Small Business, Micro-enterprise, Self-employed
Industry Canada defines “small business” as goods-producing firms that have fewer than 100 employees and service-producing firms that have fewer than 50 employees. The smallest of the small business are called micro-enterprises, defined as having fewer than 5 employees.
The term “SME” small and medium sized businesses refers to businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Ninety-eight percent (98%) of businesses in Canada have fewer than 100 employees. Self-employed workers are people who earn income directly from their own business, trade or profession rather than earn a specified salary or wage from an employer.
More “small business” facts:
- small businesses that have fewer than 50 employees contribute about 29% to Canada’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product)
- as of 2009 small businesses employed approximately 5 million individuals in Canada, or 48% of the total labour force in the private sector
- approximately 16% of all employed workers in the Canadian economy were self-employed*
- Roughly 25% of small businesses operate in Canadian goods-producing industries; the remaining 75% operate in service industries
- On average in 2009, of the 2.7 million self-employed workers, 68% had no paid help, 31% worked with paid help and 1% were unpaid family workers
- It is estimated that 46% of “SME” small and medium sized enterprises have some degree of female ownership
- Small business account for over two thirds of employment in five Canadian industry categories: non-institutional health care, construction, accommodation and food, forestry and other services
*Statistics Canada defines the self-employed as working owners of an unincorporated or incorporated business, persons who work on their own account but do not have a business and persons working without pay in a family business.
Note: According to the definition used by Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey, self-employed workers involved in unincorporated activities are “active owners of a business, farm or unincorporated professional office and independent workers who do not have a business as such (child-care workers, newspaper delivery agents, etc).”
Information cited from:
Industry Canada Small Business and Tourism Branch:
Key Small Business Statistics July 2010. ISSN 1718-3456.
Aussi offert en français sous le titre Principales statistiques relatives aux petites entrprises.
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