North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)

Need to Research an Industry? The NAICS Codes Can Help

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NAICS stands for the North American Industry Classification System.

NAICS was developed by the statistical agencies of Canada, Mexico, and the United States to provide common definitions of the industries within the three countries and a common statistical framework for analyzing statistical data relating to industry and the economy. Described by Statistics Canada as "a comprehensive system encompassing all economic activities", NAICS has a hierarchical structure, dividing the economy into 20 sectors at its highest level.

The system assigns NAICS codes to industry sectors and specific industries which can then be used to identify them.

NAICS replaces the old Canadian Standard Industrial Classification system (known as SIC). Mexico, the United States, and Canada adopted NAICS in 1996.

How Are NAICS Codes Useful to Businesses?

If you are a current business owner or thinking of starting a business knowing the NAICS codes of your industry and related industry sectors can help you:

The current version of industry codes is NAICS 2012. Each category (code) has one or more sub-categories:

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Canada
11Agriculture (raising crops, animals, and aquaculture), forestry/logging, fishing, hunting, trapping, and supporting activities.
21Mining, Oil, and Gas, and supporting activities.
22Utilities, including the supply and delivery of electricity, gas, water, sewage collection and treatment.
23Construction and property development, including building sub-trades such as carpentry, masonry, painting, plumbing, electrical, etc.
31-33Manufacturing, including the assembly and finishing of component parts.
41Wholesale trade - distributors that sell merchandise to other businesses.
44-45Retail - the sale of merchandise to the general public, including after-sale service and support. Includes non "bricks and mortar" sales via the internet, door-to-door, or from vending machines.
48-49Transportation and warehousing - includes the transport of goods and passengers by air, rail, truck, water, taxi, transit, etc., the warehousing and storage of goods, delivery services such as couriers and postal carriers, and support services.
51Information and cultural industries - includes non-internet publishing and broadcasting, telecommunications, data processing, web hosting (including cloud computing services), motion picture and sound recording.
52Finance and insurance - include central banks, retail and investment banks, brokerages and security firms, mutual funds, trusts. Insurance includes carriers that provide property, vehicle, life, health and medical, etc. and retail agencies and resellers.
53Real estate and rental/leasing - includes real estate services such as rental, leasing, property management, and appraisal. Also includes agents and brokers. Rental/leasing includes tangible goods such as cars/trucks, machinery and equipment, consumer goods, etc.
54Professional, scientific and technical services - includes knowledge professionals such as lawyers, accountants, bookkeepers, architects, engineers, and other scientific and technical consultants. Also includes advertising and public relations services.
55Management of companies and enterprises - includes businesses that manage other businesses and/or have controlling interests in other companies (holding companies) for the purpose of exercising control over management decisions.
56Administrative and support, waste management and remediation services. Includes office administration services, travel arrangement, employment (hiring and placement). Also encompasses facilities services such as janitorial, security, etc.
61Educational services - instruction and training via public or private schools, colleges, universities, technical/trade schools, etc.
62Health care and social assistance - primary health care services from hospitals, clinics, and treatment facilities. Also includes residential care and social services such as welfare, child protection, counseling, family services, day-care, etc.
71Arts, entertainment, and recreation - spectator sports, performing arts, recreation, amusement, and gambling. Includes promoters, agents/managers for athletes and entertainers, and independent artists and writers.
72Accommodation and food services - accommodation services to travelers, such as hotels, motels, resorts, etc. Also includes food and beverage service providers such as restaurants, bars, caterers, mobile vendors, etc.
81Other services (except public administration) - a generalized category for businesses that provide repair and maintenance services, including repairs of automobiles, machinery, and equipment. Also includes personal care, laundry, pet services, religious, civic, business, and labour organizations.
91Public administration - includes federal, provincial, territorial, aboriginal, and municipal government establishments. 

For a detailed description of each category (and sub-category) see the Statistics Canada NAICS webpage.

Also Known As: North American Industry Classification System.

Examples: The NAICS codes covering the Retail Trade industry are 44 and 45.