Invitation to participate in the revision of the North American Product Classification System (NAPCS) Canada

Release date: March 11, 2019 Updated on: December 20, 2019 (Previous notice)

Note: The dates contained in "Key dates for NAPCS Canada 2022 revision process" have been updated as a result of changes negotiated between the statistical agencies of Canada, the United States and Mexico.

The pre-public consultation discussions between Statistics Canada and key stakeholders on NAPCS Canada 2022 have concluded. The Office of Privacy Management and Information Coordination (OPMIC), the division responsible for NAPCS, thanks all those who participated in these discussions. Please note that the time to submit your formal proposals for changes in NAPCS is now officially opened until the end of June 2020.


Statistics Canada invites all interested parties to participate in the revision of the North American Product Classification System (NAPCS) Canada, by submitting proposals for the revision. The new revised NAPCS Canada Classification System will be called NAPCS Canada 2022 Version 1.0.

This invitation is aimed at data users and data producers of products (goods and services), representatives of business associations, government bodies at the federal, provincial and local levels, academics and researchers, as well as any other interested parties.


The collection of revision proposals has two objectives:

  • to gather input from users, as an integral part of the NAPCS Canada revision process, and
  • to ensure users' needs continue to be met.


The first version of NAPCS Canada, known as provisional version 0.1, was published in 2007. The development of the classification started a few years earlier as a joint project of the national statistical agencies of Canada, Mexico and the United States (U.S.). The NAPCS project followed the adoption by the three countries of a common industry classification, the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) in 1997. The purpose of the NAICS project was to develop a standard that allowed comparisons of industry data among the three participating countries. The development of NAPCS was meant to serve the same purpose for product statistics.

There are currently two types of NAPCS classification: NAPCS Canada and Trilateral NAPCS. Each NAPCS cooperating country has the choice to maintain its own version of NAPCS. Trilateral NAPCS is considered a reference classification. At the moment, only Canada as published a national version, NAPCS Canada. NAPCS Canada differs from Trilateral NAPCS in the aggregation structure. NAPCS Canada uses a more traditional aggregation structure, a supply-based attributes of products, more or less based on the industry of origin of products. On the other hand, the Trilateral NAPCS structure emphasizes demand-based attributes of products, such as the substitutability of products, the complementary nature of products or the similarity in markets being served by the products. The most detailed categories of NAPCS Canada have been defined so as to permit mapping into the most detailed trilateral categories. This means that the Canadian detailed categories can be re-organized using the trilateral aggregation structure. In effect, the trilateral aggregation structure becomes a regrouping variant of the Canadian aggregation structure, with few exceptions. The availability of data at the most detailed level of NAPCS Canada will continue to influence the extent of the trilateral work.

The three NAPCS partner agencies meet regularly to discuss possible changes to the common Trilateral NAPCS structure. Since the creation of this product classification, NAPCS Canada, has been revised on a 5-year cycle, in 2012 and 2017.

NAPCS Canada was also revised in 2018 with NAPCS Canada 2017 Version 2.0. Canada has started evolving towards adopting a permanent “evergreen” practice with regards to NAPCS, which means the updating of NAPCS Canada on an as-needed basis, with version updates between the standard 5-year revision milestones. These “evergreen” updates strive to be constrained to specific situations or cases, e.g., in NAPCS Canada Version 2.0, the classification was revised to account for new products created after Canada adopted a new law legalizing cannabis for non-medical use, with impacts on the whole Canadian economy and society.

Proposals: Nature and content

Respondents are invited to provide their comments, feedback and suggestions on how to improve the NAPCS Canada content. They must outline their rationale for proposed changes.

No restrictions have been placed on content. Respondents may propose non structural as well as structural changes. Structural changes are those that affect the numerical hierarchy of the NAPCS Canada classification, such as the creation of new classification items, the combination or decomposition of classification items as well as the elimination of classification items. A classification item represents a category at a certain level within a statistical classification. It defines the content and the borders of the category.

Nomenclature of classification items within each level of NAPCS Canada 2017 Version 2.0
Classification item Coding
Group 3-digit code
Class 5-digit code
Subclass 6-digit code
Detail 7-digit code

Updated: Key dates for NAPCS Canada 2022 revision process

Here are revised key dates for the NAPCS Canada 2022 revision process:

  • Pre-public consultation discussions between Statistics Canada and key stakeholders: March 2019 to October 2019
  • Official public consultation period will be opened: from November 2019 to the end of June 2020
  • Completion of trilateral negotiations: September 2020
  • Public notice containing proposals in consideration for changes in NAPCS: October 2020 (previously September 2020)
  • Public notice containing the final approved proposal for changes in NAPCS: March 2021 (previously February 2021)
  • Public release of NAPCS Canada 2022 Version 1.0: February 2022

Individuals and organizations wishing to submit proposals for changes in NAPCS Canada should start preparing their material and arguments for the official public consultation. Public consultation will start in November 2019 (see key dates above) and will be based on the guidelines provided below.

Submitting Proposals

Proposals for NAPCS Canada revisions must contain the contact information of those submitting the change request:

  1. Name
  2. Organization (when an individual is proposing changes on behalf of an organization)
  3. Mailing address
  4. Email address
  5. Phone number

Should additional information or clarification to the proposal be required, participants might be contacted.

Proposals must be submitted by email to:

Consultation guidelines for submitting proposals for change in NAPCS Canada

Individuals or organizations are encouraged to follow the guidelines below when developing their proposals.

Proposals should:

  • clearly identify the proposed addition or change to NAPCS Canada; this can include the creation of entirely new classification items (groups, classes, subclasses or details) or modifications to existing classification items;
  • outline the rationale and include supporting information for the proposed change;
  • when possible, describe the empirical significance (i.e., revenue or sales, expenses, value-added, trade values, prices, volume of sales or production) of proposed changes, and especially structural changes;
  • be consistent with classification principles (e.g., mutual exclusivity, exhaustiveness and homogeneity within categories);
  • be relevant, that is, proposals should:
    • describe the present analytical interest;
    • define how the change would enhance the usefulness of data;
    • be based on appropriate statistical research or subject matter expertise.

Please consider the questions below when preparing your input for the consultation on the revision of NAPCS Canada:

  • Are there products for which you cannot find a satisfactory NAPCS Canada code?
  • Are there products that you find difficult to place in NAPCS Canada?
  • Are any products missing?
  • Are there products or combinations of products that have significant economic value and analytical interest that you would like to see with a specific or separate NAPCS classification item (group, class, subclass or detail)?
  • Are there classification items you find difficult to use because their descriptions are vague or unclear?
  • Are there pairs of classification items you find difficult to distinguish from each other? Are there boundaries that could be clarified?
  • Are there products that you are able to locate in NAPCS Canada, but you would like to have them located in a different classification item or group of products? And Why?
  • Is the language or terminology used in NAPCS Canada in need of updating to be consistent with current usage?

Note that submissions do not need to cover every topic; you can submit your comments on your particular area(s) of concern only.

The following criteria will be used to review the proposals received:

  • consistency with classification principles of mutual exclusivity, exhaustiveness, and homogeneity of products within categories;
  • have empirical significance as an industry output (goods or services), inputs to production, consumer expenditures, exports, imports, etc.;
  • be collectable and publishable; be linked to a funded program for data collection;
  • be relevant, that is, it must be of analytical interest, result in data useful to users, and be based on appropriate statistical research and subject-matter expertise;
  • be consistent with the Canadian System of National Accounts;
  • products which can possibly be used to construct price indexes;
  • products closely aligned with Trilateral NAPCS and other product classifications such as the Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP), the Central Product Classification (CPC), the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) and the Extended Balance of Payments Services (EBOPS);
  • special attention will be given to specific products, including:
    • new and emerging goods and services
    • products related to new or advanced technologies, including: Artificial Intelligence and virtual reality; Internet of Things ("smart goods"), intermediary services; services related to cloud technology; block chain applications and related services; autonomous and near-autonomous vehicles; nanomaterials and other advanced materials; etc.
    • cannabis products;
    • bundles in general (of services in particular).

NAPCS Canada Classification Structure

NAPCS Canada is a 7-digit classification, grouped in a 4-level structure: groups formed by 3-digits, classes formed by 5-digits, subclasses by 6-digits and 7-digit details.

Changes may be proposed for any level, however changes to the 3, 4 and 5-digit levels have the most impact on the existing statistical programs using NAPCS Canada, and also on the correspondence to be maintained with Trilateral NAPCS. Any changes made to NAPCS Canada could have an impact on Trilateral NAPCS which is subject to trilateral negotiation and approval of the three countries. Changes to the 7-digit of NAPCS Canada are less likely to have a huge impact on the current statistical programs or Trilateral NAPCS. Statistics Canada makes the final decision about changes to all levels of NAPCS Canada, but needs to consider the impact on the alignment to Trilateral NAPCS, in particular to avoid conceptual misalignments and maintain comparability.

NAPCS Canada 2017 Version 2.0 is the latest version of the classification for the participants of this consultation to base their input on.

Costs associated with proposals

Statistics Canada will not reimburse respondents for expenses incurred in developing their proposal.

Treatment of proposals

Statistics Canada will review all proposals received. Statistics Canada reserves the right to use independent consultants or government employees, if deemed necessary, to assess proposals.

If deemed appropriate, a representative of Statistics Canada will contact respondents (including by the way of virtual and physical meetings) to ask additional questions or seek clarification on a particular aspect of their proposal.

Please note that proposals will not necessarily result in changes to NAPCS Canada.

Official languages

Proposals may be written in either of Canada's official languages - English or French.


Statistics Canada is committed to respecting the privacy of consultation participants. All personal information created, held or collected by the Agency is protected by the Privacy Act. For more information on Statistics Canada's privacy policies, please consult the Privacy notice.

Note of appreciation

We thank all participants for their continued interest and involvement in the various NAPCS Canada engagement activities. Your contributions are valuable to us.


If you have any enquiries about this process, please send them to:

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