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National Classifications

North American Industry Classification System / Système de Classification des Industries de l’Amérique du Nord

Country / Area: Canada

Classification category: Activity classifications

General information
1 (a)Name of the current national classification (full name in official national languages and in English with acronyms in brackets, should be given)North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Canada 2012 / Système de Classification des Industries de l’Amérique du Nord (SCIAN) Canada 2012
1 (b)In which language(s) is the classification available?English, French
1 (c)Can the classification (or information about it) be accessed on the Internet? If yes, please provide the URL.English: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/concepts/industry-industrie-eng.htm
French: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/concepts/industry-industrie-fra.htm
Classification structure
2 (a)Please describe the structure of the classification: How many levels does the classification have? (Please provide labels, such as “Division”, “Class”) How many categories exist at each level?The structure has 5 levels, the levels, along with the number of categories in each, are as follows:

2-digit – sector – 20 categories
3-digit – sub-sector – 102 categories
4-digit – industry groups – 323 categories
5-digit – industries – 711 categories
6-digit – Canadian industries – 922 categories

2 (b)Please provide examples of the coding system used at each level.22 Utilities
221 Utilities
2211 Electric power generation, transmission and distribution
22111 Electric power generation
221111 Hydro-electric power generation
Relationship to international standards
3 (a)Is this classification based on (or linked to) an international standard classification? If yes, please describe.While NAICS Canada is not based on ISIC Rev. 4, efforts have been made in the revision of NAICS and ISIC to make the two systems comparable from the NAICS sector to the ISIC sections. The two systems are generally comparable at these levels, with a few exceptions (i.e., the classification of repair and maintenance).

A full concordance is available linking NAICS Canada 2012 to ISIC Rev. 4.



NAICS has been developed by the statistical agencies of Canada, Mexico and the United States, and has been designed to provide common definitions of the industrial structure of the three countries and a common statistical framework to facilitate the analysis of the three economies.

3 (b)Is the classification structure identical to the international standard or, if not, how does it differ? (e.g. have additional levels been added to the international standard or have changes been made within the level of the international structure, such as aggregations or additional breakdowns)The structures are conceptually the same (i.e. a progressive expansion of categories from the highest level to the lowest level). There are four levels in the ISIC structure (i.e. tabulation categories, divisions, groups, classes). There are five levels in the NAICS structure (i.e. sectors, sub-sectors, industry groups, industries and national industries).

The classification structures of NAICS and ISIC are similar at the NAICS sector (i.e., 2-digit) level and the ISIC section (i.e., alphabetic code) level. For example, the first NAICS 2012 sector is 11 Agriculture, forestry and fishing, while the first ISIC Rev. 4 sector is A. Agriculture, forestry and fishing.

ISIC is built on a production-oriented framework, taking into account the inputs, the process and technology of production, the characteristics of the outputs and the use to which the outputs are applied. In general, the fourth revision of ISIC has tried to apply a more consistent approach, namely the use of the production process to define categories at the most detailed level. In contrast, NAICS is based primarily on the production function.

3 (c)Please describe deviations from the international standard (in terms of structure, methodology or application rules). Please use examples, if a general statement is not possible.Below the level described in 3(b), NAICS 2012 and ISIC Rev. 4 are not necessarily comparable because the organization of industries is not necessarily the same. NAICS 2012 is generally significantly more detailed at the lowest level than is ISIC Rev. 4.

There are no essential conceptual differences with ISIC. However, NAICS is based on a production-oriented, supply-based conceptual framework (i.e., the process used in production and not the output of production) and this leads to some comparability problems with ISIC. In addition, there was greater emphasis in NAICS placed on new and emerging industries and service-based industries in general.

3 (d)At what level of the international standard can data be reported for international comparison? (Please provide examples of programmes / indicators if reporting takes place at different levels of the classification.)Through use of the concordances, NAICS-based data can be reported at every level of ISIC. However, as mentioned above, the two systems are most comparable only at the highest level, so only 2-digit NAICS data can be translated easily to section level ISIC data.
3 (e)If no links to international classifications exist or no international standard is used, please state if there are plans to use international norms in the future.Not applicable.
Classification uses
4 (a)Please state for which statistical purposes (surveys etc.) this classification is used and if there are users outside of the Statistical Office. Please indicate at which level the classification is used for data collection and for data publishing.NAICS is used throughout Statistics Canada for a variety of statistics and surveys requiring an industrial activity classification (e.g., Census of Population, National Household Survey, employment surveys, enterprise and establishment surveys, household surveys and the System of National Accounts). NAICS is used for classifying production units in the Agency’s Business Register; survey sampling; and data processing, tabulation, analysis and dissemination.

It is also used by numerous other parties within and outside of government for interpreting and analysing data that are organized according to NAICS. These include academics and other researchers, businesses, and other government department at the federal, provincial and municipal level.

NAICS is used for data collection and publishing at the 2-, 3-, 4-, 5- and 6-digit levels, depending on the subject matter. Survey data are typically collected at the 5- or 6-digit level, and published at the 3- or 4-digit level. However, custom tabulation at a more detailed level is available. Other subject-matter specific surveys may publish at the detailed level.

4 (b)Please give the names of institutions that use the classification for non-statistical purposes (as opposed to statistical purposes in question 4(a)). Also indicate the kind of use (e.g. tax offices, social security, customs, enterprise register, employment services, work permits etc.)NAICS is currently being used in a number of non-statistical applications. Some examples are a) Canada Revenue Agency tfiles, b) employment and immigration information and reports, and c) the centralized register of businesses at Statistics Canada.
4 (c)Please indicate if alternative classifications are used by other institutions of the economy. Are these classifications available and useful for the Statistical Office?Alternative classifications are not used significantly in Canada.
Implementation / revision status
5 (a)Please state the date of the official adoption of the classification. If not yet adopted, please indicate the current state (e.g. in development, sent for approval, in printing, ready to be distributed etc.)NAICS Canada 2012 was released in January 2012, but it will be implemented in survey programs at Statistics Canada in reference year 2013.
5 (b)Please state the date of use of the classification for individual statistical programmes.As noted above, implementation of NAICS 2012 has been delayed until reference year 2013. In that context, monthly business surveys will typically start using NAICS 2012 to their January 2013 data. Annual surveys for which the reference period covers the whole year would start collection during the month of January 2014, and it typically takes 15 to 18 months to process and analyse the data. The units on the business register will be re-coded in the Fall of 2012.

The System of National Accounts will publish the 2012 reference year IO tables in 2015 using NAICS 2012. To do so, they update their processing and analytical systems to NAICS 2012 in 2014.

Household surveys will implement NAICS 2012 anytime between 2013 and 2016.

5 (c)Are there existing plans for revision or update of the current classification?NAICS 2012 will be revised to create NAICS 2017.
5 (d)Name of former (previous) national classification (full name in both national tongue and in English with acronyms in brackets, should be given)The classification immediately preceding NAICS Canada 2012 was NAICS Canada 2007.
5 (e)Please describe the link of the former classification to international classificationsThere is a concordance between NAICS Canada 2007 and ISIC Rev. 4, available at the following link: http://stds.statcan.gc.ca/concordances/naics-scian-2007-eng.asp
5 (f)Please describe the structure of the former classification and indicate the number of items at each level of the classification. (similar to question 2(a))NAICS Canada 2007 has 20 sectors, 102 sub-sectors, 324 industry groups, 718 industries and 928 national industries.
5 (g)Do conversion tables exist between the former and current classification?Yes, a concordance exists between NAICS Canada 2007 and NAICS Canada 2012. It is available at:


5 (h)When was the former classification implemented?NAICS Canada 2007 was released in April 2007, and was implemented in various programs predominantly in 2007 and 2008 in the case of business surveys.

For the System of national accounts, the standard timing for NAICS implementation is as follows: procedures, processing and analytical systems are updated two years after NAICS release and the data are published a year later that is, three years after NAICS release.

For household surveys including the Census of population, NAICS 2007 was implemented anywhere between 2007 and 2011.

5 (i)Are statistical data still collected or published according to the former classification? Please indicate if this statistical data is collected or published by the Statistical Office or elsewhere.As of September 2012, no programs at Statistics Canada have converted to NAICS Canada 2012, and are still using NAICS Canada 2007.
Supporting documents
6 (a)Have national explanatory notes and/or guidelines been elaborated?Yes. Class descriptions, illustrative examples and exclusions have been developed. Implementation guidelines are currently being developed mainly for coders but also for use by the various statistical programs.
6 (b)Do correspondence tables exist between the national and the international classifications (if applicable)?Yes, a concordance exists between NAICS Canada 2012 and ISIC Rev. 4.
6 (c)Are correspondence tables between alternative and current classification available (if applicable)?Not applicable.
6 (d)Does a national coding index exist?Yes, NAICS Canada 2012 has an industry reference file of approximately 20,000 index items.
6 (e)Is the classification available in electronic form? If yes, in which formats is it available?(e.g. PDF, TXT, Excel, XML)Yes, it is available in electronic form, including HTML, PDF and Excel.
6 (f)Are the correspondence tables or indexes available in electronic form?Yes.
Contact information
7 (a)Name of institution / office responsible for the development and maintenance of the classificationStandards Division, Statistics Canada
7 (b)Contact address, phone number, e-mail or website for public information and inquirystandards-normes@statcan.gc.ca
Other comments
9 (a)Please provide any other information on this classification that you consider relevant 

Source: UN questionnaire, 9/11/2012