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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

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

April 28, 2023

Statistics Canada has released real-time local business conditions from April 17 to April 23, 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 April 10, 2023, the local business conditions index for Halifax has increased by 118.11%. In percentage terms, St. John's reported the strongest growth in business conditions over this period while Halifax had the smallest gain.

In the week of April 17 to April 23, Halifax business conditions improved by 15.0% from the previous week - the strongest gain among urban centres. Business conditions improved in most cities with only Trois-Rivières and Kelowna reporting declines.

Compared with 4 weeks prior, business conditions decreased 0.4% in Halifax. Business conditions were mixed across the country with some gains and losses.  St. John's posted the largest gain while Kelowna posted the largest drop.

Compared with the same week a year ago, Halifax business conditions have improved by 26.9%. All cities except Trois-Rivières reported improvements, with Kitchener reporting the largest increase. 

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 16 weeks of 2022, Halifax business conditions were up 37.3% in the same period of 2023. Over this period, Windsor reported the largest gain 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 exceptions during spikes from events like tropical storm Fiona and the World Junior Hockey Championship.  Halifax's business conditions typically deteriorate more than others in the first months of the year.  In March and April, Halifax's business conditions have been volatile with large gains and declines, but generally weaker than in other major urban centres. 

Halifax's business conditions have also contracted below those of almost all other medium-sized cities.  As in Halifax, many cities reported slipping business conditions during winter and a rebound at the end of February.  Improving business conditions were prevalent for many medium sized cities in March, but results for Halifax were not more volatile. 

Growth in Halifax's business conditions continues to lag those in Canada's smaller urban centres.


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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