Late last month, Statistics Canada released data on active businesses in Canada, and I thought I’d go through it to see how Alberta fared.
The most recent data is July 2022, so keep that in mind.
First, here’s the number of active businesses in each province, as of July 2022.
Alberta came in fourth place, which shouldn’t be that surprising given that it has the fourth highest population as well.
Now, let’s look at how that number compares to the past. First over the previous month.
|Jun 2022||Jul 2022||Change||% change|
Between June and July 2022, Alberta saw the largest decrease in active businesses in the country. The province’s active businesses decreased by 411, from 118,622 to 118,211.
Ontario, which topped the list, saw 555 more active businesses this past July than they did the month before.
On the other hand, on a percentage basis, Alberta placed 9th on the list, ahead of only Nova Scotia.
Now let’s take a look at how things changed in each province over the past year.
|Jul 2021||Jul 2022||Change||% change|
Alberta jumps up to 4th place, which isn’t that much of a shocker, given that we have the fourth largest population, which I pointed out earlier. But it reminds us to keep in mind that 1 month of data may not tell us the entire story.
Since Alberta has the fourth largest population, it makes sense that it’d have the fourth largest increase, in absolute numbers. But what about on a percentage basis, which gives us a more accurate picture of performance?
Over the last year, the number of active businesses in Alberta increased by just 0.54%, which drops the province down to second from the bottom.
Only 1 other province—Saskatchewan—saw a smaller increase. Of the other 8 provinces, 5 of them saw increases higher than 2% since July 2021. The national average was 2.62%, roughly 5 times as large the increase Alberta saw.
The story is pretty similar when comparing 2 years.
|Jul 2020||Jul 2022||Change||% change|
Once again, Alberta’s increase of 9,389 active businesses over the last 2 years puts it in 4th place; however, they drop to 6th place on a percentage basis (8.63%), still putting them in the bottom half.
Finally, let’s look at active businesses over the last 3 years:
|Jul 2019||Jul 2022||Change||% change|
In this case, Alberta falls all the way to last place, joining just 3 other provinces—New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador—who saw decreases in the number of their active businesses.
Compared to July 2019, Alberta still has nearly 1,900 fewer active businesses. The next largest loss was felt in Newfoundland and Labrador, which saw 737 fewer businesses.
The largest increase was seen in Ontario, which has 7,200 more active businesses than they did in July 2019.
On the plus side, Alberta wasn’t in last place for the percentage of active businesses lost: Newfoundland and Labrador took that honour.
Alberta’s lost of 1.58% of its active businesses over the last 3 years put it in second to last place, on a percentage basis.
Even so, the fact that Alberta has seen the largest loss in active businesses in the country is notable, given that July 2019 was the month the UCP implemented their so-called Job Creation Tax Cut.
When the UCP announced that they were going to be cutting how much they would tax corporate profits, they promised that it would result in more jobs, that it would encourage companies to move here.
But if we have companies shutting their doors, can we really say that the tax cut accomplished what they promised us it would?