Statistics Canada's CANSIM: A check-up for your business plan

May 10, 2012 - TAGS: Planning, Research and data

This guest blog post is provided by Statistics Canada who is responsible for producing statistics that help Canadians better understand their country — its population, resources, economy, society and culture.

Is your business still on track? It's easy to get so busy with day-to-day operations that you lose sight of your business plan's objectives. Have you stepped back lately to reassess adjustments you might need to make due to changing economic conditions?

The CANSIM socio-economic database can help revive your business plan. You can access this database for free online. It's been free since February 2012. Whatever business sector you are in — retail, industry, service or hospitality — CANSIM has data on it. Updates are made to the site every week day as new data becomes available. It's likely that some of the key factors you considered in your original business plan may have shifted in today's rapidly changing social and economic climate. You can use CANSIM to analyze the trends in your market. Perhaps you have experienced cost overruns or revenue shortfalls. A search may reveal changes in demographics or incomes that influence customer habits, or perhaps even a rise in the number of competitors in your area. This database can provide a wealth of data that you can use to identify the cause and re-evaluate your business plan.

An important thing to remember about this database is that it's comprehensive; it houses information from 350 Statistics Canada surveys. So where to begin? To solve that for new CANSIM users, Statistics Canada has included a video tutorial (link no longer valid) that demonstrates how to navigate its new interface so you can hone in on the information you want — in your region, in your business sector, in your market — and examine that information over time to pinpoint trends. You can customize table results in countless ways. If you've never used it before, the five-minute tutorial is certainly worth viewing.

So maybe it's time to revisit your business plan to make sure it reflects what's really happening in your market. CANSIM can help.

Frequent check-ups help keep businesses healthy too.


Posted by Teresa on May 15, 2012
If I want to start my own business with a HOME CHILD CARE, what would be my first step? Could I get financial help to get a house that complies with all requirements for having kids in it?

In case financial help for housing is not offered, what help could I get to start my own business?

Thanks for the help

Posted by Canada Business Network on May 15, 2012
Hi Teresa,

There is a number of steps to take when starting your home child care business. Our Before starting your business section highlights some of the first steps and first decisions to make. The Business start-up checklist
will help guide you through the next steps such as looking into general business regulations and those specific to child care services.

You can use our online tool to search for financing by type of business, location and type of financing.

For more information on starting or growing a business in Canada, contact the Canada Business service centre in your province or territory or call toll free 1-888-576-4444 (TTY 1-800-457-8466).

Good luck with your start-up
Posted by Paul on May 20, 2012
If I wanted to learn more about my community income levels, purchasing patterns, etc., how or where would I find that on Stats Can website - is this a free or paid service?
Posted by Canada Business Network on May 23, 2012
Hello Paul,

Thank you for contacting Canada Business.

You can search the Statistics Canada CANSIM database by term or browse by subject or survey free of charge.
Regarding fees, much of the data collected by Statistics Canada is available to the public free of charge, although some statistics are still fee-based. For further information or questions on CANSIM or other statistical information, contact Statistics Canada.

For more information on starting or growing a business in Canada, contact the Canada Business service centre in your province or territory or call toll free 1-888-576-4444 (TTY 1-800-457-8466).

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