Statistics Canada has launched the Real-time Local Business Conditions Index (RT-LBCI) as an experimental statistic to measure business activity in real time during the pandemic and beyond. Improving the timeliness of statistics has been a long-term objective of Statistics Canada. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, near real-time statistics have gained prominence as a way to monitor rapidly changing social and economic activities, as well as the impact of containment measures and the subsequent recovery.

The RT-LBCI is acknowledged that this signal does not capture all dimensions of business conditions. Moreover, the methodological developments of this index are ongoing. New data sources may be incorporated into the index computation over time and, consequently, the computation methods may too be revised over time.

There are three main sources of data that are used in the current version of the RT-LBCI, each used for a single component of the index: Business Register microdata, commercial APIs on business operation status, and road traffic data. The current version of the RT-LBCI is released as normalized index values with a baseline value set equal to 100 at the starting period of the series. An increase in the index value implies an improvement of business conditions in the geography of reference, while a decline of the index value implies a deterioration of business conditions. 

Here are the updates for major Canadian cities over the month of May:

Date Calgary Montreal Toronto
2022-05-02 230.85 259.42 188.14
2022-05-09 229.02 224.69 180.10
2022-05-16 229.57 204.62 186.82
2022-05-23 282.21 218.12 190.15

To view additional cities and data, visit the Statistics Canada website.

Source: Statistics Canada
Source: Statistics Canada