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Foreign control in the Canadian economy, 2013

Released: 2016-02-04

In 2013, the value of assets, revenues and profits in the Canadian economy increased from 2012. The foreign-controlled shares of all three financial variables were down slightly from the previous year.

Both Canadian (+5.6%) and foreign-controlled (+3.6%) asset values increased in 2013. The foreign-controlled asset share edged down from 18.5% in 2012 to 18.2% in 2013.

Foreign-controlled revenue growth was flat, compared with a 4.9% increase for enterprises under Canadian control. The share of revenues under foreign control decreased from 30.0% in 2012 to 29.0% in 2013.

While Canadian-controlled operating profits grew 7.5% in 2013, those under foreign-control increased by 2.5%. As a result of the larger profit growth by Canadian enterprises, the share of profit under foreign control decreased from 20.7% in 2012 to 19.9% in 2013.

Non-financial industries

Among non-financial industries, the share of assets under foreign control was 25.7% in 2013, down from 26.4% a year earlier. The share of operating revenues under foreign control declined from 31.3% to 30.2%. Larger Canadian-controlled profit growth in 2013 led to a decrease in the share of foreign-controlled operating profits, from 23.5% to 22.9%.

Manufacturing remained the largest sector in terms of non-financial assets. It was also the sector with the biggest share of foreign-controlled assets, at 49.4% in 2013, down slightly from 49.8% in 2012.

The value of assets for Canadian-controlled manufacturers rose 2.6%, compared with a 0.7% gain for those under foreign control.

Both foreign-controlled (+1.7%) and Canadian-controlled (+1.8%) manufacturers showed revenue growth in 2013. The share of revenue under foreign control edged down to 50.6%.

Profits of Canadian-controlled manufacturers decreased by 15.1%, while profits of manufacturers under foreign control rose 1.4%. The share of manufacturing profits under foreign control increased from 47.5% in 2012 to 51.9% in 2013.

In the oil and gas extraction industry, the share of profits for foreign-controlled enterprises fell to 27.5% in 2013, as profits for foreign enterprises increased at a slower rate than they did for enterprises under Canadian control.

Finance and insurance industries

In the finance and insurance industries, foreign-controlled enterprises accounted for 12.2% of assets in 2013, down slightly from 12.3% the previous year. Foreign enterprises held 17.7% of revenues, unchanged from the previous year, and 13.3% of operating profits, down from 14.0%.

Canadian-controlled assets among enterprises operating in the financial sector increased 4.7% in 2013, compared with a 3.7% gain for enterprises under foreign control.

Canadian-controlled enterprise revenues rose 1.8% in 2013, compared with a 1.6% increase in revenues of foreign-controlled enterprises.

Operating profits for Canadian-controlled enterprises in the financial sector increased by 14.1% in 2013, while foreign-controlled profits rose by 8.1%.

Foreign control by country

US-controlled enterprises continued to account for the largest share of assets, revenues and profits under foreign control in 2013. Their share of assets was unchanged at 49.4%, and their share of revenues increased from 54.4% in 2012 to 56.2% in 2013. The share of profits earned by US-controlled enterprises edged up from 58.4% to 58.5%.

The value of foreign assets held by enterprises under US control in the non-financial sector were 2.4 times larger than those in the financial sector in 2013.

Enterprises controlled from the United Kingdom reported that asset, revenue and profit shares edged up to 14.0%, 8.2% and 8.5% respectively. Unlike US-controlled enterprises, assets under British control were more concentrated in the financial sector, with a value 2.4 times greater than in the non-financial sector.

Dutch-controlled enterprises represented the third-largest share of foreign-controlled assets in 2013 at 5.1%. Dutch-controlled assets in the non-financial sector were approximately twice the size of assets in the financial sector in 2013.

  Note to readers

Under the authority of the Minister of Industry, Statistics Canada administers the Corporations Returns Act, which requires the collection of financial and ownership information on corporations conducting business in Canada. This information is used to evaluate the extent of non-resident control of the Canadian corporate economy.

The Corporations Returns Act requires that an annual report be submitted to Parliament summarizing the extent to which foreign control is prevalent in Canada. The document being released today is the report for reference year 2013.

These statistics are compiled from enterprise level data. An enterprise can be a single corporation or a family of corporations under common ownership or control, for which consolidated financial statements are produced.

Three components are used to measure foreign control: assets, operating revenues and operating profits.

Asset-based measures of foreign control provide a longer term perspective. Assets are a stock item, reflecting economic decisions and market conditions that evolve more slowly over time.

Revenue-based measures, on the other hand, represent a flow item and are closely tied to the business cycle. Revenue tends to reflect current business conditions, causing them to be more volatile than asset-based measures.

Profits are a measure of the financial health and well-being of an economy and can be used to assess its performance and sustainability.


The report Corporations Returns Act, 2013 (Catalogue number61-220-X), is now available from the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Jason Leonard (613-951-5593;, Industrial Organization and Finance Division.

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