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Canada's Core Public Infrastructure Survey: Culture, recreations and sports facilities, and public social and affordable housing, 2020

Released: 2022-09-27

Culture, recreation and sports infrastructure and social and affordable housing play a key role in the quality of life of Canadians. In 2020, local, regional, provincial and territorial governments in Canada provided 5,060 aquatics facilities, 5,761 arts and culture facilities, 7,569 ice facilities, 34,346 kilometres of trails and pathways, as well as numerous indoor and outdoor sports fields and other assets to communities. Canadian governments—at the provincial, territorial, regional and local levels—also play a key role in providing social and affordable housing to satisfy the basic needs of low-income Canadians. In 2020, they reported a total of 312,523 public social and affordable housing units.

Small rural municipalities account for a greater share of new facilities

In 2020, one-fifth of publicly-owned culture, recreation and sports facilities were owned by rural municipalities with less than 5,000 residents, where 6% of the Canadian population lives. Almost one-third (32%) of these assets were installed since 2010. In fact, close to two-fifths of all facilities (37%) and more than two-thirds of arts and culture facilities (68%) built in 2019 and 2020 were reported by small rural municipalities.

Inventory of aquatics and ice facilities increases rapidly in Quebec

Quebec municipalities reported more than half of the aquatics and ice facilities (53%) installed in 2019 and 2020. The pace of construction of these facilities continues to increase in Quebec, with an average of 105 new facilities per year from 2000 to 2020 compared with 63 in Ontario.

The type of public social and affordable housing varies across geographic region

Around three-fifths of publicly-owned social and affordable housing units in the territories, where population density is the lowest in Canada, are semi-detached or single-detached houses. In contrast, more than three-quarters of the public social and affordable housing units in the most populated provinces—Ontario and Quebec—were in apartment buildings.

Larger share of dwellings are public social and affordable housing in the territories

The three territories—Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut—have the largest proportion of dwellings that are publicly-owned social and affordable housing. Nunavut's 5,438 public social and affordable housing units account for almost half (46%) of the 2021 Census dwelling counts in the territory. The Northwest Territories (14%) and Yukon (5%) have the second and third highest ratios of dwellings classified as public social affordable housing units. In contrast, while Ontario governments owned 43% of all publicly-owned social and affordable housing in the country in 2020, these accounted for 2% of total 2021 dwellings in the province.

  Note to readers

Canada's Core Public Infrastructure Survey for the year 2020 was conducted in partnership with Infrastructure Canada. The data cover topics such as the stock, condition and performance of core public infrastructure, as well as asset management practices of owners.

Throughout this release, the term publicly-owned refers to an asset being owned or leased by the provincial, territorial, regional and local orders of government.

The survey results cover nine asset types (public transit; roads; bridges and tunnels; potable water; stormwater; wastewater; solid waste; culture, recreation and sports facilities; public social and affordable housing).

Data are based on responses from approximately 2,260 government organizations. The following organizations are included in the survey:

  • Provincial and territorial departments and agencies
  • Regional governments
  • Urban and rural municipalities (excluding First Nations communities)
  • Selected provincial Crown corporations and public transit authorities

Inventory counts for the 2018 reference year for municipalities may be overestimated. Census subdivisions, including unorganized and unincorporated areas, were included in the survey frame whereas only incorporated organizations were included for 2020. Data for prior years may be revised at a later date to reflect this new methodology.

Respondents were provided the following condition rating scale when asked to rate the overall physical condition of their assets:

Very poor: Immediate need to replace most or all of the asset. Health and safety hazards exist which present a possible risk to public safety or asset cannot be serviced/operated without risk to personnel. Major work or replacement required urgently.

Poor: Failure likely and substantial work required in the short term. Asset barely serviceable. No immediate risk to health or safety.

Fair: Significant deterioration is evident; minor components or isolated sections of the asset need replacement or repair now, but asset is still serviceable and functions safely at adequate level of service.

Good: Acceptable physical condition; minimal short-term failure risk but potential for deterioration in the long term. Only minor work required.

Very good: Sound physical condition. No short-term failure risk and no work required.

Barrier-free design structures denotes the absence of obstacles allowing persons with physical or sensory disabilities safer and easier access into buildings, and the use of those buildings, including those that have a barrier free entrance and path of travel.

The term "Canadians" refers to residents of Canada, regardless of citizenship status.

Contact information

For more information about why the survey was conducted and how it will inform infrastructure policy and program development and investment decisions, please contact Infrastructure Canada (toll-free: 1-877-250-7154 or 613-948-1148 or by email at or Infrastructure Canada Media Relations (toll-free: 1-877-250-7154 or 613-960-9251 or by email at

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; or Media Relations (

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