Section 3: Dictionary of concepts and definitions

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The LFS dictionary provides users with definitions of terms and variables associated with the survey. Where appropriate, changes to definitions through time are documented.

Aboriginal identity: Persons who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group, for example, North American Indian, Métis or Inuit. This is based on the individual's own perception of his/her Aboriginal identity, similar to the concept used with the Census. "Aboriginal identity" is not to be confused with "Aboriginal ancestry", another concept measured by the Census, but not with the LFS.

Absence from work (hours lost): A distinction is made between those who lose hours from work because they missed part of the work week or the full work week. Reasons for the absence are collected for both situations.

  1. Part-week absence: Collected for employees only. Reasons for absence include: own illness or disability, personal or family responsibilities, maternity or parental leave, vacation, weather, labour dispute, job started or ended during reference week, holiday, working short time, and other reasons.
  2. Full-week absence: Collected for all employed persons. Reasons for absence include: own illness or disability, personal or family responsibilities, maternity or parental leave, vacation, labour dispute, work schedule, self-employed (no work available), seasonal business (self-employed), other reasons. The number of full weeks absent from work are recorded. In addition, employees and self-employed with an incorporated business are asked if they received wages or salary for any time off in reference week.

Activity prior to unemployment: Main activity before looking for work. Distinguishes between those who were working (that is, job leavers, job losers and temporary layoffs) and those who were not in the labour force but were keeping house, going to school, or involved in some other type of activity.

Actual hours worked: Number of hours actually worked by the respondent during the reference week, including paid and unpaid hours. These hours reflect temporary decreases or increases in work hours (for example, hours lost due to illness, vacation or holidays or more hours worked due to overtime).

Age: Age is collected for every household member in the survey, and the information on labour market activity is collected for all persons aged 15 and over. Prior to 1966, information on labour market activity was collected for persons aged 14 and over. Beginning January 1997, date of birth is collected to ensure inclusion of respondents who turn 15 during their six month rotation in the survey.

Availability: Persons are regarded as available if they reported that they could have worked in the reference week if a suitable job had been offered (or recalled if on temporary layoff); or if they could not take a job because of their own illness or disability, personal or family responsibilities, because they already have a job to start in the near future, or because of vacation (prior to 1997, those on vacation were not considered available). Full-time students currently attending school and looking for full-time work are not considered to be available for work during the reference week. They are assumed to be looking for a summer or co-op job or permanent job to start sometime in the future.

Average hours worked: Average number of hours worked per week, usual or actual, is calculated by dividing total hours by the total number of employed persons. Also available is the average number of actual hours worked per week calculated by excluding persons who were not at work during the reference week.

Census metropolitan area (CMA) and Census agglomeration (CA): Large urban areas (known as urban cores) together with adjacent urban and rural areas (known as urban and rural fringes) that have a high degree of social and economic integration with the urban cores. A CMA has an urban core population of at least 100,000 and a CA has an urban core population between 10,000 and 99,999 based on the 2006 census.

The following areas distinguish between central and peripheral urban and rural areas within CMAs and CAs:

  1. Urban core is a large urban area within a CMA or a CA that must have a population of at least 100,000 in the case of a CMA, or between 10,000 and 99,999 in the case of a CA based on the 2006 census and have a population density of at least 400 per square kilometre. In addition, this category includes the secondary urban core.
  2. Urban fringe is the urban area within a CMA or CA that is not contiguous to the urban core. It has a minimum population concentration of 1,000 and a population density of at least 400 per square kilometre, based on the 2006 census population counts.
  3. Rural fringe is all territory within a CMA or CA not classified as urban core or urban fringe.

Class of worker: There are two broad categories of workers: those who work for others (employees) and those who work for themselves (self-employed). The first group is subdivided into two classes: public sector employees and private sector employees. See Public/private sector employment and Self-employment.

Country of birth: The country of birth of the respondent. This is based on current geographic names and boundaries at the time of collection.

Country of highest education: Identifies the country in which the respondent obtained their highest degree, certificate or diploma. This information is only available for those who are now, or have ever been landed immigrants to Canada and who have educational attainment above high school.

Discouraged searcher: (also called Discouraged worker) Since 1997, discouraged searchers are defined as those persons who reported wanting to work at a job or business during reference week and were available but who did not look for work because they believed no suitable work was available. Prior to January 1997, the definition of discouraged searcher was limited to those who looked for work within the previous 6 months but not during the last 4 weeks although they were available, and did not look because they believed no suitable work was available. The change in concept and question wording results in a complete break in the series.

Duration of joblessness: Number of months or years elapsed since persons who are not currently employed last worked, provided that they worked at some time in the past.

Duration of unemployment: Number of continuous weeks during which a person has been on temporary layoff or without work and looking for work. Respondents are required to look for work at least once every four weeks, they are not required to undertake job search activities each week in order to be counted as unemployed. The LFS measures the duration of incomplete spells of unemployment, since the information is collected only from those currently unemployed. A spell of unemployment is interrupted or completed by any period of work or withdrawal from the labour force.

Dwelling: Any set of living quarters that is structurally separate and has a private entrance outside the building or from a common hall or stairway inside the building.

Earnings: See Wages.

Economic region: LFS economic regions (ERs) have been established at each decennial sample redesign in consultation with the provinces. The regions generally correspond to regions used by the province for administrative and statistical purposes. The LFS ERs coincide with the official Sub provincial Regions (SPRs) defined by Standards Division in consultation with the provinces, for use in dissemination of sub provincial data by Statistics Canada.

Educational attainment: Highest level of schooling completed. Questions relating to educational attainment were changed in 1990, to better capture the relationship between educational attainment and labour market outcomes.

From 1976 to 1989: data on primary and secondary education reflected the number of years of primary and secondary education completed. In the case of those whose highest level was grades 11 through 13, no attempt was made to determine if the respondent had actually graduated. However, post-secondary education was limited to the education which normally requires high school graduation. In addition, information on type of post-secondary was limited to three categories: 1) some post-secondary; 2) post-secondary certificate or diploma; 3) university degree.

Beginning January 1990: data on primary and secondary education reflects the highest grade completed. This provides a more consistent measure for those who accelerate or fail a grade than did years of school. A question on high school graduation has also been added since it is generally believed that persons who have never completed their secondary education have greater difficulty competing in the labour market. With the new questions, any education that could be counted towards a degree, certificate or diploma from an educational institution is taken as post-secondary education. The change allows more persons into the post-secondary education category. For example, trades programs offered through apprenticeship, vocational schools or private trade schools do not always require high school graduation. Such education is now considered as post-secondary while only primary or secondary would have been recognised prior to 1990. Finally, more information is collected on the type of post-secondary education: 1) some post-secondary; 2) trades certificate or diploma from a vocational or apprenticeship training; 3) Non-university certificate or diploma from a community college, CEGEP, school of nursing, etc.; 4) University certificate below bachelors degree; 5) Bachelors degree; and 6) University degree or certificate above bachelors degree.

Employee: A person who works for others. Employees can be subdivided into public sector employees and private sector employees. See Public/private sector employment.

Note: The definition of a paid worker may vary depending on the nature of the analysis. Those concerned with estimating the number of workers associated with total labour income usually include both employees and the self-employed with an incorporated business in estimates of paid workers. In contrast, most labour market analysts include only employees in paid worker estimates, while incorporated owners are grouped with the rest of the self-employed.

Employment: Employed persons are those who, during the reference week did any work for pay or profit, or had a job and were absent from work. (See Section 2: Determination of labour force status for more detail).

Employment rate: (employment/population ratio) Number of employed persons expressed as a percentage of the population 15 years of age and over. The employment rate for a particular group (age, sex, marital status, province, etc.) is the number employed in that group expressed as a percentage of the population for that group.

Establishment size: Beginning January 1997, the number of employees at the location of employment (building or compound) is collected from employees. Responses are recorded according to the following size groups: less than 20, 20 to 99, 100 to 500, more than 500. The concept of location of employment approximates the concept of establishment used by many Statistics Canada business surveys.

Family: The LFS identifies families according to the criteria for "Economic families": a group of two or more persons who live in the same dwelling and who are related by blood, marriage (including common-law) or adoption. A person living alone or who is related to no one else in the dwelling where he or she lives is classified as an unattached individual.

Firm size: Beginning January 1998, the number of employees at all locations of the employer is collected from employees. Responses are recorded according to the following size groups: less than 20, 20 to 99, 100 to 500, more than 500.

Flows into unemployment: Characterises the unemployed in terms of their activity immediately prior to looking for work. See Job leavers, Job losers, Re-entrants and New entrants.

Full-time employment: See Type of work.

Future starts: Persons who did not have a job during the survey reference week and did not search for work within the previous four weeks, but were available to work and had a job to start within the next four weeks. These persons are classified as unemployed, despite the lack of job search within the previous four weeks, since it is apparent that they are part of the current supply of labour. In contrast, those with jobs to start at a later time than the next four weeks are designated as long-term future starts and are classified as not in the labour force since they are not part of current labour supply.

Goods-producing industries (or goods sector, or goods industries): Includes agriculture; forestry, fishing, mining, and oil and gas extraction; utilities (electric power, gas and water); construction; and manufacturing.

Government sector: See Public/Private sector.

Head of family: See Reference person.

Hours: See Actual hours worked; Usual hours worked; Average hours worked; Overtime hours.

Hours lost: See Absence from work.

Household: Any person or group of persons living in a dwelling. A household may consist of any combination of: one person living alone, one or more families, a group of people who are not related but who share the same dwelling.

Immigrant population: See Landed immigrant.

Industry: General nature of the business carried out in the establishment where the person worked (main job only), based on the 2007 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). If a person did not have a job during the survey reference week, the information is collected for the last job held, providing the person worked within the previous twelve months.

Involuntary part-time: See Reason for working part-time.

Job leavers: Persons currently not employed, who last worked within the previous year and left that job voluntarily. That is, the employer did not initiate the termination. Detailed reasons collected are: own illness, personal or family responsibilities, going to school, no specific reason, changed residence, dissatisfied with job, retired. Since 1997, further detail is available, including business sold or closed down (self-employed only), pregnancy.

Job losers: Persons currently not employed, who last worked within the previous year and left that job involuntarily (employer initiated because of business conditions, downsizing etc.). Prior to 1997, this category was broken down into those on temporary layoff and those laid off on a permanent basis. Since January 1997, more detail for reason for permanent layoff is available: end of seasonal job; end of temporary, term or contract job; casual job, no work; company moved; company went out of business; laid off due to business conditions with no expectation of recall; dismissal by employer; other reasons.

Job permanency: Beginning January 1997, information is collected to allow the classification of paid jobs as either permanent or temporary. This classification is based on the intentions of the employer, and characteristics of the job, rather than the intentions of the employee. If a job that was formerly considered permanent is ending in the near future because of downsizing or closure, it is still regarded as permanent.

  1. Permanent: A permanent job is one that is expected to last as long as the employee wants it, given that business conditions permit. That is, there is no pre-determined termination date.
  2. Temporary: A temporary job has a predetermined end date, or will end as soon as a specified project is completed. Information is collected to allow the sub-classification of temporary jobs into four groups: seasonal; temporary, term or contract, including work done through a temporary help agency; casual job; and other temporary work.

Job search: See Methods of job search.

Job security: See Job permanency.

Job tenure: The number of consecutive months or years a person has worked for the current (or, if employed within the previous twelve months, the most recent) employer. The employee may have worked in one or more occupations or in one or more locations, or have experienced periods of temporary layoff with recall and still be considered to have continuous tenure if the employer has not changed. But if a person has worked for the same employer over different periods of time, job tenure measures the most recent period of uninterrupted work.

Labour force: Civilian non-institutional population 15 years of age and over who, during the survey reference week, were employed or unemployed. Prior to 1966, persons aged 14 and over were covered by the survey.

Labour force by industry or occupation: See Unemployment by industry or occupation.

Labour force status: Designates the status of the respondent vis-à-vis the labour market: a member of the non-institutional population 15 years of age and over is either employed, unemployed, or not in the labour force. See Section 2: Determining labour force status.

Landed immigrant: Refers to people who are, or have been, landed immigrants in Canada. A landed immigrant is a person who has been granted the right to live in Canada permanently by immigration authorities. Canadian citizens by birth and non-permanent residents (persons from another country who live in Canada and have a work or study permit, or are claiming refugee status, as well as family members living here with them) are not landed immigrants.

Main job: When a respondent holds more than one job or business, the job or business involving the greatest number of usual hours worked is considered to be the main job. The full or part-time status and industry and occupation information available from the survey refer to the main job, as does information for employees on wages, union status, job permanency, and workplace size.

Marital status: Refers to the marital status reported by the respondent. No differentiation is made between married and common-law relationships, both are classified as married in the survey. The classification of single is reserved for those who have never married, otherwise, respondents are classified as either widowed or separated/divorced.

Methods of job search: Identifies the various methods of job search activities undertaken by unemployed persons in the previous four weeks. If more than one method is used, each one is recorded. Search methods include: checked with public employment agency, private employment agency, union, employers directly, friends or relatives, placed or answered ads, looked at job ads, other methods.

Month of immigration: Refers to the month in which the immigrant obtained landed immigrant status. The month of immigration is available only for those immigrants who landed in Canada within the 5-year period prior to the year of the birth interview.

Multiple job holders: Persons who, during the reference week, were employed in two or more jobs simultaneously. This group is sometimes referred to as "Moonlighters".

New entrants: Persons entering the labour force in search of their first job (unemployed).

Not in the labour force: See Section 2: Determining labour force status.

Occupation: Refers to the kind of work persons were doing during the reference week, as determined by the kind of work reported and the description of the most important duties. For those not currently employed, information on occupation is collected for the most recent job held within the previous year. Occupational classification is based on the 2006 National Occupational Classification for Statistics (NOC-S).

Other job: (See also Main job) Information collected on the second job of multiple job holders and the old job of those who changed jobs during reference week is limited to: usual hours, actual hours worked, and status in employment.

Overtime hours (extra hours worked): The number of hours worked during the reference week in excess of the usual hours reported in main job. It includes all extra hours, whether the work was done at a premium or regular wage rate, or without pay. Since January 1997, extra hours are collected from employees only, in the form of 2 questions: number of paid overtime hours worked in reference week, and number of extra hours worked without pay.

  1. Paid overtime: includes any hours worked during the reference week over and above standard or scheduled paid hours, for overtime pay or compensation (including time off in lieu).
  2. Unpaid overtime: refers to time spent directly on work or work-related activities over and above scheduled paid hours. These must be extra hours worked for which the respondent received no additional compensation.

Participation rate: Total labour force expressed as a percentage of the population aged 15 years and over. The participation rate for a particular group (for example, women aged 25 years and over) is the labour force in that group expressed as a percentage of the population for that group.

Part-time employment: See Type of work and Reason for working part-time.

Permanent job: See Job permanency.

Personal or family responsibilities: Beginning January 1997, more detail is collected on the personal or family reasons for the following data items: reason for absence from work, reason for leaving last job, reason for working part-time, and reason for not looking for work. The greater detail includes a) caring for own children; b) caring for elder relative, and c) other personal or family reasons. Pregnancy is also included in the response list for the question on reason for leaving last job, and maternity or parental leave is included in the response list for the question on reason for absence from work.

Population: The target population covered by the survey corresponds to all persons aged 15 years and over residing in the provinces of Canada, with the exception of the following: persons living on Indian reserves, full-time members of the regular Armed Forces, and persons living in institutions (for example, inmates of penal institutions and patients in hospitals or nursing homes who have resided in the institution for more than six months).

Public/private sector employment:

  1. The public sector includes employees in public administration at the federal, provincial, territorial, municipal, First Nations and other Aboriginal levels as well as in Crown corporations, liquor control boards and other government institutions such as schools (including universities), hospitals and public libraries.
  2. The private sector comprises all other employees and self-employed owners of businesses (including unpaid family workers in those businesses), and self-employed persons without businesses.

The definition was changed in January 1999 in order to harmonize LFS data for the public and private sectors to the System of National Accounts standard. Prior to January 1999, "ownership" rules were used as the basis for classification of health care institutions and universities to the public sector by the LFS. Since January 1999, "funding" rules are used. As a result, all employees in universities and hospitals are now classified in the public sector. All historical data were revised to reflect this new definition. Thus, there is no break in public and private sector series.

Reason for leaving last job: Asked of all persons classified as unemployed or not in the labour force who last worked within the previous year. See Job Losers and Job Leavers for detailed reasons.

Reason for not looking for work: Beginning January 1997, asked of those who were not employed and did not search for work, but said they wanted work during reference week. Prior to 1997, asked of persons who had looked for work in the previous six months but not during the past four weeks. See also Discouraged searchers.

Reason for time lost/absence from work: See Absence from work.

Reason for working part-time: (See also Type of work) Prior to the introduction of the revised questionnaire in January 1997, the question on reason for working part-time was asked of all persons whose total usual work hours at all jobs or businesses were below 30 per week. Reasons included: own illness, personal or family responsibilities, going to school, could only find part-time work, did not want full-time work, other, and full-time work under 30 hours. This last category of respondents were redefined as full-time workers and not counted in any part-time estimates. The involuntary part-time rate was calculated by dividing those who reported they could only find part-time work by the total employed part-time.

Beginning January 1997, all respondents who usually worked less than 30 hours per week at their main or only job are asked if they want to work more or less than 30 hours at a (single) job or business. Depending on the response, the main reason for working part-time is collected. For those who respond that they want to work less than 30 hours, the main reason for not wanting to work 30 or more hours per week is collected. Responses include: own illness, personal or family responsibilities, going to school, personal preference, other.

For those who respond that they want to work 30 or more hours per week, the main reason for working less than 30 hours is collected. Responses include: own illness, personal or family responsibilities, going to school, business conditions, could not find work with 30 or more hours, other. Those whose response is "business conditions" or "could not find work with 30 or more hours" are further asked if they looked for work with 30 or more hours during the past four weeks. The change in concepts and definitions introduced in January 1997 results in a complete break in the involuntary part-time series.

The involuntary part-time rate is calculated by dividing those whose response is "business conditions" or "could not find work with 30 or more hours", whether they looked or did not look for work with 30 or more hours during the past four weeks, by the total number of persons working part-time at their main or only job.

Re-entrants: Persons currently unemployed who had worked in the past and were out of the labour force for some time following separation from their last job.

Reference person: At the time of interview the respondent designates a reference person for the family. The reference person is normally an adult with responsibility for the care or support of the family. The relationship of each family member to that reference person is recorded. See also Relationship to family reference person.

Reference week: The entire calendar week (from Sunday to Saturday) covered by the Labour Force Survey each month. It is usually the week containing the 15th day of the month. The interviews are conducted during the following week, called the Survey Week, and the labour force status determined is that of the reference week.

Relationship to family reference person: Relationship of each family member to the person who has been identified as the reference person (for example, someone with responsibility for the care or support of the family). Relationships include: self, spouse, son or daughter, grandchild, son or daughter-in-law, foster child, parent, parent-in-law, brother or sister, other relative.

Retirement age: The Labour Force Survey asks people who are not working, and who have left their last job within the year prior to being surveyed, why they left this job. One of the response categories is "retired." The average or median retirement age is calculated from this variable. For a complete description of who is represented and how the age is calculated, please refer to the article "Defining retirement" in Perspectives on Labour and Income, catalogue number 75-001-X, February 2007 issue on the Statistics Canada website (www.statcan.gc.ca).

Returning students: Since a majority of students are not attending school during the summer, supplementary questions are asked from May to August to identify those who are on summer break so that their labour market situation can be monitored. Youths (aged 15 to 24) are given the status of "returning student" if they reported that they were attending school full-time in the previous March and intend to return to school full-time in the fall. Information is also available for those who were full-time students in the previous March but do not intend to return to school full-time or are unsure of their intentions.

Rural and small town areas: Areas outside the commuting zone of Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) and Census Agglomerations (CAs). This includes:

  1. Rural areas, which are sparsely populate lands lying outside small towns, villages and other populated places, with less than 1,000 population according to the 2006 census.
  2. Small towns, which are urban areas with a population of 1,000 to 9,999 and with a population density of 400 inhabitants per square kilometre, based on the 2006 census.

School attendance: Establishes whether or not a respondent is attending an educational establishment. For those who are students, information is collected on the type of school, and whether enrolment is full or part-time, as designated by the educational establishment.

Seasonal adjustment: Fluctuations in economic time series are caused by seasonal, cyclical and irregular movements. A seasonally adjusted series is one from which seasonal movements have been eliminated. Seasonal movements are defined as those which are caused by regular annual events such as climate, holidays, vacation periods and cycles related to crops, production and retail sales associated with Christmas and Easter. It should be noted that the seasonally adjusted series contain irregular as well as longer-term cyclical fluctuations.

The seasonal adjustment program is a complex computer program which differentiates between these seasonal, cyclical and irregular movements in a series over a number of years and, on the basis of past movements, estimates appropriate seasonal factors for current data. On an annual basis, the historic series of seasonally adjusted data are revised in light of the most recent information on changes in seasonality.

Self-employment: Working owners of an incorporated business, farm or professional practice, or working owners of an unincorporated business, farm or professional practice. The latter group also includes self-employed workers who do not own a business (such as babysitters and newspaper carriers). Self-employed workers are further subdivided by those with or without paid help. Also included among the self-employed are unpaid family workers. They are persons who work without pay on a farm or in a business or professional practice owned and operated by another family member living in the same dwelling. They represented 1% of the self-employed in 2008.

Seniority: See Job tenure.

Service-producing industries (or service sector or service industries): Includes trade; transportation and warehousing; finance, insurance, real estate and leasing; professional, scientific and technical services; business, building and other support services; educational services; health care and social assistance; information, culture and recreation; accommodation and food services; other services; and public administration.

Student: See School attendance and Returning students.

Temporary layoff: Persons on temporary layoff are employees who did not work during the reference week because they had been temporarily released by their employer due to business conditions (not enough work, drop in orders or sales, retooling etc.). They must have a definite date to return to work, or an indication from their employer that they will be recalled in the future, and they must be available for work during the reference week. Persons on temporary layoff are not required to undertake any job search in order to be counted as unemployed.

Prior to January 1997 the wording and structure of the questionnaire was such that it was likely that a number of persons on temporary layoff were not identified as such, and were classified as "not in the labour force" rather than "unemployed". The 1997 redesign addressed this problem, resulting in a higher number of identified persons on temporary layoff. These changes result in a break in the temporary layoff series. Since those on temporary layoff account for a small proportion of the unemployed (less than 10%) the impact of these changes on the overall unemployment rate is negligible.

Temporary work: See Job permanency.

Type of work: Full-time or part-time work schedule. Full-time employment consists of persons who usually work 30 hours or more per week at their main or only job. Part-time employment consists of persons who usually work less than 30 hours per week at their main or only job. This information is available for those currently employed or who last worked within the previous year. Note: prior to 1996, full-time and part-time had been defined according to usual hours at all jobs, and those who considered their work schedule of less than 30 hours per week to be full-time work were classified as full-time workers. In January 1996, when the definition was revised, all historical data and records were adjusted to reflect this new definition. Thus, there is no break in part-time and full-time data series.

Type of work sought: Identifies whether a job searcher is looking for full-time or part-time work. Unemployed persons on temporary layoff are classified as looking for full or part-time on the basis of their usual hours at their former job. This information is not available for non-searchers who are classified as unemployed because they have a job to start in the next four weeks (future-starts).

Unattached individuals: Persons who live alone or who are not related to anyone else in the household. They are excluded from the family member counts.

Unemployment: Unemployed persons are those who, during reference week, were available for work and were either on temporary layoff, had looked for work in the past four weeks or had a job to start within the next four weeks. See Section 2: Determining labour force status for more details.

Unemployment by industry/occupation: The LFS produces information on the number of unemployed, the unemployment rate and the labour force by industry and occupation. The basis for these categories is industry or occupation of last job for those currently unemployed who have held a job in the previous year. It is important to note that no information is collected on industry or occupation of job search. Thus, these data should be interpreted with caution. For example, a recent graduate of law school looking for work as a lawyer in a law firm, may have last held a job as a waiter in a restaurant. For this person, unemployment is attributed to the personal service industry and the services occupation.

Unemployment rate: Number of unemployed persons expressed as a percentage of the labour force. The unemployment rate for a particular group (for example, age, sex, marital status) is the number unemployed in that group expressed as a percentage of the labour force for that group. For note on international comparisons, see Section 2: Determining labour force status.

Union status: Beginning January 1997, employees are classified as to their union status: a) union member; b) not a member but covered by a union contract or collective agreement; or c) non-unionized.

Unpaid family workers: Persons who work without pay on a farm or in a business or professional practice owned and operated by another family member living in the same dwelling.

Usual hours worked: Prior to January 1997, usual hours were the number of hours usually worked by the respondent in a typical week, regardless of whether they were paid. Beginning January 1997, usual hours for employees refers to their normal paid or contract hours, not counting any overtime. However, the definition of usual hours remains unchanged for the self-employed and unpaid family workers.

Variable hours: Beginning January 1997, information is collected to determine if the number of hours worked varies from week to week. In these cases, usual hours worked are calculated as the average of the hours worked in the last 4 weeks.

Wages: Beginning January 1997, information is collected on the usual wages or salary of employees at their main job. Respondents are asked to report their wage/salary before taxes and other deductions, and include tips and commissions. Weekly and hourly wages/salary are calculated in conjunction with usual paid work hours per week. Average hourly wages, average weekly wages, and wage distributions can then be cross-tabulated by other characteristics such as age, sex, education, occupation, and union status. Those who are paid on an hourly basis are also identified.

Work: Includes any work for pay or profit, that is, paid work in the context of an employer-employee relationship, or self-employment. It also includes work performed by those working in family business without pay (unpaid family workers).

Year of immigration: Refers to the year in which the immigrant obtained landed immigrant status by immigration authorities.

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