Historical revision of the System of National Accounts

September 26, 2012

OTTAWA — Beginning October 1, 2012, Statistics Canada will publish revised data for several important economic indicators, including quarterly gross domestic product, labour productivity and balance of payments, as well as provincial and territorial economic accounts.

These revisions to data in the Canadian System of National Accounts span more than 30 years.

The revised data are the result of a two-year project to more closely align the Canadian system with new international standards released in 2009 by international bodies, including the United Nations and International Monetary Fund.

This strategy is in line with Statistics Canada’s goal of maintaining the accuracy and relevance of its economic accounts. It will also ensure Canadian economic data are internationally comparable and are compiled using the latest methodological advances.  The new standards will incorporate:

  • Changes to classifications of sectors, industries and categories of transactions;
  • Changes to terminology and presentation formats, and;
  • Modifications to basic definitions and concepts for a number of components.

As a result, many familiar terms, such as corporate profits, labour income and personal expenditures, will no longer appear in either Statistics Canada texts or tables.

Instead, the revisions will add important new variables and concepts, such as compensation of employees, gross operating surplus, gross mixed income and household final consumption expenditure.

Revisions will also split the corporate sector into financial and non-financial corporations. “Non-profit institutions serving households” will be identified as a separate sector.  These institutions include groups such as missions, food banks and sports clubs.

Regular users of Statistics Canada data are invited to familiarize themselves with the new terms and concepts, which are fully explained on our website.

Texts for these economic indicators published in The Daily, the Agency’s official release bulletin, will undergo substantial alteration.  In addition, there will be many new-look tables in The Daily and CANSIM, the Agency’s database.

Here is the timetable for release of the revisions:

October 1, 2012: Quarterly gross domestic product (GDP), Current and capital accounts, Balance of payments and Canada’s international investment position, 1981 to second quarter 2012.

October 12, 2012: Labour productivity for the business sector, 1981 to second quarter 2012.

October 15, 2012: National balance sheet accounts, 1990 to second quarter 2012.

November 19, 2012: Provincial and territorial economic accounts, 2007 to 2011, and 2009 National and provincial input–output tables.

November 30, 2012: Financial flow accounts, 1990 to fourth quarter 2011.

In addition, Statistics Canada will release revised data for GDP by industry early in 2013.

Consult the attached backgrounder for more detailed information.

For more information, contact Media Relations at 613-951-4636 or mediahotline@statcan.gc.ca.

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