Skip to main content

Canada's underground economy totalled $45.6-billion in 2013, or about 2.4 per cent of gross domestic product, according to new figures from Statistics Canada.

Three industries – residential construction, retail trade, and accommodation and food services – accounted for more than half of underground economic activity.

Statscan defines the underground economy "as consisting of market-based economic activities, whether legal or illegal, that escape measurement because of their hidden, illegal or informal nature," and also notes that "some illegal activities, such as those related to drugs and prostitution, have been excluded" from its results.

At the household level, the top areas of underground expenditure were food and beverage services ($461 per household), rental fees for housing ($406), tobacco ($211), alcoholic beverages ($160), and the operation of transportation vehicles ($117).

The underground economy as a proportion of total GDP has stayed stable at 2.4 per cent since 2002.

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

If your comment doesn't appear immediately it has been sent to a member of our moderation team for review

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.