NAICS Canada

The classification of the NAICS Canada, Mexico and United States  was designed to provide a series of common NAICS definitions of the industrial structure shared by our three countries

First the 2012 NAICS Codes, the North American Industry Classification System is an INDUSTRY classification system developed by the statistical agencies of Canada, United States and Mexico.

Then the 2012 NAPCS Codes, the North American Product Classification System is a PRODUCTS  and SERVICES classification system also developed by the three national statistical agencies.

The standardized model developed for naics business codes and surveys by Statistics Canada is composed of four statistical entities, enterprises, establishments, companies and locations. 

  1. The enterprise is top of the hierarchy and is associated with a complete set of financial statements. 
  2. The establishment is the level at which the accounting data is required to measure the total production.
  3. The company is the level at which operating profit is measured.
  4. The location is at the bottom of the hierarchy and requires the number of employees only.

In short, industrial statistics are found under the North American Industrial Classification System, the NAICS Canada 2012 and products and services statistics are found under the North American Product Classification System, the NAPCS Canada 2012.

List of NAICS Codes 2012

The economic statistics of the 2012 NAICS Codes (I for Industry) describe the economic activities and transactions of both businesses and organizations engaged in the production of goods and services.

The primary sector of the economy extracts or harvests products from the earth. The secondary sector of the economy manufactures finished goods and the tertiary sector of the economy is the service industry.

At its highest level, the Canadian industry economy is divided into sectors and categories. 

Five sectors in the goods producing industries, fifteen sectors in the services producing industries and various categories in all sectors.

Goods producing industries are associated with the production of goods classified under the primary and secondary economic activities. Services producing industries are classified under the tertiary economic activities. 


The North American Product Classification System, the NAPCS 2012 (P for Product) is a classification system for those who wish to evaluate a product classification instead of an industry classification.

The NAPCS Canada 2012, the North American Product Classification System organizes goods and services throughout the three economies, primary, secondary and tertiary. 

The main objective of the classification structure of the NAPCS is to improve the coherence of the data in each of the three countries, Canada, United States and Mexico. 

Products can be described as services, tangible goods, or intangible goods. Services benefit the buyer but cannot be stored or transferred to third parties. 

Tangible goods are those with a physical presence and intangible goods have no physical presence but have ownership rights.

Users of 2012 NAICS Codes may want to evaluate whether the classification they require is industry-based or product-based and decide which classification, NAPCS or NAICS list of codes, better suit their needs.

NAICS Codes Canada

Both the NAICS Canada 2012 and the NAPCS Canada 2012 are  based on NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Both the industry data of the NAICS list of codes and the product data of the NAPCS list of codes can be analyzed, studied and compared to those in United States and Mexico.

Both the NAICS and the NAPCS codes are classification systems based on units of observation and measurement for which and from which data is collected.

Both the NAPCS and the NAICS code listings make it easier to conduct research on industries, to analyse goods and services and to compare companies to their competitors whether Americans, Mexicans or Canadians.

Codes NAICS Canada 

The Canadian, American and Mexican classification structures are comparable.

The structure of the North American Industries Classification System, the NAICS Canada 2012 is industry-based, hierarchical and shaped into five levels: sectors, subsectors, industry groups, industries and canadian industries.

The structure of the North American Product Classification System, the NAPCS Canada 2012 is product-based, comprises both goods and services and is shaped into four levels: groups, classes, subclasses and details.

The NAICS basis and the NAPCS basis statistical units and levels make it easier to identify and analyze various segments of the industry such as establishments, salaries and international trade. 

Companies use the information provided by the NAPCS and the NAICS list of codes to identify businesses with similar purchasing or selling needs. Information that enables them to track increases and decreases in the number of businesses, the volume of sales or the employment levels.

NAICS and SIC Codes

In 1997, the statistical agencies of Canada, United States and Mexico jointly created the North American Industry Classification System, the NAICS. 

The NAICS code listing replaced the 1980 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) used since the 1930s. 

The 2012 NAICS Codes is based on a production oriented structure in which enterprises are grouped into similar industries of goods and services.

The three countries agreed to revisit the structure of the NAICS list of codes and definition every five years.

A revision of the NAICS 2007 has been produced in 2012, the present NAICS Canada 2012.

The next revision will be produced in 2017 and the NAICS Canada 2017 will be added to a code list that dates back to 1997. 

NAFTA and NAICS List of Codes

The NAICS code search provides comparable statistics among Canada, United States and Mexico, the three partners of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The agreement between Canada, United States and Mexico entered into force in 1994 and created the largest free trade region in the world.

The NAFTA helps Canadian, American and Mexican business people and companies manufacture products and services together and sell products and services to each other.

The NAICS and the NAPCS enable all members of the NAFTA to compare, analyse and study statistical data related to their respective countries, industries, products and services.

However, the historic Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union currently in negotiation proceedings is far more ambitious. 

Canadian Negotiations and Agreements by Country

For other classification systems of national industries, you may wish to visit the National Classifications of the United Nations Statistics Division.

2012 NAICS Codes by Rachel Louise Barry - 2016