Corporations Returns Act

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(This survey is not conducted under the Statistics Act but rather under the Corporations Returns Act.)

  • Block Information Survey-specific questions

    Survey-specific questions

    (This survey is not conducted under the Statistics Act but rather under the Corporations Returns Act.)

    What is the Corporations Returns Act?

    The Corporations Returns Act (CRA) is administered by the Chief Statistician of Canada under the authority of the Minister of Industry. The purpose of the Act is to collect financial and ownership information on corporations conducting business in Canada and to use this information to evaluate the extent and effect 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 Corporations Returns Act (CRA) formerly known as the Corporations and Labour Unions Returns Act (CALURA), was first introduced in 1962 to address concerns of rising foreign control. Since that time, Statistics Canada has prepared annual reports to Parliament monitoring the state of foreign control in the Canadian economy. Parliament officially amended the Act, deleting the requirement of labour unions to report under the Act. This amendment took effect in January 1999.

    In January 2014, the Corporations Returns Regulations were made by the Governor in Council and replaced the Corporations and Labour Unions Returns Regulations. These new regulations reflect all of the 1999 changes to the Act, removing all references to labour unions and resetting the numbering for the two remaining schedules, and also set the new thresholds for reporting.

    Who is required to file a CRA Return?

    According to the Act, corporations conducting business in Canada whose combined assets for the reporting period exceed 600 million dollars or whose combined gross revenue, from business conducted in Canada, exceeds 200 million dollars are required to provide financial and ownership information to Statistics Canada. Corporations under these limits but having long-term debt or equity owing directly or indirectly to non-residents in excess of a book value of 1 million dollars must report ownership information only. The thresholds were previously 15 million dollars in assets, 10 million dollars in gross revenue and $200,000 in debt or equity owing to non-residents. The Act stipulates that anyone who fails to complete and file a return is guilty of an offence and may be subject to legal proceedings.

    What are the survey results used for?

    The CRA data is a primary source of information about the foreign control of enterprises and mergers and acquisitions. This information can be found in Corporations Returns Act – Foreign Control in Canada, catalogue no. 61-220 XIE. In addition, the CRA data provides the ownership information required for the Inter-Corporate Ownership (ICO) (quarterly) product which provides detailed information on corporate structures at the micro data level.

    What types of questions will be asked in the CRA Schedules?

    Schedule I (Ownership Return - Requirement in law: Corporations Returns Act (formerly Schedule II)) requires the share capital, the name and address of the principal shareholders of the corporations and the number of shares held by each of them.

    Is it mandatory to complete and return the CRA Schedule?

    Yes. The schedule feeds directly into legally mandated programs, so response is mandatory to ensure an adequate response rate and reliable results. Through the Corporations Returns Act and the Statistics Act, Parliament has mandated Statistics Canada as the national statistical agency to produce this information.

    Is the CRA ownership information provided by businesses confidential?

    No. The ownership information provided by businesses on the Corporations Returns Act questionnaire is not confidential. According to the Corporations Returns Act, C-43, Article 16, "that information shall be made available by the Minister of Industry for inspection by any person, on application at any reasonable time and on payment of such fee, not exceeding one dollar in respect of any one corporation, as may be prescribed".

    However, any other financial information that the Corporations Returns Act ownership information is linked to is confidential in unaggregated form. For this reason, the financial data contained in the Corporations Returns Act – Foreign Control in Canada, catalogue no. 61-220 XIE, is tabulated in aggregate form to protect the confidentiality of businesses.

    The Statistics Act contains very strict confidentiality provisions that protect collected information from unauthorized access. The Canada Revenue Agency, the RCMP and the courts do not have access to individual survey responses.

    All Statistics Canada employees take an oath of secrecy and face severe penalties for any breach of confidentiality.

    The confidentiality provisions in the Statistics Act override the public's right to access government documents under the federal Access to Information Act.

    Statistics Canada takes special care to prevent statistics from being used to derive information about a particular company. The Agency carefully screens final results before releasing them to ensure the confidentiality of published information.

    Who uses the CRA ownership information?

    Users of the CRA Ownership information include:

    Government relies on these statistics to track the level of foreign control in Canada and to make policy decisions affecting the level of foreign control in selected industries.

    Businesses rely on these data for both information and analytical purposes. Data are used for such purposes as:

    • tracking foreign control
    • researching the hierarchical structure of businesses
    • tracking mergers and acquisitions activity
    • locating company head offices

    Academic community, media, industry associations, business analysts and investors use the data to:

    • analyze the level of foreign control in Canada

    What is the CRA ownership information used for?

    The Ownership information provided by businesses is used to determine country of control. The Corporations Returns Act – Foreign Control in Canada, catalogue no. 61-220 XIE relies on this country of control information in its portrayal of foreign control in the Canadian economy.

    In addition, the ownership information is used for the Inter-Corporate Ownership (ICO) quarterly product which provides users a convenient source of who owns whom in Canadian business.

    What information is available about the CRA concepts?

    The publication, Corporations Returns Act – Foreign Control in Canada, catalogue no. 61-220 XIE, provides background information regarding the concepts and methods relevant to the CRA program.

    How do I find out further information about the CRA Program?

    For further information, please contact the CRA section of the Industrial Organization and Finance Division (1-866-825-5975; 613-951-9858); To enquire about concepts, methods or data quality, contact Claude Vaillancourt 1-613-951-0807; or contact the Statistics Canada regional office nearest you.

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