In July 2008, Statistics Canada released facts and figures about the Canadian business community. The figures released indicated that, as of the end of 2007, Canada had more than 2.3 million businesses. (This figure reflects a decline of 100,000 businesses over the course of the year). This number included small businesses that met at least one of three minimum criteria. To qualify as an official small business, the establishment must have at least one paid employee (with regular payroll deductions). The business must have annual revenues of at least $30,000. Finally, the business must be incorporated and have filed a federal tax return at least once in the previous three years.
In regards to self employed Canadians, the number rose at an annualized rate of 1.5 percent between 2000 and 2007.
More than half of all Canadian businesses, some 56 percent, are located in Quebec and Ontario. Roughly a third of the businesses – 36 percent - are located in the western provinces and a mere 7 percent are located on the Atlantic side of the country. Less than 1 percent of Canada's businesses are situated in the Northwest Territories, the Yukon, and Nunavut.
However, when examining the business to population ratio, the numbers swing dramatically. The national average is 70.7 businesses per 1000 population. Ontario and Quebec fall below the national average while the Yukon has the highest ratio at 91.4 establishments per 1000.
Statistics revealed that entrepreneurs were more likely to reside in rural areas, rather than urban centres. The ratio of small businesses relative to population was 50% higher in rural regions of the country.
Finally, the survey concluded that 60 percent of small businesses are situated in areas that have large local populations, affording a strong employee base and good market opportunities.
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