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Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
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July 24, 2019

In 2014, Statistics Canada released experimental estimates of nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for Canada's Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) as well as the parts of each province located outside CMAs.  All data are benchmarked to provincial nominal GDP at basic prices.  

Today, Statistics Canada has provided updated GDP by CMA, covering the period from 2009-2015.  

These results continue to show that just over half of Canada's GDP is generated in the six CMAs: Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa–Gatineau. Like population, economic activities primarily focus in cities. In 2015, CMAs accounted for 70.3 per cent of Canada's population and generated about 73.4 per cent of Canadian GDP.  In Nova Scotia, Halifax accounted for 43.6 per cent of provincial population and 54.3 per cent of provincial GDP.

Overall in 2015, GDP per capita in reported CMAs was $54,206.  Halifax's GDP per capita was $49,188.  Across Canada, the largest GDP per capita among CMAs is reported in Edmonton, Calgary, Regina and Saskatoon.  However, this result for 2015 may be sensitive to fluctuations in commodity prices.  The lowest GDP per capita among reported CMAs was observed in Oshawa ($32,269). 

Outside CMAs, GDP per capita was $46,373.  The highest non-CMA GDP per capita was observed in Alberta at $76,690 (higher than CMA GDP per capita) while the lowest was reported for Nova Scotia ($31,901).  Per capita GDP outside Canada's reported CMAs averaged 85.5 per cent of CMA GDP per capita. 


From 2009-2015, GDP growth has average 4.1 per cent inside CMAs and 3.6 per cent outside CMAs.  Halifax's GDP grew by 2.3 per cent on average over this period, outpaced by average GDP growth of 2.7 per cent for Nova Scotia outside Halifax.  The fastest growing economies over this period were observed in Guelph, St. John's, Saskatoon and Calgary.  GDP growth outside CMAs was markedly faster in Ontario and Western Canada than in Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces.  

Nova Scotia's GDP in 2015 was $36.93 billion, of which $20.1 billion was generated in Halifax and $16.9 billion was generated in the rest of the province.  GDP has been rising in both Halifax and the rest of the province, but growth outside the city has been faster for all years except 2012 (when two paper mills were shuttered and natural gas output declined) and 2015 (when natural gas output declined).  

On a per capita basis, GDP in Halifax remains significantly higher than in the rest of Nova Scotia.  However, except for 2012, per capita GDP growth outside Halifax has been faster than inside Halifax, narrowing the gap in GDP per capita between urban and rural areas of the province.

Source: Statistics Canada.  Table  36-10-0468-01   Gross domestic product (GDP) at basic prices, by census metropolitan area (CMA) (x 1,000,000)Table  17-10-0135-01   Population estimates, July 1, by census metropolitan area and census agglomeration, 2016 boundariesTable  17-10-0005-01   Population estimates on July 1st, by age and sex