Statistics Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Data quality, concepts and methodology: Industry and occupation classifications

Warning View the most recent version.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please "contact us" to request a format other than those available.

The industry and occupation work absence data presented in this report are based on NAICS 2002 and 2001 NOC-S, and as such differ from those contained in earlier reports and studies. A brief review of differences between the old and new classifications (including an examination of the LFS algorithm for classifying employment by industry and occupation) and comparison tables are presented below and in the appendix.

Classifying employment by industry and occupation

Questions classifying job activity

As part of the monthly LFS questionnaire, respondents who are currently employed, or who had a job or business within the previous 12 months, are asked to provide information on the nature of their work. The coding of industry, occupation and public/private status is based on the responses given to the following four questions:

For whom did (this person) work?

If the respondent is self-employed, the question is customized to read 'What was the name of this person's business?'

What kind of business, industry or service was this?

What kind of work was (this person) doing?

What were (this person's) most important activities or duties?


The LFS uses a combination of automated and manual coding. Approximately 30% of industry and occupation codes are assigned automatically. The remainder are manually assigned by experienced coders.

Public/private sector redefined

Another definitional change introduced by the LFS in January 1999 pertains to the public and private sectors of the economy.

The distinction between public and private sector employment is important in the analysis of output and employment growth. Prior to 1999, the LFS used 'ownership' as the basis for classification to the public sector. This differed slightly from the definition used by the System of National Accounts (SNA) (which was related to 'funding and control').

As of January 1999, LFS data have been harmonized to the SNA standard. Under the former 'ownership' rules, LFS classified about 60% of hospital workers to the private sector, within the broad group of health and social services. These workers are now coded as public. Under the old rules, employment by universities was coded to the private sector. This group is now also coded to the public sector. The sector data have been revised back to 1976.

Next | Previous