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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

December 09, 2022

Statistics Canada has released real-time local business conditions from November 28 to December 4, 2022. Throughout this article, reference dates mean the start of the week. Note that these data are not adjusted for seasonality and changes may simply reflect regular seasonal patterns. 

From August 10 of 2020 to the week starting November 28 of 2022, the local business conditions index for Halifax has increased by 162.4%. Halifax conditions have been influenced by a large decline and recovery in recent weeks, following post tropical storm Fiona. St. John's and Regina reported the strongest growth in business conditions over this period while Hamilton had the smallest gain.

In the week of November 21 to November 27, Halifax business conditions rose (+8.7%) on an upswing that occurred in 23 cities. However, in the following week (November 28 to December 4) business conditions fell by 1.2% in Halifax. Business conditions were down in 26 cities across Canada with the largest decline in Ottawa and Montréal. St. Catharine's-Niagara had the largest growth in business conditions.

Compared with 4 weeks prior, business conditions were down 4.1%. Kitchener, Barrie and Regina reported strong gains. Montreal and Guelph reported the strongest decreases. 

Compared with the same week a year ago, Halifax business conditions have improved by 46.3%. Calgary, Toronto, and Windsor reported the largest improvements over this period. The smallest improvements were reported in St. John’s and Trois-Rivieres.

As the experimental business conditions index is both volatile and unadjusted for seasonality, a comparison of year-to-date averages may generate more stable (if less current) insights into changing business conditions.

Comparing the year-to-date average of the business conditions index with approximately the same weeks of 2021, business conditions were up 35.0% in Halifax. Victoria, Moncton and Hamilton reported the slowest year-to-date growth while Calgary reported the fastest gain.  

Prior to the sharp decline in the aftermath of post tropical storm Fiona, Halifax's business conditions generally followed trends observed in Canada's largest urban centres. With the sharp growth and gradual decline over the last week, Halifax's business conditions are currently ahead of some larger cities such as Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver, but behind Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg.

Halifax business conditions are once again similar to other medium-sized cities, though Windsor, Quebec City, Victoria and Regina reported notably stronger growth in business conditions than other medium-sized cities.

Halifax business conditions had generally lagged those in smaller urban centres. St. John's business conditions exhibit considerably more volatility than in other cities.


This experimental data product starts from information on the number of businesses listed in the business register in "business dense areas" of a large urban centre.  Data from 2019 business locations provided baseline (ie: pre-pandemic) insight on business revenue and employment. 

The data focus on 27 industries in particular: retail bakeries, furniture stores, electronics/appliance stores, building materials/garden supply stores, food/beverage stores, gas stations/convenience stores, clothing stores, cycling stores, book stores, general merchandise stores, florists, cinemas, dental offices, museums, zoos/gardens, amusement/theme parks, casinos, fitness/recreation centres, bowling alleys, drinking places, restaurants, and personal care services (such as hair care or esthetics).

Data on current operating conditions (open vs. closed) were collected from commercial application-program interfaces (API).  Most of the information is drawn from Google's Places API, which is similar to what is available publicly on Google Maps, with supplementary information from APIs offered by Yelp Fusion and Zomato.  Queries to the API are based on a sampling approach ('density-based cursory search') that focuses on the densest areas for business locations in the selected industries.  Statistics Canada cautions that the sampling methods used do not follow standard statistical methods due to cost and technical limitations.

Data on current traffic volumes were drawn from TomTom's historical traffic information.  As with operating conditions, the information was drawn from a sample of routes within identified business-dense areas.  Statistics Canada cautions that traffic volume estimates and their relationship to business conditions may be sensitive to changing traffic patterns, construction/detours, and changes to business models such as curbside pickup or delivery.

The index of real-time local business conditions is estimated as the value of retail revenue, adjusted for both percentage of reported business closures as well as changes in traffic volumes from pre-pandemic levels. 

The value of the index was set to 100 as of August 2020.  As such, the index shows changes since then, but does not represent the variations in business conditions that existed in the initial period. A location with strong local business conditions in August 2020 would have less opportunity to grow than a location with weak conditions in the same month.

 Source: Statistics Canada. Table 33-10-0398-01  Real-time Local Business Condition Index (RTLBCI)

Statistics Canada catalogue 71-607X. Real-Time Local Business Conditions Index: Concepts, data, methodology,, July 15, 2021

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