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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

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

September 01, 2023

Statistics Canada has released real-time local business conditions from August 21 to August 27, 2023.  Reference dates reported now refer to the date following the end of the reference week.

Note that these data are not adjusted for seasonality and monthly or weekly changes may simply reflect regular seasonal patterns. 

From August 10 of 2020 to August 28, 2023, the local business conditions index for Halifax has increased by 245.0%. In percentage terms, Moncton reported the strongest growth in business conditions over this period while Hamilton had the smallest gains.

In the week of August 21 to August 28, Halifax business conditions increased 4.3% following an increase of 3.2% in the previous week. Business conditions were up in 20 of 30 cities with Moncton, Trois-Rivières and Montréal reporting the largest growths and Barrie reporting the largest decline.


Compared with 4 weeks prior, business conditions increased by 2.3% in Halifax. Business conditions were up in 27 cities, with the largest gain in Moncton and the largest decline in Kelowna. Kelowna experienced a state of emergency two weeks prior. 

Compared with the same week a year ago, Halifax business conditions have improved by 22.7%. All cities except Québec City and Kelowna reported improvements.  Kitchener reported 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 34 weeks of 2022, Halifax business conditions were up 27.2% in the same period of 2023. Over this period, Windsor and Kitchener 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 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 and post a strong recovery in the spring.  Prior to the most recent fall in business conditions, this seasonal pattern appeared to be repeating in 2023. Halifax's business conditions were weaker than in other major urban centres until the end of April, when there was a large improvement through May.  With the rebound over the last two weeks, Halifax business conditions are in line with those of larger urban centres across Canada.

With the most recent decline and rebound, Halifax business conditions are in the middle of medium-sized cities.  

Although there were large improvements in April and May, Halifax's business conditions have again fallen behind those of smaller urban centres (exceptions: Barrie, Guelph).


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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