Small / Medium / Large (Industry Share in Canada/US)

Last Updated: June 12, 2017


Big business or small business? A new Statistics Canada study takes a look at the Small/Medium size business contributions to Canadian GDP for each sector.


From the report: The Contribution of Small and Medium-sized Businesses to Gross Domestic Product: A Canada-United States Comparison by Danny Leung and Luke Rispoli.

If you're thinking about going into business for yourself, one question to consider is whether your chosen industry thrives in a small business environment, or if the 'big players' (defined as companies with 500+ employees) dominate the industry.The chart above indicates a few interesting discrepancies between US and Canadian market segmentation, and raise a few issues.

Utilities, mining, manufacturing and 'information services' all appear to be dominated by larger companies - and that makes sense for the most part, given the considerable economies of scale that those industries often present. The startup costs for a mining company are likely to dwarf those of an inventory-based retail business, for example. Reflecting on the differences between the US and Canada, it is important (as Leung and Rispoli's report mentions) to consider the role of government in certain industries - particularly for education and healthcare.

Construction and professional services stand out as industries dominated by small/medium sized business. No doubt there are industry heavyweights at work in these sectors, but larger companies may not always go after the same market share as smaller companies. Major construction firms will seek out large multi-million dollar projects, but are less likely to go chasing after smaller residential building projects. This holds true across many industries.

As the report finds: "Small and medium-sized firms serve specialized market segments that large firms may find unprofitable, by adopting flexible production processes that are capable of offering personalized products." Sometimes smaller is better! 

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo Miniature Food Fruit Prep'Board #2 created byPetitPlat Food Art - Stephanie Kilgast, on January 11, 2009. Photo made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-2.0NoDerivs license. Last viewed on June 12, 2011.