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

October 30, 2023

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

Monthly (July 2023 vs June 2023, seasonally adjusted)

The number of active businesses in Nova Scotia declined 0.33% from June to July 2023 (going down to 20,593 active businesses).                                                   

Nationally, active businesses were down by 0.15%. All provinces except Quebec reported lower numbers of active businesses in July 2023 compared with June 2023. The largest decline was reported in New Brunswick. 

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 July 2023, Nova Scotia's business continuing rate was 95.9%, similar to the national average of 95.8%. Quebec reported the highest business continuing rate (97.0%) while Prince Edward Island (95.0%) reported the lowest.

Nova Scotia's business opening rate was 4.1% in July 2023 (3.9% nationally). Prince Edward Island had the highest business opening rate (5.4%) while Québec had the lowest (3.1%).

Nova Scotia's business closing rate was 4.4% in July 2023 (4.5% nationally). Newfoundland and Labrador reported the highest business closing rate (5.0%) while Québec had the lowest business closing rate (3.4%).

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

Compared with July 2022, the number of active businesses was unchanged for Nova Scotia. Nationally, active businesses were 0.4% higher than in July 2022. Five provinces reported a higher number of active businesses compared with July 2022, with the increase in percentage terms in Prince Edward Island. Four provinces reported fewer active businesses compared to one year ago, led by Newfoundland and Labrador.

The number of active businesses in the Halifax and East Hants Census Metropolitan Area was up 1.5% from July 2022 to July 2023. The East Hants portion of the CMA was only added in June 2022, and the addition of East Hants should not impact the annual comparisons going forward.  

Out of 35 CMAs, 23 reported growth in active businesses over the past 12 months while 12 reported decline in active businesses. Brantford and Windsor reported the largest rises in the number of active businesses while St. John's and Thunder Bay reported the biggest declines.

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

Nationally, the number of active businesses was down for forestry/fishing, mining/oil/gas, manufacturing, wholesale, retail, information/culture, finance/insurance/management, and arts/entertainment/recreation. There were increases in utilities, construction, transportation, real estate/leasing, professional/technical services, administration/support services, accommodation/food, and personal/repair services. 

Statistics Canada has broken out specific data for tourism-related industries. Compared with July 2022, the number of active tourism-related businesses declined 1.4% in Nova Scotia as of July 2023, with declines in travel services, recreation/entertainment, and food/beverage, offsetting increases in accommodations.

Nationally the number of tourism-related businesses increased 0.6% from July 2022 to July 2023. Growth in transportation, travel services, accommodations, and food/beverage more than offset declines in recreation/entertainment. 


Declines in retail and wholesale trade, as well as personal/repair and administrative/support services accounted for most of the decline in active businesses in Nova Scotia over July 2022.

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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