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2021 Census geographic and reference products

Released: 2021-11-17

In preparation for the 2021 Census dissemination releases and coinciding with Geographic Information Systems Day, the first suite of geographic and reference products released from the 2021 Census is now available.

The products include boundary files, the Road Network File, the correspondence files and the Interim List of Changes to Municipal Boundaries, Status, and Names, January 2, 2016 to January 1, 2021. It also includes the newly created Dissemination Geographies Relationship File and the first video in the new census concept training video series. The first iterations of the 2021 Census Dictionary and the 2021 Guide to the Census of Population are also available. All products are accessible from the Census of Population web page.

The boundary files are based on standard geographic areas in effect on January 1, 2021, and provide geographic limits used for census dissemination as well as 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 are available in Lambert projection for provinces and territories, federal electoral districts (2013 Representation Order), census agricultural regions, economic regions, census divisions, census consolidated subdivisions, census subdivisions, aggregate dissemination areas, 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, street types, street directions and address ranges. In addition, on each side of every street segment, there are unique identifiers and names for provinces or territories and census subdivisions. Roads are ranked according to five levels of detail, suitable for mapping at various scales.

The correspondence files (three in total) are data tables at the dissemination area and dissemination block level showing the correspondence between 2021 and 2016 census years.

The Interim List of Changes to Municipal Boundaries, Status and Names summarizes changes in effect between January 2, 2016, and January 1, 2021. Municipal changes are based on information received through provincial and territorial gazettes, letters patent and orders-in-council.

The Dissemination Geographies Relationship File is a dataset at the dissemination block level that contains the links to all census geographic areas. This product, used in conjunction with the boundary files, will be updated as data-dependent boundary files become available.

The "Role of geography" is the first in a series of videos related to census geography, concepts and products in the context of the activities of the 2021 Census and previous censuses.

The Census Dictionary is a reference document that contains detailed definitions of Census of Population concepts, variables and geographic terms, as well as historical information. This product will be released iteratively, starting with geography and non-data-dependent topic definitions, tables, figures and appendices. Additional content will be made available based on subsequent topic releases.

The Guide to the Census of Population is a reference document that describes the various phases of the 2021 Census of Population. The guide provides an overview of content determination, sampling design, collection, data processing, data quality assessment, confidentiality guidelines and dissemination. This is the first iteration of the guide and will be updated as data-dependent information becomes available with future releases.

Products

The boundary files are available in five formats: ArcGIS® Shapefile (.shp), Geography Markup Language (.gml), File Geodatabase (.gdb), Esri® REST service and Web Mapping Service (WMS). The 2021 Census Boundary Files (Catalogue number92-160-X), (Catalogue number92-163-X), (Catalogue number92-169-X), (Catalogue number92-171-X), (Catalogue number92-637-X) and Boundary Files Reference Guide (Catalogue number92-160-G) are now available.

The Road Network File is available in five formats: ArcGIS® Shapefile (.shp), Geography Markup Language (.gml), File Geodatabase (.gdb), Esri® REST service and Web Mapping Service (WMS). The 2021 Census Road Network File (Catalogue number92-500-X) and Road Network File Reference Guide (Catalogue number92-500-G) are now available.

The correspondence files are available in comma-separated values (.csv) format. The 2021 Census Correspondence Files (Catalogue number92-156-X) and Correspondence Files Reference Guide (Catalogue number92-156-G) are now available.

The new Dissemination Geographies Relationship File is available in comma-separated values (.csv) format. The 2021 Census Dissemination Geographies Relationship File (98260004) and Dissemination Geographies Relationship File Reference Guide (98260003) are now available.

The Interim List of Changes to Municipal Boundaries, Status, and Names, 2016-2021 (Catalogue number92F0009X) is now available in HTML and comma-separated values (.csv) formats.

The "Role of geography" video is now available.

The Census Dictionary (Catalogue number98-301-X) is now available in HTML format.

The Guide to the Census of Population (Catalogue number98-304-X) is now available in HTML format.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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