Introduction to searching for business information

Finding one’s place in society is arguably one of the outcomes of going to University. I rejoice at the idea that I could play a small role, as a business librarian at Concordia University, in assisting my community toward that goal. In light of this, here is a seminar I’ve prepared for colleagues working with student placement, leveraging library licensed databases and other sources on the Internet to connect students with businesses.

This workshop uses resources from the Library’s Business Research Portal.

Learning objectives

  • Develop a healthy information diet to foster the discovery of business information
  • Locate industry and market reports from the Internet and the Library
  • Explore information on occupations
  • Foster strategies to maximize the ongoing acquisition of business intelligence


  1. Getting to know more about Montréal’s economy
  2. Drilling down on occupations
  3. Understanding Canadian industries
  4. Drilling down to companies
  5. Staying aware with articles

0. How is business information organized in society ?

This step provides a short overview of the different socioeconomic actors who create and make available business information (BI). The graph below shows the “5 usual suspects” that produce BI, namely governments, trade associations, individual companies, statisticians and analysts and journalists and researchers. Each one of these entities provides for a specific set of documents, which can be leveraged to locate BI.

1. Getting to know Montréal’s economy

Free web sources

Montréal International, the municipal office established to foster foreign investment, offers many sectorial reports about key sectors of the Montréal economic ecosystem. Market leaders and trade associations are highlighted in these 30 to 40 page reports, provided for free.

Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain, a broad reaching trade association, offers free Publications and a series of posts about relaunching the economy after Covid19.

Library licensed databases

Passport by Euromonitor offers reports about the top 3 Canadian cities (Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver) as well as a complete set of market reports. Log-in with your Concordia University NetName. Once you’ve accepted the terms of service, just search for Montreal. You can explore this comprehensive database about worldwide consumers (except for the report on cities, the data provided is at the national level).

2. Drilling down to occupations

Free web sources

Emploi Quebec offers a snapshot about Trades and Occupations. For a given trade/occupation, you can get the sectors of activity by industry: it provides the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code. You will need this code for other steps! You can also note the National Occupational Code (NOC) for later reference.

Emploi Québec offers a monthly bulletin about employment prospects in Montréal.

The Government of Canada’s JobBank is a great place to explore occupations. Start with Trend analysis » Occupations. In addition to the wonderful information on this page, notice how each occupation is given a “code” from the National Occupational Classification or NOC.

The federal government’s Canadian Occupational Projection System will be updated with new data in late 2022.

3. Understanding Canadian industries

Library licensed databases

IBISWorld provides 25-35 page industry reports for thousands of Canadian industries (as well as for the USA, China and the world).

4. Drilling down to companies

Library licensed databases

Mergent Intellect, a business directory, offers data on individual companies. You can generate lists of companies and filter by industry, company size in terms of sales and employees as well as location.

5. Staying aware with articles

Library licensed databases

ProQuest Business offers a set of Canadian news and research articles. You can perform searches on the fly, and setup alerts based on various dimensions, such as:

  • Industries / Markets
  • Occupations / Jobs
  • Trade associations
  • Companies
  • Investments
  • Government agencies and Regulations
  • and more!

Searching is both a process and an outcome, like building a healthy life around your diet and exercise ! Many paths may lead you to your goals.

Montréal Reference

Quick economic industrial survey of Montréal

Here are sources for finding information about Montréal’s economy and industrial make-up. I refer to subscriptions at Concordia University where I work.

– Passport GMID from Euromonitor
This is a system we have under subscription at the Library. It now provides top line reports of major cities around the world, including Montreal. Please access the system via this link:
(click on the database name and provide your netname if asked)
After accepting the terms of use of the system, just type Montreal in the search box on the top-right corner of the page. You will get many reports, but you are looking for the “Montreal City Review” in particular.
Video on using Passport:

– Montréal en statistiques
This city of Montréal website provides various reports about the city:,67633583&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL
In addition to the various reports, themes and other data available therein, I noticed this very recent economic portrait of the city:
Profils économiques : un portrait à jour de la dynamique économique montréalaise,68131631&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&id=10396&ret=/pls/portal/url/page/mtl_stats_fr/rep_nouvelles/coll_nouvelles
Looks very interesting.

– Montréal International
This is the international development agency for the city. There are a lot of high-level glossy reports and data on this site, but in particular their publications:
(This agency is one of the few I recommend you build a long-term, low volume but high impact relationship with)

– MEIE, Québec Government
The Ministère de l’économie has a portal devoted to each administrative region of the province, this is the Montréal page:
Make sure you click around in the “Portrait régional” box, which is located on the bottom left-hand section of the page. You get a one or two page report for each theme.
(This agency is one of the few I recommend you build a long-term, low volume but high impact relationship with)

– Conference Board of Canada
I am sorry to report that we do ** not ** have access to the Conference Board of Canada’s e-library, but I did want to mention that they provide detailed forecasting reports at the city level.