The service sector in Canada is vast and multifaceted, employing about three quarters of Canadians and accounting for 70% of GDP. The largest employer is the retail sector, employing almost 12% of Canadians. The retail industry is concentrated mainly in a small number of chain stores clustered together in shopping malls. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of big-box stores, such as Wal-Mart (of the United States), Real Canadian Superstore, and Best Buy (of the United States). This has led to fewer workers in this sector and a migration of retail jobs to the suburbs.
The Financial District in Downtown Vancouver. Canadian business services are largely concentrated in large urban areas of Canada.
The second largest portion of the service sector is the business service and hire only a slightly smaller percentage of the population. This includes the financial services, real estate, and communications industries. This portion of the economy has been rapidly growing in recent years. It is largely concentrated in the major urban centres, especially Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver (see Banking in Canada).
The education and health sectors are two of Canada’s largest, but both are largely under the influence of the government. The health care industry has been quickly growing, and is the third largest in Canada. Its rapid growth has led to problems for governments who must find money to fund it.
Canada has an important high tech industry, and a burgeoning film, television, and entertainment industry creating content for local and international consumption (see Media in Canada). Tourism is of ever increasing importance, with the vast majority of international visitors coming from the United States. Casino gaming is currently the fastest-growing component of the Canadian tourism industry, contributing $5 billion in profits for Canadian governments and employing 41,000 Canadians as of 2001.