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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

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

May 29, 2023

Statistics Canada released updated data on monthly business openings and closures for February 2023. The data are seasonally adjusted.

Month-over-month (February 2023 vs January 2022, seasonally adjusted)

The number of active businesses in Nova Scotia increased 0.01% from January to February 2023 (rising to 20,663 active businesses). 


Nationally, active businesses fell by 0.16%. All provinces except Quebec (+0.13%) and Nova Scotia (+0.01%) reported lower numbers of active businesses in February 2023 compared with January 2022. The largest declines were reported in Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, and Ontario. 

Year-over-year (February 2023 vs February 2022)

Compared with February 2022, the number of active businesses was up 1.4 % for Nova Scotia. Nationally, active businesses were 1.5% higher than in February 2022. Nine provinces reported a higher number of active businesses compared with February 2022, with the largest increase in Prince Edward Island. Newfoundland and Labrador reported a decline of 0.1%.

The number of active businesses in the Halifax and East Hants Census Metropolitan Area was up 3.3% from February 2022 to February 2023. However, the East Hants portion of the CMA was only added in June 2022, and this accounts for much of the growth compared with February 2022 (which did not include East Hants in the Halifax CMA). 

Out of 30 CMAs, 27 reported growth in active businesses over the past 12 months. The cities with the largest rises in the number of active businesses were Windsor, Oshawa, Branrford and Halifax.

Compared with February 2022, the number of active Nova Scotia businesses in January 2023 was lower in forestry/fishing, manufacturing, wholesale, retail, information/culture, finance/insurance/management, and personal/repair services. From February 2022 to February 2023, there were notable percentage increases in the number of active businesses in mining/oil/gas, construction, as well as real estate/leasing, professional/technical, admin/support, arts/entertainment/recreation, and accommodation/food.

Nationally, the number of active businesses was down for forestry/fishing, wholesale trade, retail trade and finance/insurance/management. There were notable increases in real estate/leasing, accomondation/food, and construction. 

Statistics Canada has broken out specific data for tourism-related industries. Compared with February 2022, the number of active tourism-related businesses was up 1.5% in Nova Scotia as of February 2023, with a fall in travel services. Transportation, recreation/entertainment, accommodation, and food/beverages subsectors experienced gains.

Nationally growth in tourism-related businesses was up 1.8% over the last year with the strongest growth in travel services, recreation/entertainment as well as food/beverage industry. 


A business will be classified as 'opening' if it had no employment in the previous month and then has employment in the next month. A business is 'closing' if it had employment in the previous month and no employment in the current month. For opening and closing, the reason could be a permanent change (i.e. business exit) or temporary for reasons such as seasonal operations, capital maintenance or restructuring. Continuing business are those that had employment in both the current and previous month. Active businesses are the sum of continuing and opening business in the current month.

The rate at which business either opened, continued or closed can be examined to see how the number of active businesses has changed. The calculation for the opening, continuing and closure rates are based on the number of active businesses in the previous month. 

Most businesses continue operating each month. In February 2023, Nova Scotia's business continuing rate was 95.8% (95.5% nationally). Quebec reported the highest business continuing rate (96.7%) while Prince Edward Island reported the lowest (94.4%).

Nova Scotia's business opening rate was 4.2% as of February 2023 (4.4% nationally). Alberta had the highest business opening rate (4.9%) while Quebec had the lowest (3.4%).

Nova Scotia's business closing rate was 4.4% in February 2023 (4.5% nationally). Prince Edward Island reported the highest business closing rate (5.6%) while Quebec had the lowest business closing rate (3.5%).

Construction (+10), professional/techincal (+8) and forestry/fishing (+4) contributed the most to the increase in active businesses in Nova Scotia from January 2023 to February 2023. 

The source data is seasonally adjusted. The data may not aggregate due to firms being classified into multiple industry or geography.

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 33-10-0270-01 Experimental estimates for business openings and closures for Canada, provinces and territories, census metropolitan areasMethodology: Business Opening and Closing

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