Search for Canadian Statistics




May 26, 2001 Volume 4, Number 5


* Introduction - Editor's Comments

* What's New at

* Statistics Canada releases

* The Antidote for Keyword Searches


* Small Business Stats Facts



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Welcome to this issue of the BR Newsletter.

Yes we are still in business! I know. I know. No newsletter for 5 weeks, two weeks without a Stats Fact of the week, no Internet StatsPack for a few months... Well we are back! Well actually we did not really go anywhere. We were frantically trying the complete the 5th edition of Researching a Small Business. We have had unprecedented interest in it this year and I know many people have been anxiously waiting for the new edition. I am glad to say:


We got a bit carried away with the updates this time nearly doubling the size of the guide to 676 pages. The source lists are now organized by subsector and have been increased by over 1200 entries. These include the latest Stats Can reports, industry association surveys reported in trade periodicals and all private sector surveys released through Canada Newswire in 2000 and the beginning of 2001. New information has been added throughout, old information updated and all 3000 plus Internet links have been checked and verified (although knowing the Internet some are already obsolete!). Without a doubt this is our best edition ever!

We promised everyone we would maintain 2000 prices but our printing company was not impressed with the 311 new pages so some compromises had to be made. The electronic version is available for download at the GDSourcing site right now at last year's price of $35.00. If you order a paper version now we will honour last year's price of $50.00 for the next two weeks (until June 10, 2001) After that the price will increased to the 2001 price of $65.00. Paper versions will not be ready to ship until June 1, 2001

To place an order or for more information on the guide please see:

We would like to thank everyone who took advantage of our 20% discount sale on Statistics Canada publications. As I warned you in the last issue of the newsletter the deal is now off! We will however be offering a 20% discount on newly released publications from Statistics Canada on the week of their release. Make sure you check our home page to see what publications are on special each week. This week's special is Education in Canada 2000.

It summarizes data on institutions, enrolment, graduates, teachers and finance for all levels of education. Its 206 pages, which include 71 tables, present a comprehensive overview of the key variables in Canadian education.

For more information see the Statistics Canada catalogue:


Statistics Canada Retail price: $51.00

GDSourcing price for the next week: $40.80

To place an order see our home page ( or send me an e-mail ( with your telephone number and someone will contact you to collect shipping and payment details. Put "StatsCan" in the subject line of your e-mail.

By the way we are still offering a 15% discount on all other Stats Can books and a 10% discount on electronic products.

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 five weeks. GDSourcing is a reference point for free Canadian statistics on-line.



GDSourcing Site Summary:



GDSourcing Site Summary:



GDSourcing Site Summary:



GDSourcing Site Summary:






The following statistics were release by Statistics Canada over the last five 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. We offer a 15% discount on Stats Can publications and a 10% discount on Stats Can electronic products. You can reach us at Put "StatsCan" in the subject line of your e-mail.



Agriculture value added account 1981 to 1999

Balance sheet of the agricultural sector at December 31 1981 to 1999

Farm business cash flows 1981 to 1999 (revised)

Farm Input Price Index 2000 (preliminary)

Farm families' total income 1998

Greenhouse, sod and nursery industries 2000

Production of poultry and eggs 2000 Statistics Canada (May 15, 2001)

Red meat consumption 2000



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

Working with computers 2000



Electric utility construction price indexes 1999 (final) and 2000 (preliminary)



Telecommunications statistics 1998



Deaths 1998



Foreign control in the Canadian economy 1998

Labour productivity and multifactor productivity 2000 (revised)



Education in Canada 2000

Income prospects of British Columbia university graduates

Report on adult education and training in Canada: Learning a living - 1998



Adult criminal court statistics 1999/2000



Quarterly Retail Commodity Survey

Year 2000 and fourth quarter 2000 (preliminary)



Children and youth at risk: Symposium report April 2000

The health divide: How the sexes differ

How Health are Canadians

Health Indicators April 2001

Repeat users of Employment Insurance 1997



Domestic travel

Year 2000 and fourth quarter 2000 (preliminary)

"Canada benefiting from cruising boom," Travel-log Statistics Canada (cat#87-003) (Spring 2001)

"Survey of Adventure Travel Operators 1999"



Annual Survey of Manufacturers - 1999

Quarterly Business Conditions Survey: Manufacturing industries



Production and value of wildlife pelts 1998 (revised) and 1999 (preliminary)



Operating and employment statistics for railways 1999

Road motor vehicle registrations 2000 (preliminary)






We live in a time when the availability of information has never been greater. Unfortunately, as the volume of data and reports grows exponentially, the ability to effectively access this information is collapsing under the weight.

It is impossible to read everything so information specialists, librarians and researchers are relying more and more on computer databases. While the keyword search is an effective research tool, it should not be the only research tool employed.

You must keep in mind that a keyword search is usually executed on a database that contains a series of five or less "fields": title, author, publisher, publication date and description (25 words or less). No matter how concise a cataloguer is, their description cannot cover much more than a mere "shadow" of a report/study. Add to that the fact that typos are not uncommon, and terminology is not always standard and you can see how flawed a keyword search can be.

A keyword search that indicates "no result" does not really tell you anything. It simply says the data you are looking for, the way you described it, is not covered in the title, author or description fields of a database citation.

There are some databases where you are given the illusion that you are searching the content of entire documents, notably periodical databases and the Internet but do not be fooled. This is never the case.

In 1999 Internet search engines covered 1/6th of the content of the Internet. By the end of 2000 that number dropped to 1/500th. The principal reason for this is the increased use of file formats such as pdf and dynamic databases that are all but invisible to search engines. In fact I rarely find the exact information I am looking for anymore through an Internet search engine. Search engines will identify sites and on-line communities but the data itself is usually buried beyond their reach.

Similarly, periodical databases are not complete representations of magazines or newspapers. First of all each periodical database covers a different range of newspapers and magazines. And secondly nearly all of them only cover the text of an article. Statistical information is often presented in a graphical format which is rarely translated into a database. Unless a specific reference to data is made in an article (which is not always the case) you would never know through a keyword search that the data you wanted was included in the article.

So how do your counter the shortcomings of the keyword search. First of all you must take a creative approach to research. Think beyond the data you are looking for to the sources of the type of data you need. Who might collect the type of information you need? Who would also be interested in the data you require? Search for these sources and then - the key to research success - BROWSE.

Unscientific - you bet cha! Time consuming - definitely! Effective - no question about it!

Of course when I say "browse" I do not mean you should start flipping through every book in the library. What I mean is take the time to actually look through sources related to your industry and market. Use contacts and keyword searching as a means to put yourself in the right research location whether that be a specific shelve in the library, a particular periodical related to your industry or market or a specialized Internet community. Once you find that location then take the time to actually look at the documents there.

If it is a library shelve take the books off the shelf and read through the table of contents and index. If it is a particular periodical look through a hard copy version of the publication. If a hard copy version is not available, look through an electronic version. Keyword search on the publication's title. This will give you a list of every article from the publication available in the database you are searching. By browsing through articles in this way you often find topics and trends you never considered. You may also find industry or market specific terminology you can then use for keyword searching in other databases.

On the Internet you will generally find that web sites from particular industries cluster together. They provide links to one other or reference one another in their content. Most often the hub for a particular industry's Internet community is an association web site but in many cases it is a particular company that has established a strong Internet presence. You will want to browse through all related web sites. Carefully sift the content on each looking for relevant references, contacts and links.

We recently did research related to small claims court in Canada and collections agencies. Some of the key information we found was entirely hidden from keyword searches. First of all we knew from related newspaper articles that small claims courts in Canada have undergone numerous changes over the last ten years. We therefore went to the government documents section of a reference library and looked in the section under the provincial Attorney General. There we found Law Reform Commission reports. Included in one such report was a chapter on small claims court which referenced available data and commented on it. From that "hidden" information we were then able to track down two other reports.

Browsing also helped us to find key data related to collections agencies such as the percentage of businesses that used collections agencies in Ontario in the last five years (15%). The data came from a pdf file (invisible to Internet search engines) located at the Law Society of Upper Canada's web site in a report entitled: Report of the Paralegal Task Force (This is included in our site summary added last week:

We knew from the law commission report mentioned above that lawyers, paralegals and collections agencies all went to small claims court for their clients. When we conducted an Internet Search on paralegals we found the Report of the Paralegal Task Force but it was not until we started browsing the report that we found specific information on collections agencies. This information in relation to the report is only a couple of paragraphs and so would have never appeared in a library citation. Without browsing it would have never been found.

Researching a new business is not something that can be accomplished in one evening at the library and one Saturday morning on the Internet. Do not rely solely on a keyword search. Take the time to look around and browse, you will be reward with useful and important information.





Statistics Canada's CANISM database (the Canadian Socio-economic Information Management database) has finally received a face-lift and upgrade. Since 1969, CANSIM has been a point of access for tracking trends in virtually every aspect of Canadian life, from demographics to manufacturing to international trade.

I have always thought this database was well suited to the Internet environment. Its chief advantages are that you can access the data yourself (no need for a Stats Can middleman) and small data retrievals are inexpensive ($3.00 per time series). Of course the principle draw back was that it was a cumbersome and clunky system not well suited to new researchers.

Happily CANSIM II ( has solved the main problem while not compromising the main advantages. Improvements include: multi-dimensional access to make finding information easier than ever; a new user-friendly format with improved labels, terminology and footnotes; and exhaustive data not previously found in CANSIM on a wide range of topics. CANSIM II contains more than 1.3 million individual data time series. Data are updated on the day that new values for these series are released.

You can search for data by theme, keyword, table number or series number. However I still found it somewhat difficult to find certain data tables I was looking for that I knew were part of CANSIM! My solution to this same problem in CANSIM I is just as effective in CANSIM II. Use the Daily to search for key information. CANSIM tables are linked directly to their related news releases.

The Daily is located here:

Make sure your business research includes a trip to CANSIM II. (By the way in case you were wondering - we do not receive any commissions from the CANSIM purchases.)






Each Business Researcher Newsletter ends with a collection of five statistics that every entrepreneur should be aware of.

1. What percentage of Small & Medium-sized businesses in Canada use the Internet?

Spring 1999.61%

Fall 1999..74%

Spring 2000.74%

Fall 2000..76%

Source SES Research


2. What percentage of Small & Medium-sized businesses in Canada have bought or sold on the Internet?

Spring 1999.27%

Fall 1999..35%

Spring 2000.41%

Fall 2000..40%

Source SES Research


3. How much did Small & Medium-sized businesses in Canada sell on the Internet?

Fall 1999..$240 million

Spring 2000.$350 million

Fall 2000..$590 million

Source SES Research


4. How much did Small & Medium-sized businesses in Canada buy on the Internet?

Fall 1999..$430 million

Spring 2000.$410 million

Fall 2000..$720 million

Source SES Research


5. What percentage of the Canada population are High Net Worth Individuals?

High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) are those people with investable assets of at least US$1million, excluding real estate.

4.7% or 177,000 people (a 3% raise over the number of people in 1999)

Source: Merrill Lynch and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young



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UPDATED: 07/31/03
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