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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

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

January 20, 2023

Statistics Canada has released real-time local business conditions from January 9 to January 15, 2023. 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 January 9, 2023, the local business conditions index for Halifax has increased by 145.27%. Halifax conditions have been influenced by the World Junior Hockey Championship in recent weeks. In percentage terms, White Rock and Québec City reported the strongest growth in business conditions over this period while Ottawa had the smallest gain.

In the week of January 9 to January 15, Halifax business conditions decreased 23.0% from the previous week, during which there had been a sharp increase coinciding with the World Junior Hockey Championship. Halifax reported the largest decline, but business conditions fell in most urban centres across Canada.  Milton and Québec City reported the largest gains.

Compared with 4 weeks prior, business conditions were down 3.7% in Halifax. White Rock and Kelowna reported the strongest gains over this period while Ottawa and Windsor reported the largest declines. 

Compared with the same week a year ago, Halifax business conditions have improved by 67.3%. Calgary reported the largest improvement over this period. The smallest improvements were reported in Hamilton.

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.

Compared with the first two weeks of 2022, Halifax business conditions were up 63.6% in the first two weeks of 2023.  Over this period, Calgary reported the largest gains while Hamilton reported the smallest.  No urban centres reported a year-to-date decline in business conditions.

Halifax's business conditions generally follow trends observed in Canada's largest urban centres, with spikes during events like tropical storm Fiona and the World Junior Hockey Championship. 

As Halifax's business conditions contracted after the World Junior Hockey Championship, its business conditions fell to the lower ranks of medium-sized cities.

Halifax business conditions had generally lagged those in smaller urban centres. Business conditions in Moncton exhibited an even larger spike (and less of a subsequent decline) than conditions in Halifax during the World Junior Hockey Championship.  


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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