indicatorThe Owl

Howdy neighbour

Alberta’s trade with the rest of Canada

By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 11 December 2023 1 min read

We talk a lot about international trade. And rightly so—it’s a major component of Alberta’s economy.

But trade between Alberta and the rest of Canada is also critically important, so today’s Owl provides a basic overview using the latest interprovincial trade numbers from Statistics Canada.*

As of last year, Alberta exported $72 billion** in goods and services to the rest of Canada representing 21% of our GDP. Our international exports, meanwhile, accounted for 36% of our GDP in 2022.

There is quite a large range across the provinces with Newfoundland and Labrador’s interprovincial exports accounting for just 10% of its GDP compared to a high of 29% in New Brunswick.

Alberta’s exports to other parts of Canada are almost evenly split between goods (53% of the total in 2022) and services (47%). Services, conversely, only accounted for 8.7% of Alberta’s international exports.

Like so many other things, Alberta’s sales to other parts of Canada fell in 2020 in concert with the first waves of the pandemic but have since bounced back.

In terms of what we export to other provinces and territories, oil and natural gas (including field services) is the largest category at 23% of the total in 2020 (latest data) followed by food and beverages (12%), gasoline and diesel (9%), wholesale services (7%), transportation services (7%) and professional services (6%). 

We also, of course, import a lot of goods and services from our Canadian neighbours—almost $75 billion in 2022. Unlike our interprovincial exports, we buy more services (65% of the total) from the rest of Canada than goods (35% of the total).

Banking, finance and insurance is the largest category of imports at 15%, wholesale services (11%), food and beverages (10%), professional services (9%), and transportation services (8%).

*Ironically, timely and detailed data on our trade with foreign countries are easier to obtain than statistics on our trade with the other provinces and territories.

**All data in today’s Owl are taken from Statistics Canada’s GDP accounts and are expressed in chained (2017) dollars.

Answer to the previous trivia question: The first United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP) was held in Berlin in 1995.

Today’s trivia question: From which province did Alberta import the most goods and services in 2020?

Alberta exported $72 billion worth of goods and services to other provinces and territories in 2022

Alberta exported $72 billion worth of goods and services to other provinces and territories in 2022

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