indicatorThe Owl

Alberta has the most large corporations per resident

The combined revenue of the 128 corporations headquartered in Alberta was $291 billion last year

By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 20 July 2021 2 min read

Identifying where Canada’s largest corporations are headquartered is a pretty blunt economic measure, but it does give us a rough sense of the corporate heft of different places.

Alberta was home to 128 of Canada’s 800 largest corporations (as measured by annual revenue) last year. This works out to about 16% of the total and is comfortably above our 12% share of the national population.

Expressed as the number of large corporations per 100,000 residents, Alberta leads all provinces at 2.9. The next highest is Ontario at 2.4 large corporations per 100,000 residents. It’s just 1.3 in Quebec and 0.9 in Atlantic Canada.

The Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) of Calgary was home to 102 of the 800 largest corporations in the country last year for a ratio of 6.6 per 100,000 Calgarians. The Edmonton CMA was home to 22 (1.5 per 100,000). The Toronto CMA had the most at 280 (4.2 per 100,000).

The combined revenue of the 128 corporations headquartered in Alberta was $291 billion and represented about 13% of the $2.3 trillion generated by all 800 corporations last year.

Unfortunately, the numbers for Alberta have been moving in the wrong direction.

In 2008, 151 of the 800 largest corporations in Canada were headquartered in Alberta or about 19% of the total. Consolidation within Alberta’s energy sector is a factor in the drop off, but Alberta’s share of the total revenue generated by the 800 corporations has also contracted, going from 23% in 2008 to 13% in 2020.

The battering our energy sector took last year helps explain the smaller share of the total revenue, but Alberta’s slice of the pie was already waning before the most recent price crash. It was, for example, down to 16% in 2018.

So while we continue to be at the top of the class when it comes to the number of large corporations located in Alberta, our share of the revenue generated by Canada’s 800 largest businesses is now roughly in line with our population size.

A better year in the energy sector will help, but we have work to do to attract the financial and human capital that will enable our corporate sector—and the economic benefits it generates—to grow rather than contract.

Answer to the previous trivia question: The word “wholesale” is thought to have its origins in the 15th century when the English words “whole” and “sale” were combined to mean “in large quantities.” In the contemporary economic context, it refers to the selling of goods to merchants, usually in large quantities for resale to consumers.

Today’s trivia question: Brookfield Asset Management Inc. is Canada’s largest company with $82.1 billion in revenue in 2020. In what city is it headquartered?

Alberta was home to 128 of Canada’s 800 largest corporations in 2020

Alberta was home to 128 of Canada’s 800 largest corporations in 2020


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