By the numbers – The Chief Statistician's Top Ten 2021

By the numbers - The Chief Statistician's Top Ten 2021 (PDF, 2.1 MB)

This past year has presented incredible challenges here at home and around the world, but has also shown our resilience and ability to step up, to adapt and to be innovative. As Canadians continue to face uncertainty and feel the ongoing and far-reaching effects of the pandemic, Statistics Canada is committed to measuring these changes in an accurate and timely fashion to provide high-quality data that will inform decisions by businesses, researchers, academics, all levels of government and individuals.

1. 4.7% — Highest inflation rate in nearly 20 years

Consumer inflation reached 4.7% in November, marking the largest year-over-year gain in the Consumer Price Index since February 2003. Canadians paid more for groceries and transportation throughout 2021, and saw a record increase in gasoline prices.


2. 7.5% — Record high increase in monthly exports

Merchandise exports reached $53.4 billion in June, up 7.5% (+$3.7 billion) in only a month. Putting aside the wild fluctuations of 2020, this increase was the largest on record. From June to September, Canada posted four consecutive merchandise trade surpluses for the first time since 2014.


Canadian international merchandise trade, June 2021

3. 6.0% — Lowest unemployment rate since onset of pandemic

The unemployment rate dropped for a sixth consecutive month in November, falling to 6.0%, the lowest rate since the beginning of the pandemic. Total employment and full-time employment also recovered, exceeding pre-COVID levels in November.


Labour Force Survey, November 2021

4. 58.7% — Largest increase on record for retail sales

Retail sales reached $54.6 billion in April, an increase of 58.7% from the same month a year earlier. The magnitude of this increase—the largest on record for the sector—is related to the sharp declines seen at the beginning of the pandemic.


Retail Commodity Survey, April 2021

5. 27.2% — Businesses expecting their profits to go down

A survey of more than 16,000 business owners between July and August showed that more than a quarter of them expected their profitability to go down over the next three months, while 13.7% expected their profits to go up, and 56.5% expected them to remain about the same.


Canadian Survey on Business Conditions, third quarter 2021

6. 23.5% — Unprecedented number of workers continue to work from home

In November 2021, 23.5% of Canadians aged 15 to 69 who worked at least half their usual hours worked mostly from home. In contrast, 7.5% of workers usually worked from home in 2016. Working from home may become permanent for some, with four in five teleworkers reporting that they would like to work at least half of their hours from home once the pandemic is over.


7. 25% — Share of adult population that showed signs of depression, anxiety, or PTSD during pandemic

One in four Canadians experienced symptoms of depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder in spring 2021, with women more likely than men to say their mental health had suffered.


Survey on COVID-19 and Mental Health, September to December 2020

8. 37% — Increase in police-reported hate crimes during first year of pandemic

The number of police-reported hate crimes in Canada rose to 2,669 incidents in 2020, up from 1,951 in 2019, marking the highest number of hate crimes reported to police in more than a decade. Police-reported hate crimes targeting race or ethnicity almost doubled, accounting for the vast majority of the national increase.


After five years of increases, police-reported crime in Canada was down in 2020, but incidents of hate crime increased sharply

9. 0.4% — Lowest population growth rate since World War I

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused Canada’s population to grow at its slowest pace since 1945 (in number) and 1916 (in percent), both periods when Canada was at war. Meanwhile, deaths surpassed 300,000 in a year for the first time in Canadian history.


Canada’s population estimates, fourth quarter 2020

10. 84.1% — Record high online response rate to the census

The vast majority of 2021 Census questionnaires—84.1%—were filled out online, surpassing Statistics Canada’s goal of 80%. The overall response rate for the census was 98%. Data releases will begin in February.


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