First Suite of 2016 Census Geographic Products Released

Here are the first geography products for the 2016 Census. Just like Christmas.

2016 Census geographic products

Released: 2016-11-16

In preparation for the release of the 2016 Census results and coinciding with Geographic Information Systems Day, the first suite of geographic products released from the 2016 Census is available.

The products include maps and boundary files for the newly created aggregate dissemination areas, Boundary Files, Road Network File, Correspondence Files and the Interim List of Changes to Municipal Boundaries, Status, and Names. All are accessible from the Census webpage and are free to use.

Boundary Files are based on standard geographic areas in effect on January 1, 2016, and provide geographic limits used for census dissemination and a framework for mapping and spatial analysis. Digital files depict the full extent of the geographic areas, including the coastal water area. Cartographic files depict the geographic areas using only the major land mass of Canada and its islands.

Digital and cartographic boundary files, in Lambert projection, are available for provinces and territories, aggregate dissemination areas, census divisions, economic regions, federal electoral districts (2013 Representation Order), census consolidated subdivisions, census subdivisions, census metropolitan areas/census agglomerations, census tracts, dissemination areas and dissemination blocks.

The Road Network File is a digital representation of Canada’s national road network. Applications may include mapping, geocoding, geographic searching and area delineation. The file contains information such as street names, types, directions and address ranges. In addition, on each side of every street arc there are unique identifiers and names for the following levels of geography: province/territory, census metropolitan area/census agglomeration and census subdivision. Roads are ranked according to five levels of detail, suitable for mapping at various scales.

Correspondence Files (three in total) provide tabular data showing the correspondence between two vintages of geographic areas. Each correspondence file contains a unique identifier for the 2016 Census geographic area and the corresponding unique identifier for the 2011 Census geographic area. In addition, a relationship flag indicates the degree of correspondence between the geographic areas, facilitating a comparison between 2016 and 2011 census years.

The Interim List of Changes to Municipal Boundaries, Status and Names summarizes changes to municipal boundaries, status and names that occurred between January 2, 2011, and January 1, 2016. Municipal changes are based on information received through provincial and territorial gazettes, letters patent and orders-in-council.


Boundary Files are available in three formats: ArcGIS® Shapefile (.shp), Geography Markup Language (.gml) and MapInfo® (.tab). The 2016 Census Boundary Files (Catalogue number92-160-X, Catalogue number92-163-X, Catalogue number92-168-X, Catalogue number92-169-X, Catalogue number92-171-X), and Boundary Files, Reference Guide (Catalogue number92-160-G) are now available.

The Road Network File is available in three formats: ArcGIS® Shapefile (.shp), Geography Markup Language (.gml) and MapInfo® (.tab). The 2016 Census Road Network File (Catalogue number92-500-X), and Road Network File, Reference Guide (Catalogue number92-500-G) are now available.

The Aggregate Dissemination Area Reference Maps (Catalogue number92-640-X) are now available in HTML format. The Reference Maps and Thematic Maps, Reference Guide (Catalogue number92-143-G) is now available in HTML and PDF format.|

Correspondence Files are available in two formats: Comma Separated Variable (.csv) and text (.txt). The 2016 Census Correspondence Files (Catalogue number92-156-X), and Correspondence Files, Reference Guide (Catalogue number92-156-G) are now available.

The geography universe of the Census Dictionary (Catalogue number98-301-X) is now available in HTML format.|

The Interim List of Changes to Municipal Boundaries, Status and Names, 2011-2016 (Catalogue number92F0009X) is now available in HTML format.

2016 Census Collection Complete – Best Response Rate Ever!

Statistics Canada has announced that the collection phase of the 2016 Census is now complete and the overall response rate of 98.4 percent.

“The 2016 Census will provide high-quality information for virtually all communities across Canada,” said Chief Statistician Wayne R. Smith. “We thank Canadians for making this the best census since 1666.”

First results from the Census will be published in February 2017 and continue until November 2017.

Canadians’ overwhelming response enables ‘best ever’ Census in 2016

2016 Census Program release schedule

2016 Census is Here!

People will have started receiving their 2016 Census forms this week (starting May 2, 2016). Apparently, Canadians are so excited, that they crashed the census website.

What’s your census personality type?

The census is coming this May and that means Canadians from coast to coast to coast will once again be asked to sharpen their pencils, charge their tablets or answer the door, to participate. In other words, it will be time to complete the census questionnaire, either online, by mail or in person.

How and when you complete the survey – whether you jump at the chance right away or wait until the very last minute – may have something to do with your personality.

See yourself in any of these?

Conscientious keeners: Darn it if these folks don’t race to fill in the census the day the letter arrives from Statistics Canada, usually around May 2, and complete it online the very same day. These are the people who help give Canada its reputation as a well-mannered nation that takes its civic obligations seriously.

File-o-files: These are folks who get the letter in the mail, file it away either physically or mentally, and know that, yes, they’ll get to it within a week or so during the prime return dates, which are between May 2 and 15.

Eleven is their favourite hour:  The only way to get these procrastinators to complete their census before the last deadline would be to first send the paper questionnaire and if that doesn’t work, send an Enumerator right to their door as of May 31. Actually, these last-minute filers are few in number considering that only 12.3 per cent of censuses are completed at the door. Most of us complete the census either online or by mail.

Seeing as Canada has one of the highest census return rates of any country (about 98 per cent, roughly the same completion rate as Australia), it’s clearly the case that Canadians have a strong sense of civic duty when it comes to completing the census – no matter what their personality type.

In the end, it all works out for the best because the information gathered every five years helps drive decisions about government programs and services for you, your family, your community and your work life as well.

Be a proud conscientious keener and complete your census questionnaire in early May! More information on the benefits of completing your census can be found online at

Statistics Canada Announces Dates for 2016 Census Releases

Statistics Canada is pleased to announce the 2016 Census Program release schedule and topics.

Within a year, Statistics Canada will release the first data from the 2016 Census. Data on population and dwelling counts will be released on February 8, 2017, launching an accelerated release schedule that will provide Canadians with all data in a more timely fashion than for any previous census.

In less than three months, Canadians across the country will be completing their 2016 Census questionnaires. By participating, they will become part of the new portrait of Canada.

For the first time, all census data will be released within 18 months of collection. In addition, in preparation for the population and dwelling release, key geographic information, including reference materials and boundary files, are scheduled for release on November 16, 2016.

Now online – 2016 Census Program release schedule

The CANSIM Crash Diet at Statistics Canada

This post comes courtesy of the Canadian Social Research Newsletter, March 2, 2014 edition (

The CANSIM Crash Diet at Statistics Canada

WARNING: If you’re not a number-crunching social policy historian who believes
in accountability and transparency, you might just want to skip the following rant.

And another one gone
And another one gone,
Another one bites the dust.
[Source : Queen]

Statistics Canada’s world-class data collection has been trimmed, again.
February 24, 2014
By Gilles:
As a result of the 2012 federal budget cuts, there are now 2,000+ fewer workers at StatCan [ ] — out of a workforce of about 5,000.
The 2012 budget cuts are leading directly to reductions in the amount of public information StatsCan collects and produces, and they could lead to data collection and processing services being contracted out (if they’re not already doing it…)

The latest victim of the budget cuts is the collection of tables in the CANSIM database.
Here’s a sample deleted table:
TERMINATED: Table 384-0009 Government transfer payments to persons, provincial economic accounts
On this table, you’ll find five years’ worth (2005 to 2009) of national statistics PLUS archives going back to 1981 on federal and provincial government transfer payments to individuals and organizations for almost 20 programs, from Old Age Security to Employment Insurance (federal) and Workers’ Compensation to Social Assistance (provincial/territorial).

I went to the CANSIM home page [ ] looking for an announcement regarding what other CANSIM tables had bitten the dust and when. There was not one word on the home page about the CANSIM Crash Diet. If you’d like to know the full extent of the terminated tables for the complete collection, you’ll have to drill down each of the 31 topics on the home page to see the specific tables. I checked only a few categories, but the number of deleted/terminated tables was depressing.
[ *Terminated* tables appear in a grey box at the end of each subsection. ]

A few examples:

For the category “Aboriginal peoples” : 4 tables terminated out of a total of 7
For the category “Children and youth” : 89 tables terminated out of a total of 130
For the category “Families, households and housing” : 67 tables terminated out of a total of 112
For the category “Government” : 62 tables terminated out of a total of 141
For the category “Income, pensions, spending and wealth” : 41 tables terminated out of a total of 167
For the category “Seniors” : 13 tables terminated out of a total of 30

One of StatCan’s two stated objectives is “To provide statistical information and analysis about Canada’s economic and social structure to develop and evaluate public policies and programs and to improve public and private decision-making for the benefit of all Canadians.” (The second objective is “To promote sound statistical standards and practices…”).

How much longer will StatCan be considered world class, I wonder…

And while we’re lamenting the passing of rich online resources that the federal government has recently terminated, here are a few other reports that are now accessible only via an archiving site like [ ] :

[R.I.P.] Social Assistance Statistical Report: 2008
Social Assistance Statistical Report: 2008 is the fifth annual joint publication by federal, provincial and territorial governments. This report includes a description of, and statistics related to, the welfare system in each province and territory, information about federal-provincial-territorial jurisdictional and funding issues, a bit of historical info on the Canada Assistance Plan and the Canada Health and Social Transfer, etc.

[R.I.P.] Social Security Statistics, Canada and Provinces, 1978-79 to 2002-03
This report offers 25 years of longitudinal data on costs and numbers of beneficiaries for most programs – over 100 tables – covering a large number of programs — here’s a partial list : Child Tax Benefit, Family Allowances, the Child Tax Credit, Old Age Security/Guaranteed Income Supplement/Spouse’s Allowance (“The Allowance”), Federal Training and Employment Programs, Federal Goods and Services Tax Credit, the Canada/Quebec Pension Plans, War Veterans’ and Civilian War Allowances, Veterans’ and Civilians’ Disability Pensions, Unemployment/Employment Insurance, the Canada Assistance Plan, Workers’ Compensation, Youth Allowances, Social Assistance and Social Services for Registered Indians — and more…

– Go to the Social Statistics Links page: