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April 10, 2001 Volume 4 Number 4


* Introduction - Editor's Comments

* What's New at

* Statistics Canada releases

* The Internet Autopsy

* Comparing data sources - who's right?

* Small Business Stats Facts



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Welcome to this issue of the BR Newsletter.

We have lots of grand announcements in this issue. After a few months of "to and fro" we finally have our data licensing agreement from Statistics Canada. This means that our much anticipated Canadian Market Estimates is now available (see article below) and that we can now offer Statistics Canada publications and electronic products at a price below retail without shipping charges!

To celebrate we are offering a special 20% discount on all books and 15% on all electronic products until the release of our next newsletter. This discount is only available to BR Newsletter subscribers since you will not be able to order these products at out site until mid-May. (Be thankful our IT department is overworked - By the way that's Jennifer and me - we are also the head bottle washers.)

To place an order, send us an e-mail ( with your telephone number and we will contact you to collect shipping and payment details. Put "StatsCan" in the subject line of your e-mail.

Some of the more popular Stats Can products you might consider include:



The 2001 edition was just released on March 13, 2001. This is a standard reference tool for libraries across the country. It provides a timely profile of social and economic life in Canada. It includes stories, essays, statistical tables as well as contemporary artwork and photographs that illuminate the story of our nation.

It makes both an excellent gift and a solid reference book.

For more information see the Statistics Canada catalogue:


Statistics Canada Retail price: $65.00

GDSourcing price for next three weeks: $52.00



The 2000 edition of this immensely popular reference guide was released October 23, 2000. The handbook is designed to be a comprehensive source of socio-economic statistics for all those who study the Canadian consumer market - market researchers, strategists, product planners and sales leaders. The broad range of data is equally relevant to consumer and business-to-business marketing. They present profiles of key industries including the small business sector, as well as of consumers in all provinces and 45 major cities. International trade data and projections - of population, households, families and selected economic indicators, etc. - provide information for businesses seeking to expand or develop new product lines.

For more information see the Statistics Canada catalogue:

Statistics Canada Retail price: $125.00

GDSourcing price for next three weeks: $100.00



This CD-ROM product provides 6 ratios for approximately 680 industries in the incorporated business sector of the Canadian economy. The six ratios are: net profit margin, pretax profit margin, gross profit margin, pretax profit to assets, return on equity and liabilities to assets. The year over year percentage change in sales as well as the percentage distribution of firms by profits/losses is shown for each industry. Three years of data are provided 1997, 1998 and 1999. This product was released on January 30, 2001. It is an excellent reference for accountants, business advisors and economic development centres. Contact us for a sample.


For more information see the Statistics Canada catalogue:

Statistics Canada Retail price: $220.00

GDSourcing price for next three weeks: $187.00

For a full list of Statistics Canada publications please see their on-line catalogue:

For the latest Statistics Canada releases see below in the Statistics Canada section of this newsletter.

In other news, we are working diligently away on updating our research guide. It will be available in May 2001. It promises to be the most comprehensive edition yet!

Some of you may have noticed that we are again backlogged with HPS orders. Our waiting list is now into mid-May. Unfortunately it will remain like that for some time.

Finally, now that the nice weather is back (in some parts of the country) make sure you put aside business concerns for moment and get outside to enjoy it. For those areas still enduring the winter, don't worry, the end is in sight!!!

Thank you for your subscription.

I hope you find this issue helpful.

John White

Editor, BRN





The following web sites were added to the GDSourcing index over the last three weeks. GDSourcing is a reference point for free Canadian statistics on-line.



GDSourcing Site Summary:

- Sport Participation in Canada

- National Summit on Amateur Sport



GDSourcing Site Summary:

- Sector Intelligence Surveys & Reports (includes compensation trends as well as sector profile)



GDSourcing Site Summary:

- Wireless facts & figures, Canadian wireless industry overview



GDSourcing Site Summary:

- Retail sales in Canada by kind of business 1996 - 2000

- Retail sales in Canada by province & major market 1996 - 2000







The following statistics were release by Statistics Canada over the last four weeks. We have listed those releases we feel are of the most interest to Canadian entrepreneurs.

Very few of these statistics are available on-line. The URL listed is a direct link to the press release associated with the data. It provides contact and ordering information.

If you want to purchase any publication or electronic products related to these releases please contact us. For the next three weeks we are offering a 20% discount on books and a 15% discount on electronic products. You can reach us at Put "StatsCan" in the subject line of your e-mail.



Farming operating revenues and expenses 1999 (final estimates)




Film, Video and Audio-visual Production Survey and Motion Picture Laboratory Operations and Production and Post-production Services Survey 1998




Networked Canada: The information and communications technology sector 1993 to 1999




Annual Demographic Statistics - 2000


Population projections 2000-2026


Stillbirths 1998


Survey of Financial Security 1999


Personal income and expenditure by province 2000


2001 Canada Year Book




National balance sheet accounts 2000


2001 Canada Year Book




Labour market outcomes of arts and culture graduates 1995


Literacy, numeracy and labour market outcomes in Canada 1994


Training as a human resource strategy: The response to staff shortages and technological change


Survey of Approaches to Educational Planning 1999




Electric power generating stations 1999




Canada's international investment position 2000




Shelters for abused women 1999/2000




General Social Survey: Internet use 2000


Electronic commerce and technology 2000




Aquaculture statistics 1999


Coal mining 1999




Biotechnology use and development 1999




Profile of Canadian exporters 1993 to 1999




Small for-hire and owner operators of motor carriers of freight 1998


Taxi and limousine service industry 1998 (preliminary)




National tourism indicators Fourth quarter 2000 and year 2000




Work absence rates 2000


Employment structure in rural and small town Canada: An overview


Job tenure, worker mobility and the youth labour market during the 1990s


Historical Labour Force Statistics - 2000






The Internet is not a research tool for the faint of heart. The corpses of once useful links are scattered everywhere and you always seem to stumble on them just as you are about to find that one piece of information you need. Before you beginning swearing and breaking monitors and keyboards stop to consider the reality of the situation and the more productive options available to you.

First of all you must accept the fact that the Internet is not a library. Web sites are not shelves on which books and information are stored. The Internet has no regard for history or continuity and "publishers" can completely remove their content on a redesigning whim.

Information is generally made available on web sites in order to attract traffic, sell products or establish corporate credibility. It has nothing to due with the altruistic motive of "sharing information".

Whether it is to save face or server space companies and organizations have therefore adopted the particularly annoying habit of removing files that they deem are too old. There is no regard as to whether or not any more current information can be provide in its place. In some cases we have seen entire "libraries" of useful reports removed in one weekend's "site redesign"!

While we all fear the worst when we come across a dead link, every link has three last chances for life.


The Internet is not a stable environment, web site servers can drop off-line at any time. Often it is due to maintenance work or traffic overloads but when you click on a link and get the dreaded "404" screen you cannot be sure what the problem is. We have experienced server problems from micro businesses to major corporations and government departments. No one is immune. Happily server interruptions are generally not fatal to content and most servers are resurrected in a matter of minutes or at most a few hours.

You can check to see if the server is down by examining the link as it appears in your browser's address line. You can identify the server by the root of the web address. Do not be afraid to dissect an Internet address. You cannot hurt it!

The standard root is "". Generally the third "/" in a web address tells you where the root ends. For example in the address for our Canadian Internet Business Research Centre ( you can tell that our root address is The "gdsinternet.htm" following the third "/" identifies a particular web page.

To test to see if a server is active, click your mouse cursor at the end of the Internet address in your browser's address line. Now backspace over the address until your have deleted everything but the address root. Now hit enter. If you still get a "404" you know there is a problem with the server. Try back again in a couple hours.

If the root address works but your link is still dead then see option 2 below.

If the root address still does not work or if it links you to a different source than you expected (e.g. an Internet service provider) there are two possibilities.

The first is that the source has changed their web server. To find out if this is the case, use a few search engines to see if you can find another Internet address for the company, organization or government department that you are looking for. You will want to search on both the report/survey title and the organization's name.

The second possibility is that the organization is no longer on-line. A recent Statistics Canada survey has found that in some industry sectors there has been a drop in the number of companies with web sites. For example between 1999 and 2000 there was a 4.8% drop in the percentage of companies with a web site in the Transportation and warehousing sector. The solution to this scenario is addressed in option 3 below.




Many web designers are so eager to improve performance that they do not take the time to recognize what actually worked well on the original site. Many dead links are caused when the most popular pages of a site - those pages that were linked to by search engines as well as other web sites and directories - are moved or removed.

Oftentimes, the web redesign only changes file names or directories but leaves the content intact. In this case it is a matter of figuring out where the content was moved to. If the root directory works (see above), you will be taken to the home page of the source site. From there use their site search engine to find the files your are interested in or look for sections entitled "publications" or "research" or whatever else may be appropriate in your situation.

Search not only for the web page/report title (as indicated in the link) but for the file name as well. The file name is the last part of a web address. It will generally end with .html, .htm or .pdf. For example in the web address above "gdinternet.htm" is the file name. Sometimes however web design features such as frames and java scriptings can obfuscate file names. If the file name is not immediately clear move on to option 3.

Remember to be persistent when you are searching for a file name. You would be amazed at how deep some information can get buried!



If you cannot locate the file on the site or if the server has remained down for an extended period of time, you must move beyond your browser. Start by sending an e-mail to the web site asking about the content you are looking for. Of course it is only possible to send an e-mail if the web server is still operating and you can find an appropriate e-mail address.

If you are unable to find an e-mail address, then contact the source off-line. I know it sounds radical, but the telephone can still be an effective research tool. Use Canada411 ( to get a number for the source company/organization and then call them to ask about the information you are looking for. They may be able to direct you to a library that carries the publication, send you information by mail, e-mail, fax or let you know another source you might consult.

Dead links are annoying but get used to them. You will stumble across them frequently when researching on the Internet. Every two weeks we conduct a thorough check of all our links and identify 3-5 pages worth of dead links. Most are only temporary server problems, a few are the results of site redesigns and a couple links are genuinely dead! Do not despair when you trip on a corpse. A careful "autopsy" will often prove the link is only dormant or misdirected.

Conducting business research is not like completing a shopping list by quickly filling your grocery cart with products off the shelf. Rather it is more like an inquest where many options and leads need to be followed to arrive at the truth. A dead link does not signal that information is "out of stock" but rather that you need to get Da Vinci or Quincy on the case.





When you are researching your market and industry it is inevitable that you will find there are wide discrepancies in some of the information you have gathered. You need to reconcile the different sources and understand why some information may appear contradictory.

Know the strengths and weaknesses of each source. Is it impartial? Quite a few studies were released in the late '80s on the benefits of oat bran. Much of this research was conducted on behalf of the Quaker Oats company. This is not to say sponsored research is inherently false. It is just a good idea to keep in mind that certain results can be highlighted beyond their overall importance.

Also consider the sample size on which the statistics are based. In some cases less than 100 companies or individuals are consulted. Such a sampling alone is not strong enough to base any decisions on. Do not dismiss such surveys, however use them in combination with other statistics and information you have collected.

Most government data is based on very large sample sizes, but the data is often of a more general nature. In the case of the Statistics Canada Survey of Household Spending, it is highly likely the published data will not cover your exact product/service. The sample size however, is between 2,000 and 10,000 households, depending on the variable being examined. When using the Survey of Household Spending data consider other products/services related to yours. How might they alter the demographics you anticipated? There may be a broader market for your product/service than you expected. If people are already heavy purchasers of a related product/service, you may be able to attract a new customer to your industry.

You will also want to consider the time differences between all your secondary sources. In general most published information is at least one year out of date. Your own experiences and contacts are your only source of current information. Use this time difference to your advantage. Perhaps there is a trend developing within the customer base. For example, if you found that heavy purchasers of a particular product are now younger households than indicated in the Survey of Household Spending, it may mean there is an age shift involved in your market. Your potential market may be larger than you first believed. Find out why older households are buying less and younger ones are buying more. You may be able to advertise more effectively. Reflect on how you could make your own product/service more attractive to take advantage of this apparent trend.

You should also do a keyword search on the survey title and the survey source in general and industry media periodicals. (e.g. Electric Library Canada: Oftentimes this will alert you to conflicting views about a survey and its implications. Make sure you carefully read all arguments for and against the results you have uncovered. You may also find out about other related surveys you did not know existed.

Finally there is the rule of 90%. Always treat survey results of 90% or more with caution. Generally when a question receives such a high response it is either too broad in nature or was asked to too few of people.

For example a recent Tea Council of Canada survey found that 9 out of 10 Canadians enjoy tea. While this figure may seem impressive keep in mind it does not mean 9 out of 10 people passing your teahouse will enter, nor does it even mean that 9 out of 10 Canadians buy tea regularly. It just means that 9 out of 10 Canadians enjoy tea. Make certain that you do not read too much information into high response levels and that you understand the true nature of the question asked.

Never dismiss one data source over another. Every piece of data is telling you something. However every source has its limitations. Make sure you recognize them.






1. Are Canadian small business owners part of a dual income family?

Depends on their gender.

66% of all small business owners were in dual income families.

However, women small business owners were more likely than male small business owners to have a spouse who worked full time (74% of women were in dual-income families vs 58% of men).

Source: CIBC (2000)


2. How much time do Canadian small business owners spend on work?

Small business owners spend a substantial number of hours in paid employment per week. The typical small business owner spends 51 hours per week in paid employment. There are no gender differences in these data. This is approximately 10 hours more per week in paid employment than their employees (40.5 hours per week working) or employees in the private sector (40.0 hours per week working).

Source: CIBC (2000)


3. How much time do Canadian small business owners spend on non-work activities?

The typical small business owner spends 10 hours/week in home chores and errands and 7.5 hours per week in child care. Women small business owners spend more time in both home chores (14 hours per week versus 9 hours per week) and child care (10 hours per week versus 7 hours per week) than their male counterparts. In other words, women small business owners are like other employed women in that they have the main responsibility for family roles (i.e., the second shift).

Source: CIBC (2000)


4. What percentage of small businesses are unionized?

Unionization is rare in the small business sector; only 6% of the companies are unionized.

Source: CIBC (2000)



5a What are top three reasons why it is better to be an employee of a small business?

1. Nature and variety of job requirements

2. Schedule of working hours

3. Respect received from boss

Source: CIBC (2000)


5b What are top three reasons why it is better to be an employee of a large business?

1. Types of benefits received

2. Attention to workplace safety

3. Current work load

Source: CIBC (2000)

All of this data was taken from the study: Human Resource and Work-Life Practices in Canadian Small Businesses: Managing People and Managing Growth available at the CIBC web site: =Yes&targetService=RetailConsumer&lob=ps&locale=en_CA&fullFrame=




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UPDATED: 05/12/03
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