A new study by the Conference Board of Canada and the Family Enterprise Xchange Foundation says that Canada’s family-owned businesses are the backbone of the national economy.
However, as reported in The Financial Post, not enough is known about the role these businesses play in the economy in order to ensure that they maintain their strong position.
The study found that $574.6 billion in goods and services produced in 2017 were accounted for by family-owned enterprise. That’s more than 35 per cent of Canada’s private sector output.
Family businesses directly employed 6.9 million Canadians in 2017, the study found. That’s just a shade under half of all private sector jobs, and 37.4 per cent of all jobs.
“Family-owned” may be a misleading term because while it may conjure up images of the corner store, titans of the economy like Loblaw and Bombardier are also in this category, contributing $191.9 billion of family-owned GDP.
The Financial Post quotes the report as saying that “although conventional wisdom suggests small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the economy, it is more accurate to assign this function to family enterprises.”
The study also says that data about things like access to financing, ownership, governance and succession planning is lacking when it comes to family-owned businesses.