonal adjustment is performed using the X-12-ARIMA method of seasonal adjustment. In addition, certain series (mainly expenditure series) are deflated (presented in real terms) to estimate the volume of economic activity occurring within an accounting period. GDP by the expenditure approach is presented in both nominal and real terms.

Quality evaluation

Given that the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by Income and by Expenditure Accounts are compiled from a variety of diverse data sources, it is not possible to produce typical survey-based quality indicators, such as coefficients of variation or survey response rates. Instead, data are analyzed for time series consistency, links to current economic events, and coherence in source data.

Since the GDP by Income and by Expenditure Accounts measure GDP from two perspectives (incomes and expenditures), the compilation process itself is an important quality control on the data. Differences between GDP measured by income and GDP measured by expenditure highlight inconsistencies in the source data leading to coherence adjustments that improve the overall quality of the estimates. In addition, the national income and expenditure accounts embed a number of important accounting identities, such as the fact that economy wide transfers received must equal economy-wide transfers paid. Adherence to these identities and the investigation and resolution of imbalances when they arise is another quality assurance feature of the system.

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.

In order to prevent any data disclosure, confidentiality analysis is done using the Statistics Canada Generalized Disclosure Control System (G-Confid). G-Confid is used for primary suppression (direct disclosure) as well as for secondary suppression (residual disclosure). Direct disclosure occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of or dominated by few enterprises while residual disclosure occurs when confidential information can be derived indirectly by piecing together information from different sources or data series.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Revisions - Statistical revisions are carried out to incorporate the most recent information from quarterly and annual surveys, taxation statistics, public accounts, censuses, as well as from the annual benchmarking process of the supply and use tables.

Data are released within 60-75 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 undertaken back three years. They are not normally revised again except when periodic comprehensive revisions are carried out to incorporate the latest international concepts, classifications and estimation methods.

Seasonal adjustment - Seasonal adjustment is generally made at the lowest level of aggregation, and seasonally-adjusted aggregates are obtained by summation. Statistics Canada's X-12-ARIMA is used to seasonally adjust series.


The international System of National Accounts (SNA) is periodically updated. Over the last 60 years there have been three major revisions to the international SNA standard, one in 1968, one in 1993 and one in 2008. Each time the international system is updated Canada is required to update its estimates of the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by Income and by Expenditure Accounts. As a result, there are a number of vintages of the GDP and Income and Expenditure Account databases available to the public, each relates to a specific time period with each one compiled according to the international SNA standard that was in place when the accounts were first compiled. With each version of the international SNA, Statistics Canada published a corresponding methodological guide to the GDP by Income and by Expenditure Accounts. The following are links to the various GDP by Income and by Expenditure Accounts methodological guides released by Statistics Canada. These guides should be used to help interpret the different GDP by Income and by Expenditure Accounts databases available to the public.

Data accuracy

The accounts are designed as a double-entry system in which the income- and expenditure-based GDP totals should, in principle, be identical. In fact, a difference virtually always arises between them due to errors in the source data, imperfect estimation techniques, differing seasonal adjustment methods and discrepancies in the time at which the incomes and expenditures are recorded.

The size of the discrepancy, which stems from the estimation procedure, is one gauge of the system's overall reliability. However, it is only a partial gauge.

No direct measures of the margin of error in the estimates can be calculated. The quality of the estimates can be inferred from analysis of revisions and from a subjective assessment of the data sources and methodology used in the preparation of the estimates.


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