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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

April 29, 2024

Monthly (January 2024 vs December 2023, seasonally adjusted)

The number of active businesses in Nova Scotia grew 0.07% from December 2023 to January 2024 (going up to 20,736 active businesses).

Nationally, active businesses were up by 0.08%. Most provinces reported higher numbers of active businesses in January 2024 compared with December 2023. The largest growth was reported in Saskatchewan. The only declines were reported in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.

A business will be classified as 'opening' if it had no employment in the previous month and then has employment in the next month. A business is 'closing' if it had employment in the previous month and no employment in the current month. For opening and closing, the reason could be a permanent change (i.e. business exit) or temporary for reasons such as seasonal operations, capital maintenance or restructuring. Continuing business are those that had employment in both the current and previous month. Active businesses are the sum of continuing and opening business in the current month.

The rate at which business either opened, continued or closed can be examined to see how the number of active businesses has changed. The calculation for the opening, continuing and closure rates are based on the number of active businesses in the previous month. 

Most businesses continue operating each month. In January 2024, Nova Scotia's business continuing rate was 95.7%, similar to the national average of 95.5%. Québec reported the highest business continuing rate (96.3%) while Prince Edwar Island (94.5%) reported the lowest.

Nova Scotia's business opening rate was 4.4% in January 2024 (4.6% nationally). Prince Edward Island had the highest business opening rate (5.4%) while Quebec had the lowest (3.6%).

Nova Scotia's business closing rate was 4.4% in January 2024 (4.6% nationally). Prince Edwar Island reported the highest business closing rate (5.7%) while Québec had the lowest business closing rate (3.4%).

Year-over-year (January 2024 vs January 2023)

Compared with January 2023, the number of active businesses was up 0.33% for Nova Scotia, second only to Alberta. Nationally, active businesses were 0.18% higher than in January 2023. Prince Edward Island reported the largest year-over-year declines in active businesses. 

The number of active businesses in the Halifax and East Hants Census Metropolitan Area was up 1.8% from January 2023 to January 2024.   

Out of 35 CMAs, 22 reported growth in active businesses over the past 12 months. Calgary and Lethbridge reported the largest rises in the number of active businesses while Belleville reported the biggest decline.

Compared with January 2023, the number of active Nova Scotia businesses in January 2024 was lower in most business sector industries, led by forestry/fishing, mining/oil/gas, wholesale, retail, finance/insurance/management, administration/support, and arts/entertainment/recreation. From January 2023 to January 2024, there were increases in the number of active businesses in utilities, construction, information/culture, real estate/leasing, professional/technical services, accommodation/food and personal/repair services.

Nationally, the number of active businesses was down for many business sector industries except retail (unchanged), utilities, construction, professional/technical, arts/entertainment/recreation, accommodation/food, and personal/repair services.

Statistics Canada has broken out specific data for tourism-related industries. Compared with January 2023, the number of active tourism-related businesses declined 0.7% in Nova Scotia as of January 2024, with declines in transportation, recreation/entertainment, and food/beverage, offsetting increases in travel services and accommodations.

Nationally the number of tourism-related businesses increased 1.1% from January 2023 to January 2024. Growth in travel services, accommodations, and food/beverage offset declines in transportation and recreation/entertainment. 


There has been a downward trend in forestry/fishing active businesses, while the decline in mining/quarrying has stabilized in the last year. Utilities have also been stable over the past year.

After the pandemic, the number of active businesses in construction have steadily grown. Manufacturing businesses have remained stable for the past 2 years.

There have been small growth in recent months in active personal/repair services, while arts/recreation and accomodation/food experienced a slight decline in active businesses.

Retail and wholesale businesses have declined in recent months.

Real estate/leasing active businesses have been growing since after the pandemic, while administrative/support/call centre businesses have a recent decline. Transportation businesses have been trending down slightly over the last year, but have bounced back in the past two months. 

Growth in professional/technical services active businesses has stabilized in the recent months after steady gains in the last two years. Finance/insurance/management businesses have also trended down in recent months while the number of active businesses in information/culture has tredned up in recent months.  

The source data is seasonally adjusted. The data may not aggregate due to firms being classified into multiple industry or geography.

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 33-10-0270-01 Experimental estimates for business openings and closures for Canada, provinces and territories, census metropolitan areasMethodology: Business Opening and Closing

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