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2016 Global Family Business Survey: The “missing middle”

Canadian results

Saul Plener
Saul Plener
National Leader,
Private Company Services

Our 8th Family Business Survey is the biggest yet. Over 2,800 firms worldwide and 74 Canadian family businesses took part, from various industries such as agriculture, retail, manufacturing and energy. While key issues including attracting talent, competition and a changing digital landscape have stayed consistent, it's clear that Canadian-run family businesses have a stronger sense of culture and values, however future success will be defined by creating a strategy around the “missing middle”.

Canadian family businesses generally lack a communicated or documented action plan, creating a “missing middle” between the everyday nuts and bolts of running a business and the long-term vision.

Key challenges for Canadian family businesses

The key challenges over the next five years among family businesses in Canada are the need to innovate; dealing with increased competition; attracting and retaining talent; and the general economic situation. An increasing number also see professionalisation as a challenge.  

Key themes for Canadian family businesses


65 per cent of Canadian family businesses are confident their strategy fits the digital age.

Accelerate Digital: Canadian family businesses are well positioned to make a success of innovation

Canadian family-run businesses are ahead of the curve in terms of understanding how important digital is and generally feel their strategy will fit in the digital age. Moving their digital strategy forward will be essential to their success.


89 per cent of family businesses within Canada expect to grow over the next five years.

Grow and create a competitive advantage: Optimism prevails when it comes to growing family businesses

Family businesses in Canada almost universally expect to grow over the next five years, but the method they choose to fuel this growth will differ in many cases.


95 per cent of Canadian family businesses say that securing their long-term future is a key goal over the next five years.


Building your family legacy: Succession plans remain a key goal for family businesses in Canada

Compared to their global peers, Canadian family-run businesses are slightly ahead in terms of well-devised, documented succession plans, but there’s still much room for improvement.


Mother Parkers solves future leadership gap through professionalisation

Family-run business Mother Parkers was in need of a succession plan to help it bridge the gap between its current leadership and the next generation.

Find out how they successfully solved this challenge

Contact us

Sabrina Fitzgerald

Sabrina Fitzgerald

National Private Leader and National Capital Region Leader, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 613 898 2113

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