The 20 Economic Sectors in Canada
List of the sectors and what they cover


The 20 economic sectors specified by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) are listed below.

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
This sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in growing crops, raising animals, harvesting timber, harvesting fish and other animals from their natural habitats and providing related support activities.
Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction
This sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in extracting naturally occurring minerals. These can be solids, such as coal and ores; liquids, such as crude petroleum; and gases, such as natural gas. The term "mining" is used in the broad sense to include quarrying, well operations, milling (for example, crushing, screening, washing, or flotation) and other preparation customarily done at the mine site, or as a part of mining activity. Establishments engaged in exploration for minerals, development of mineral properties and mining operations are included in this sector. Establishments performing similar activities, on a contract or fee basis, are also included.
Utilities
This sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating electric, gas and water utilities. These establishments generate, transmit, control and distribute electric power; distribute natural gas; treat and distribute water; operate sewer systems and sewage treatment facilities; and provide related services, generally through a permanent infrastructure of lines, pipes and treatment and processing facilities.
Construction
This sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in constructing, repairing and renovating buildings and engineering works, and in subdividing and developing land. These establishments may operate on their own account or under contract to other establishments or property owners. They may produce complete projects or just parts of projects. Establishments often subcontract some or all of the work involved in a project, or work together in joint ventures. Establishments may produce new construction, or undertake repairs and renovations to existing structures. A construction establishment may be the only establishment of an enterprise, or one of several establishments of an integrated real estate enterprise engaged in the land assembly, development, financing, building and sale of large projects. There are substantial differences in the types of equipment, work force skills, and other inputs required by establishments in this sector. To highlight these differences and variations in the underlying production functions, this sector is divided into three subsectors. Establishments are distinguished initially between those that undertake projects that require several different construction activities (known as trades) to be performed, and establishments that specialize in one trade.
Manufacturing
This sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in the physical or chemical transformation of materials or substances into new products. These products may be finished, in the sense that they are ready to be used or consumed, or semi-finished, in the sense of becoming a raw material for an establishment to use in further manufacturing. Related activities, such as the assembly of the component parts of manufactured goods; the blending of materials; and the finishing of manufactured products by dyeing, heat-treating, plating and similar operations are also treated as manufacturing activities. Manufacturing establishments are known by a variety of trade designations, such as plants, factories or mills. Manufacturing establishments may own the materials which they transform or they may transform materials owned by other establishments. Manufacturing may take place in factories or in workers' homes, using either machinery or hand tools.
Wholesale Trade
This sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in wholesaling merchandise and providing related logistics, marketing and support services. The wholesaling process is generally an intermediate step in the distribution of merchandise; many wholesalers are therefore organized to sell merchandise in large quantities to retailers, and business and institutional clients. However, some wholesalers, in particular those that supply non-consumer capital goods, sell merchandise in single units to final users. This sector recognizes two main types of wholesalers, that is, wholesale merchants and wholesale agents and brokers. Wholesale Merchants Wholesale merchants buy and sell merchandise on their own account, that is, they take title to the goods they sell. They generally operate from warehouse or office locations and they may ship from their own inventory or arrange for the shipment of goods directly from the supplier to the client. In addition to the sale of goods, they may provide, or arrange for the provision of, logistics, marketing and support services, such as packaging and labelling, inventory management, shipping, handling of warranty claims, in-store or co-op promotions, and product training. Dealers of machinery and equipment, such as dealers of farm machinery and heavy-duty trucks, also fall within this category. Wholesale merchants are known by a variety of trade designations depending on their relationship with suppliers or customers, or the distribution method they employ. Examples include wholesale merchants, wholesale distributors, drop shippers, rack-jobbers, import-export merchants, buying groups, dealer-owned cooperatives and banner wholesalers. The first eight subsectors of wholesale trade comprise wholesale merchants. The grouping of these establishments into industry groups and industries is based on the merchandise line or lines supplied by the wholesaler. Wholesale Agents and Brokers Wholesale agents and brokers buy and sell merchandise owned by others on a fee or commission basis. They do not take title to the goods they buy or sell, and they generally operate at or from an office location. Wholesale agents and brokers are known by a variety of trade designations including import-export agents, wholesale commission agents, wholesale brokers, and manufacturer's representatives and agents.
Retail Trade
The retail trade sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in retailing merchandise, generally without transformation, and rendering services incidental to the sale of merchandise. The retailing process is the final step in the distribution of merchandise; retailers are therefore organized to sell merchandise in small quantities to the general public. This sector comprises two main types of retailers, that is, store and non-store retailers. Their main characteristics are described below. Store Retailers Store retailers operate fixed point-of-sale locations, located and designed to attract a high volume of walk-in customers. In general, retail stores have extensive displays of merchandise and use mass-media advertising to attract customers. They typically sell merchandise to the general public for personal or household consumption, but some also serve business and institutional clients. These include establishments such as office supplies stores, computer and software stores, gasoline stations, building material dealers, plumbing supplies stores and electrical supplies stores. In addition to selling merchandise, some types of store retailers are also engaged in the provision of after-sales services, such as repair and installation. For example, new automobile dealers, electronic and appliance stores and musical instrument and supplies stores often provide repair services, while floor covering stores and window treatment stores often provide installation services. As a general rule, establishments engaged in retailing merchandise and providing after sales services are classified in this sector. Catalogue sales showrooms, gasoline service stations, and mobile home dealers are treated as store retailers. Non-Store Retailers Non-store retailers, like store retailers, are organized to serve the general public, but their retailing methods differ. The establishments of this subsector reach customers and market merchandise with methods such as the broadcasting of infomercials, the broadcasting and publishing of direct-response advertising, the publishing of traditional and electronic catalogues, door-to-door solicitation, in-home demonstration, temporary displaying of merchandise (stalls) and distribution by vending machines. The methods of transaction and delivery of merchandise vary by type of non-store retailers. For example, non-store retailers that reach their customers using information technologies can receive payment at the time of purchase or at the time of delivery, and the delivery of the merchandise may be done by the retailer or by a third party, such as the post office or a courier. In contrast, non-store retailers that reach their customers by door-to-door solicitation, in-home demonstration, temporary displaying of merchandise (stalls) and vending machines typically receive payment and deliver the merchandise to the customer at the time of the purchase. The non-store retailers subsector also includes establishments engaged in the home delivery of products. This includes home heating oil dealers and newspaper delivery companies.
Transportation and Warehousing
This sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in transporting passengers and goods, warehousing and storing goods, and providing services to these establishments. The modes of transportation are road (trucking, transit and ground passenger), rail, water, air and pipeline. These are further subdivided according to the way in which businesses in each mode organize their establishments. National post office and courier establishments, which also transport goods, are included in this sector. Warehousing and storage establishments are subdivided according to the type of service and facility that is operated. Many of the establishments in this sector are structured as networks, with activities, workers, and physical facilities distributed over an extensive geographic area.
Information and Cultural Industries
This sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in producing and distributing (except by wholesale and retail methods) information and cultural products. Establishments providing the means to transmit or distribute these products or providing access to equipment and expertise for processing data are also included. The unique characteristics of information and cultural products, and of the processes involved in their production and distribution, distinguish this sector from the goods-producing and services-producing sectors. The value of these products lies in their information, educational, cultural or entertainment content, not in the format in which they are distributed. Most of these products are protected from unlawful reproduction by copyright laws. Only those possessing the rights to these works are authorized to reproduce, alter, improve and distribute them. Acquiring and using these rights often involves significant costs. The intangible nature of the content of information and cultural products allows for their distribution in various forms. For example, a movie can be shown at a movie theatre, on a television broadcast, through video on demand, or rented at a local video store; a sound recording can be aired on radio, embedded in multi-media products or sold at a record store; software can be bought at retail outlets or downloaded from an electronic bulletin board; a newspaper can be purchased at a newsstand or received on-line. In addition, improvements in information technology are revolutionizing the distribution of these products. The inclusion in this sector of telecommunications carriers and Internet access providers reflects the increasingly important role these establishments play in making these products accessible to the public. The main components of this sector are the publishing industries (except exclusively on Internet), including software publishing, the motion picture and sound recording industries, the broadcasting industries (except exclusively on Internet), the telecommunications and related services industries (i.e., telephony, including VoIP; cable and satellite television distribution services; Internet access; telecommunications reselling services), data processing industries, and the other information services industries, including Internet publishing and broadcasting and web search portals. There are establishments engaged in culture-related activities that are classified in other sectors of NAICS.
Finance and Insurance
This sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in financial transactions (that is, transactions involving the creation, liquidation, or change in ownership of financial assets) or in facilitating financial transactions. Included are: establishments that are primarily engaged in financial intermediation. They raise funds by taking deposits and/or issuing securities, and, in the process, incur liabilities, which they use to acquire financial assets by making loans and/or purchasing securities. Putting themselves at risk, they channel funds from lenders to borrowers and transform or repackage the funds with respect to maturity, scale and risk. Establishments that are primarily engaged in the pooling of risk by underwriting annuities and insurance. They collect fees (insurance premiums or annuity considerations), build up reserves, invest those reserves and make contractual payments. Fees are based on the expected incidence of the insured risk and the expected return on investment. Establishments that are primarily engaged in providing specialized services that facilitate or support financial intermediation, insurance and employee benefit programs. In addition, establishments charged with monetary control - the monetary authorities - are included in this sector.
Real Estate and Rental and Leasing
This sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in renting, leasing or otherwise allowing the use of tangible or intangible assets. Establishments primarily engaged in managing real estate for others; selling, renting and/or buying of real estate for others; and appraising real estate, are also included.
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
This sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in activities in which human capital is the major input. These establishments make available the knowledge and skills of their employees, often on an assignment basis. The individual industries of this sector are defined on the basis of the particular expertise and training of the service provider. The main components of this sector are legal services industries, accounting and related services industries, architectural, engineering and related services industries, surveying and mapping services industries, design services industries, management, scientific and technical consulting services industries, scientific research and development services industries, and advertising services industries. The distinguishing feature of this sector is the fact that most of the industries grouped in it have production processes that are almost wholly dependent on worker skills. In most of these industries, equipment and materials are not of major importance. Thus, the establishments classified in this sector sell expertise. Much of the expertise requires a university or college education, though not in every case.
Management of Companies and Enterprises
This sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in managing companies and enterprises and/or holding the securities or financial assets of companies and enterprises, for the purpose of owning a controlling interest in them and/or influencing their management decisions. They may undertake the function of management, or they may entrust the function of financial management to portfolio managers.
Administrative and Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services
This sector comprises two different types of establishments: those primarily engaged in activities that support the day-to-day operations of other organizations; and those primarily engaged in waste management activities. The first type of establishment is engaged in activities such as administration, hiring and placing personnel, preparing documents, taking orders from clients, collecting payments for claims, arranging travel, providing security and surveillance, cleaning buildings, and packaging and labelling products. These activities are often undertaken, in-house, by establishments found in many sectors of the economy. The establishments classified to this sector specialize in one or more of these activities and can therefore provide services to clients in a variety of industries and, in some cases, to households. Waste management establishments are engaged in the collection, treatment and disposal of waste material, the operation of material recovery facilities, the remediation of polluted sites and the cleaning of septic tanks.
Educational Services
This sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing instruction and training in a wide variety of subjects. This instruction and training is provided by specialized establishments, such as schools, colleges, universities and training centres. These establishments may be privately owned and operated, either for profit or not, or they may be publicly owned and operated. They may also offer food and accommodation services to their students. Educational services are usually delivered by teachers who explain, tell, demonstrate, supervise and direct self-learning. Instruction is imparted in diverse settings, such as educational institutions, the workplace or the home (through correspondence, television or other means). The lessons can be adapted to the particular needs of the students, for example sign language can replace verbal language for teaching students with hearing impairments. All industries in the sector share this commonality of process, namely, labour inputs of teachers with the requisite subject matter expertise and teaching ability.
Health Care and Social Assistance
This sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing health care by diagnosis and treatment, providing residential care for medical and social reasons, and providing social assistance, such as counselling, welfare, child protection, community housing and food services, vocational rehabilitation and child care, to those requiring such assistance.
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation
This sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating facilities or providing services to meet the cultural, entertainment and recreational interests of their patrons. These establishments produce, promote or participate in live performances, events or exhibits intended for public viewing; provide the artistic, creative and technical skills necessary for the production of artistic products and live performances; preserve and exhibit objects and sites of historical, cultural or educational interest; and operate facilities or provide services that enable patrons to participate in sports or recreational activities or pursue amusement, hobbies and leisure-time interests. There are establishments engaged in activities related to arts and recreation that are classified in other sectors of NAICS. The most important are listed below.
Accommodation and Food Services
This sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing short-term lodging and complementary services to travellers, vacationers and others, in facilities such as hotels, motor hotels, resorts, motels, casino hotels, bed and breakfast accommodation, housekeeping cottages and cabins, recreational vehicle parks and campgrounds, hunting and fishing camps, and various types of recreational and adventure camps. This sector also comprises establishments primarily engaged in preparing meals, snacks and beverages, to customer order, for immediate consumption on and off the premises.
Other Services - except Public Administration
This sector comprises establishments, not classified to any other sector, primarily engaged in repairing, or performing general or routine maintenance, on motor vehicles, machinery, equipment and other products to ensure that they work efficiently; providing personal care services, funeral services, laundry services and other services to individuals, such as pet care services and photo finishing services; organizing and promoting religious activities; supporting various causes through grant-making, advocating (promoting) various social and political causes, and promoting and defending the interests of their members. Private households are also included.
Public Administration
This sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in activities of a governmental nature, that is, the enactment and judicial interpretation of laws and their pursuant regulations, and the administration of programs based on them. Legislative activities, taxation, national defence, public order and safety, immigration services, foreign affairs and international assistance, and the administration of government programs are activities that are purely governmental in nature. Ownership is not a criterion for classification. Government owned establishments engaged in activities that are not governmental in nature are classified to the same industry as privately owned establishments engaged in similar activities. Government establishments may engage in a combination of governmental and non-governmental activities. When separate records are not available to separate the activities that are not governmental in nature from those that are, the establishment is classified to this sector.

Quarterly Financial Statistics for Enterprises (pdf)
Third Quarter 2014
The publication presents balance sheet, income statement, statement of changes in financial position and ratio data for 22 financial and non-financial sectors.

Information on imports and exports can be found from the Canadian International Merchandise Trade (CIMT) Database at the link below:
Canadian International Merchandise Trade Database


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