Family Enterprise Matters: Harnessing the Most Powerful Driver of Economic Growth in Canada

The Family Enterprise Xchange Foundation (FEX-F) teamed up with the Conference Board of Canada to explore the impact of family-owned enterprises on the Canadian economic landscape, producing the most comprehensive picture of family enterprises in Canada to date.

FEX-F is proud to release our report based on this research, Family Enterprise Matters, confirming the significant impact family enterprises have on Canada's economy. From the corner coffee shop to the home builder and the local manufacturer, from the farmer and the fish processor to the commercial real estate developer – family enterprises generated almost half of Canada’s private sector GDP and almost seven million jobs in 2017 demonstrating that they are the most powerful driver of economic growth in Canada.

Despite the huge influence family-owned enterprises have on Canada's economy, knowledge gaps continue to exist. Improved data, informed public policies and better advisory services are needed to help family businesses reach their full economic potential, drive regional growth and lead Canada’s economy to a more prosperous future. Read the full report.


Deloitte Private - 2019 Global Family Business Survey - Long-term goals, meet short-term drive

Family businesses tend to lean towards a long-term view that is rooted in shared values, vision and culture. But even though many of them strive to maintain family control, family ownership in itself doesn’t guarantee that a business will survive the decades. In the context of today’s rapidly and fundamentally changing business environment, simply having a long-term orientation is not enough. To thrive, family businesses also need to take relevant short-term action.

How can family business leaders achieve the right balance between the short and the long term—in the context of the unique family, marketplace and sociocultural dynamics that characterize the family enterprise? That’s the question that this study, Deloitte’s fifth annual global family business survey, explores by tapping into the views of hundreds of family-owned companies in four key areas: ownership, governance, succession and strategy. Read the full report.

Looking for insight into the educational content delivered at Symposium? 

Be sure to check out the article on pages 9-11, 'Transitioning Family Businesses'  by Matthew Wesley (Matt), founder of The Wesley Group and Workshop Presenter at our 2014 Family Business Symposium featured in the winter edition of Industry Canada published by CPA Canada.


2014 All In The Family Magazine E-dition
A Resource For Family Business

Several FFE Members including Andrew Pigott, The Succession Bridge are profiled along with stories focused on the struggles and successes family businesses have undergone, tips that will hopefully educate and inspire today’s new generation of business owners as well as several articles by financial and legal experts on the issues and circumstances facing many family businesses, Business Link Media Group, January 2014. To view, click here.

2013 All In The Family Magazine Edition
A Resource For Family Business

FEX and several of our Members are profiled along with stories focused on the struggles and successes family businesses have undergone, tips that will hopefully educate and inspire today’s new generation of business owners as well as several articles by financial and legal experts on the issues and circumstances facing many family businesses, Business Link Media Group, June 2013. To view, click here.

Trapped in the Family Business® (Michael Klein)

In an honest, no-nonsense guide, Michael Klein shares his insights on how individuals get trapped in their family business, why they don’t leave, and what can be done about it.  Based on interviews with family business members, owners, and advisors, Trapped in the Family Business® sheds light on this common yet unexamined problem−and offers practical solutions.

  • Identify warning signs and avoid common traps
  • Learn from others’ experiences and insights
  • Develop a plan of action to manage and improve this situation
  • Explore valuable resources to help navigate this complex challenge

Michael Klein is a business psychologist and author of the book Trapped in the Family Business®. He works as a consultant, facilitator, and speaker for family businesses and their advisors providing assistance in the hiring and development of leaders, managers, and employees. Dr. Klein has over 15 years of experience working in industries including manufacturing, insurance, healthcare, construction, financial services, education, pharmaceuticals, real estate, and entertainment. He is member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). More information is available at: and

To order Trapped in the Family Business, click here. At the bottom of the order page, enter the following discount code to receive 25% off the purchase price: FJ5TD9PU
*Please note that the link is exclusive to FEX Members.

Nobody Likes To Dance AloneTM: How To Grow A Social Media Community (Jeremy Miller, Sticky Branding)

Leading social media communities is the secret sauce for really scaling your brand and making an impact on social media.

Nobody Likes To Dance AloneTM is a how-to guide for building a boundary-less social media community, and it draws on their experience growing one of the largest branding groups on Linkedin. In less than two years the Sticky Branding group grew to over 22,000 members.

You have an opportunity to grow a boundary-less community too. The challenge is getting through the starting plateau. The first few months of growing a group is the hardest part. It feels like leading an awkward middle school dance. Nobody Likes To Dance AloneTM takes you through the process of how to grow through the awkward phase to build a boundary-less social media community.

To download Sticky Branding's free e-book, click here.

Leaving a Legacy (David C. Bentall)

Leaving a Legacy: Navigating Family Business Succession is a guidebook and a resource, designed to help families in business learn how to integrate family and business effectively. Throughout the book, the author shares family business insights, gleaned from 20 years of working with The Bentall Group and Dominion Construction. Skillfully marrying his own experience with best practices in the field, he offers solutions to the distinct challenges faced by all families in business. Also, practical examples are drawn from prominent entrepreneurial business families from across North America. An audio version will follow in the fall of 2012.

Family Business Matters
(A publication of KPMG Enterprise)

Highlights of 2012 Issue:

  • Family business transitions
  • Grooming Successors
  • Compensation in a family business
  • Tax and your estate

Click on image to download a copy.

Family Business Succession - Managing the All-Important Family Component (A publication of KPMG Enterprise)

Who says the family business won’t make it to the next generation? This publication focuses on the need to integrate the family into the succession process and more importantly, how to do it.

Click on image to download a copy.

Canadian Family Business Guide
(A publication of KPMG Enterprise)

The Canadian Family Business Guide imparts proven approaches and strategies to help family-owned businesses manage their business family dynamics with success.  The Canadian Family Business Guide covers:

  • Benefits and challenges of family businesses
  • Family business model
  • Dealing with conflict within a family business
  • Managing expectations
  • Developing a strategy
  • Types of family business owners
  • Estate planning
  • Succession planning and implementation

To obtain a copy of the Canadian Family Business Guide Book, click here.

Canadian Family Business Magazine Archive

(A publication of the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise)


FEX works with our Advisor members and educational and industry partners to post articles of interest to Family Businesses. 

Have you authored a paper or publication that addresses areas of concern for business families? Are you willing to Share your Experience with your fellow FEX Members? Please forward your articles to (please do not send proprietary information, services or systems - the resources must be strictly informational and/or educational). 

Strategic Planning

Succession Planning

Family Dynamics

  • Fostering Independence
    David Martin, Manager of a Family Office and Jennifer East, ONIDA Family Advisors Inc. posted on Trusts & Estates / August 2008


Wealth Management/Tax Planning

  • The Artisan Spring 2013
    The Markets: Update & Outlook ~ 2013 Federal Budget Special Report, Northland Wealth Management, Spring 2013

Next Generation

  • Rights of Man
    David Lansky, Posted on April 10, 2012 Family Business Consulting Group Blog



FEX works with our Advisor members, educational and industry partners to post case studies of interest to Family Businesses. 

Have you authored a case study that addresses areas of concern for business families?  Are you willing to Share your Experience with your fellow FEX Members? Please forward your articles to (please do not send proprietary information, services or systems - the resources must be strictly informational and/or educational). 

Part 1 - The Case of Arnold & Bonnie: Succession on the Front Burner
Andrew  Pigott, Principal, The Succession  Bridge.

Part 2 - The Case of Arnold & Bonnie: Where There is Smoke, There is usually…
Andrew  Pigott, Principal, The Succession  Bridge.

The Value in Valuation
Neil Maisel is a Partner with the Valuations, Forensics, Litigation and Family Business Services Group,also known as the SuRE Group, at Crowe Soberman LLP.


The Future of Family Business in Canada - Intergenerational Communication and Mentoring are Critical to Success

Almost half of Canada's family businesses expect to see an intergenerational transfer of management and/or ownership within the next five years. Yet, over 80 percent have no formal plans in place to manage the family dynamics of the business, intergenerational wealth, and help prepare future generations to continue the family business legacy, finds a new KPMG Enterprise™ report. The report: Family Ties - Canadian Business in the Family Way, developed in cooperation with the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise (CAFE), sheds light on the opportunities and challenges facing Canadian business families and what it takes to build a successful family business today and prepare for the future.

SauderUBC Business Families Centre White Paper Series 

In keeping with our mission and in pursuit of increasing education and awareness among business family members, advisors, and professionals in the field, the Business Families Centre is launching a series of white papers to initiate further discussion about, and foster a stronger appetite for, the latest research in the growing field of family enterprise studies. Complemented by personal accounts from business family members, practitioners and professionals at the forefront of the field, our series is an ambitious and uncompromising look at the issues that have nothing less than a critical effect on our businesses, our communities, and our economy.

Issue #1

Issue #2

Issue #3

Member Survey 2012

More than 200 Family Business Members from across Canada participated in an online survey during August, the purpose of which was to better profile our membership and collect feedback on how the organization and its Chapters can improve membership value and satisfaction. This was the first national survey of its kind in several years and revealed many insights that will help guide programs and service development in the near term. The survey revealed that the typical Family Business Member had the following characteristics:

  • 88% are privately held companies owned and managed by a family;
  • Multi-generational business in existence for an average of 44 years;
  • Employ an average of 127 employees;
  • Have at least 2 family members in senior management positions;
  • 40% have annual gross sales greater than 10 million dollars;
  • 55% report the net worth of their family business is in excess of 5 million dollars.


















The average Member had the following characteristics:

  • 59% of respondents are CEO, President, Owner /Founder or the Chairman within their family business;
  • 46% are the second generation within the family business;
  • 60% male, 40% female; average 51 years old;
  • 80% are married with children; average 2 children;
  • 64% have a university degree or higher.        



















A relatively high percentage of respondents indicated that they did not employ any of the following best practices to govern their family business (which may be a reflection of the size, complexity, and age of businesses):

  • 41% don’t use Family meetings or Family councils;
  • 75% don’t have a Family Constitution;
  • 74% don’t use an independent business board of directors/advisors;
  • 40% don’t use owner’s/shareholder’s meetings;
  • 83% don’t use a Family Office.

Members were very much aligned on the priority they assign to various strategic initiatives being pursued, with the top 5 being:

#1 – Improve the PAG program with additional resources, tools and support;

#2 – Develop partnerships with educational organizations to bring more family business education to members;

#3 – Offer more educational workshops, seminars, speaker tours, etc…;

#4 – Offer more downloadable family business resources on the company Website;

#5 – Launch a national marketing campaign to attract new members.

When asked what the organization and its Chapters could do to increase the level of value for membership respondents provided hundreds of specific suggestions, but the most popular ones fell into the following categories:

  • Improving the quality and quantity of educational programming (seminars, workshops, webinars, etc…);
  • Improving the quantity and quality of social and networking events;
  • Providing access to more family business resources, tools, and information (online);
  • Expanding our membership and the number of PAGs – create a larger community of family businesses to connect with;
  • Enhancing the PAG experience with additional support and resources.

FEX would like to thank those who participated in the survey and reassure all Members that steps are being taken to address the practical needs and wants articulated through the survey.

*Disclaimer: The expressed opinions, informational content and links displayed on the FEX Resource webpages do not necessarily reflect a position, policy or recommendation of the Family Enterprise Xchange (FEX). No official endorsement by the Family Enterprise Xchange (FEX) of the expressed opinions, informational content and links displayed on FEX Resource webpages should be inferred.


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