Toronto skyline in financial district
© Elijah Lovkoff / 123RF Stock Photo

The significant economic contribution and global reach of Canada’s finance and insurance sector were detailed in a report released Tuesday by the Conference Board of Canada.

GDP growth in finance and insurance outpaced the growth averages in all industries in the country from 2011 to 2020, said the report, entitled Toronto’s Global Financial Centre: Driving Economic Growth, which was based on StatsCan data as well as a literature review.

The 10-year average annual GDP growth rate was about 3.6% in finance and insurance during that period, compared to about 1.5% for other industries, the report showed.

Last year, finance and insurance was the third-largest contributor to total GDP in Canada, after real estate and rental and leasing, and manufacturing.

Employment growth in finance and insurance also outpaced all industries in Canada from 2011 to 2020.

The 10-year average annual employment growth rate was about 1.6% for finance and insurance during that period, and about 0.6% for all other industries.

In particular, the report compiled statistics showing that Toronto was a leader in finance.

For example, Toronto’s financial sector ranked second in North America and eighth globally in 2019 based on total employment, the report said.

Further, finance and insurance was among the top industries for female representation. Last year, 55% of the sector’s total workforce was female, the report said. That representation placed the sector fourth for female participation, behind health care and social assistance, educational services, and accommodation and food services.

The report also highlighted the Canadian finance and insurance sector’s position among its global peers. For example, Canada’s Big Five banks are among the 30 largest in the world based on market capitalization, with 40% of their revenues generated abroad.

Finance and insurance services exports were $15.6 billion last year, growing more than $6.3 billion in the last decade — the second-largest growth among service exports, the report said.

The report also noted that Canada had the second-largest amount of venture capital investments of all OECD member countries in 2019, at US$3.3 billion. The U.S. was first, at nearly US$136 billion.

The report also outlined Canada’ growth in sustainable finance, which included 41 new fund launches last year — more than double the number launched in 2019.

For full details, including a summary of the financial sector’s support for small and medium-sized businesses during the pandemic, read the Conference Board of Canada report.