Statistics Canada says underground economy totalled $45.6 billion in 2013

OTTAWA – Statistics Canada says the underground economy totalled $45.6 billion in Canada in 2013, or about 2.4 per cent of gross domestic product.

The federal agency says more than half of the total can be attributed to three industries.

The largest, residential construction, accounted four 27.8 per cent, while retail trade accounted for 12.5 per cent and accommodation and food services 11.7 per cent.

Overall, underground activities related to household spending amounted to $2,156 per household in 2013.

Statistics Canada added that the underground economy as a proportion of GDP was relatively stable in every province and territory in 2013.

The agency defined the underground economy as market-based economic activities, whether legal or illegal, that escaped measurement because of their hidden, illegal or informal nature. It excluded some illegal activities, such as those related to illegal drugs and prostitution.