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Business Statistics on Being a Canadian Business Owner

Canadian Small Business Statistics


What's it like to be a Canadian small business owner? That’s the question these business statistics answer, from how small business owners feel about what they do through how many hours they typically work.

I've put together these Canadian small business statistics from various sources to answer people's common questions about small businesses in Canada. You can use them for market research or reports if you like, as long as you properly cite the sources.

What Is It Like to Be a Canadian Small Business Owner?

Canadian small business owners work long hours:

TD Canada Trust Small Business Survey, July 5, 2011

"...small business owners who work an average of 48.7 hours per week, up slightly from 47.8 in 2010. Calgary's small business owners work longer hours on average (52.1 per week) than other cities. As a result, many small business owners find it difficult to separate their business life from their personal life (60%), and the vast majority admit they can never truly stop thinking about their business (89%)."

Key Small Business Statistics - July 2008, Statistics Canada.

"The evidence is strong that the self-employed work longer hours than employees; this has been the case since at least 1987. On average, the self-employed worked 41.6 hours per week in 2007 compared with 35.6 hours for employees. Even more striking is the large difference in those who usually worked over 50 hours per week in 2007 – 35 percent of self-employed persons worked over 50 hours compared with less than 5 percent of employees."

Generally, Canadian small business owners are satisfied with the choice they made to become entrepreneurs:

TD Canada Trust Small Business Survey, July 5, 2011

Two-thirds of small business owners describe themselves as 'very happy' (66% versus 63% in 2010. The TD Canada Trust Small Business Survey, which examined the attitudes and behaviours of small business owners in four major Canadian cities, found Montreal small business owners were most likely to say they are "very happy" (70%), followed by Toronto (68%), Vancouver (66%) and Calgary (60%).

"Small Business Ownership Fun, But Long Hours", NBC5.com, October 22, 2007.

The Ipsos Reid Study polled 900 Canadian small business owners on behalf of HP Canada with the results reviewed by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).


  • 63 percent of the responders said they are motivated to continue with their small business because they find the work enjoyable.
  • 59 said they stick with it because of the independence the job brings.
  • 42 percent said they put in more than 53 hours of work a week.
  • 44 percent said the work was more demanding than they expected.

The small business owners reported a number of specific challenges, from finding new customers and markets (59 percent) to dealing with finances (47 percent) to handling government regulations and paperwork (42 percent).

"In a separate poll of 1,842 adult Canadians, the study found that 97 percent of the responders view entrepreneurs as highly motivated, 93 percent said they are innovative, 92 percent said they believe they are reliable, and 96 percent said that they perform quality work."

"Canadians recognize the valuable contribution small businesses make to this country," said Catherine Swift, president of CFIB. "With 97 percent of the businesses in Canada classified as 'small,' Canada is truly a nation of entrepreneurs."

"91 percent of those surveyed also said they believe it would be a rewarding experience to run their own business, and 89 percent said they think it would be rewarding to work in a small business."

And some Canadian small business owners like being an entrepreneur so much they just keep doing it:

RBC Annual Small Business Survey 2005, RBC Financial Group.

The RBC poll was conducted by Ipsos Reid between August 12 and August 16, 2005.

  • 41 percent of Canada's aspiring entrepreneurs have previously owned a business.
  • 31 percent of Canada's existing business owners have previously owned at least one other business.
  • 15 per cent have previously owned one other business, nine per cent have owned two other businesses, and six per cent have owned three or more businesses prior to the operation they are running now.
  • Repeat owners are more likely to be male (59 per cent versus 41 per cent). They are also more likely to be older (47 per cent of repeat owners are 55 or older while only 35 per cent of first time owners fall into this age group).

What's the best thing about being a small business owner?

TD Canada Trust Small Business Survey, July 5, 2011

"Small business owners say the top benefits of owning their own business are the sense of personal achievement (96%) and being able to help their customers and clients (96%). Other benefits are being their own boss (94%), being in control of their own destiny (94%) and the opportunity to make more money (85%)."

What do you think are the best things about being a small business owner? Add your thoughts here.

More Canadian Small Business Statistics

Statistics on How Many Canadian Small Businesses There Are
Statistics on Where Most Canadian Small Businesses Are Located
Statistics on the impact of Small Business on the Canadian Economy
Statistics on What Canadian Small Businesses Are Like
Statistics on Starting a Small Business in Canada
Statistics on Canadian Women in Business
More Small Business Statistics on Canadian Women in Business

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