D.  Country experience: Canada

13.28.        Three different sources are used in Canada to generate trade in services statistics, except for travel and transport).  First, the annual survey on trade in services (international transactions in commercial services (BP21S)) is sent to Canadian enterprises of varying size and economic sector.[1]  The second data source is the set of approximately 15 annual industry surveys covering a large sample of establishments in service industries. The third source is administrative data on non-arm’s-length annual transactions between residents and non-residents. 

13.29.        Statistics Canada integrates those three sources and is thereby able to improve coverage, make better use of limited resources and reduce the burden on respondents. The key to integrating the sources is that each entity that they cover is linked to the Canadian business register (CBR).  The CBR contains information on ownership, industrial activity, organizational structure and the business identification number[2] of businesses engaged in the production of goods and services in Canada. 

13.30.        The quality of the CBR directly influences the compiler’s ability to integrate the different sources.  A team at Statistics Canada works constantly to ensure that the CBR reflects the structure of the Canadian economy as well as possible. 

13.31.        The three sources cited above are not considered equal in terms of quality and the details provided. Data in the industry surveys are indirectly measured in a process by which respondents indicate the percentage of their total revenues related to their total trade in services.  No breakdown is available for transactions conducted between related partners and transactions between unrelated entities. Furthermore, the geographical breakdown is available only for the total trade in goods and services. The administrative records cited present only trade with affiliated parties and aggregated groupings of services.  

13.32.        Both the industry surveys and the administrative data have limited details in term of EBOPS categories. However, the annual BP21S is very detailed, with 32 categories of services collected, broken down by partner country and affiliation. 

13.33.        For the majority of the responding entities, data are available from only one of the three sources cited, in which case, reported values are kept by default.  When data on a particular entity are available from more than one source, the data from the BP21S are used if those values are larger, equal to or even slightly lower than the other sources.  Other situations are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Other analysis is also done to ensure the validity of the reported transactions: for example, compilers compare current reported transactions with data from the previous year.


Back to Chapter 13 Integration of data from different sources

[1] To supplement the International Transactions in Commercial Services (BP-21S), more than 200 entities from the insurance sector are also surveyed, with two surveys of Canadian incorporated insurance companies and Canadian branches of foreign insurance companies.  Both surveys collect financial transactions as well as service transactions.

[2] This identification number is assigned at the time of registration with the Canada Revenue Agency. For more information about the Statistics Canada Business Register, see http://www23.statcan.gc.ca/imdb-bmdi/document/1105_D2_T1_V3-eng.pdf.