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Ten things to know about Canadian metropolitan areas: A synthesis of Statistics Canada’s Trends and Conditions in Census Metropolitan Areas Series
By Andrew Heisz
The “Trends and Conditions in Census Metropolitan Areas” series of reports provides key background information on Canadian census metropolitan areas (CMAs) for the period 1981 to 2001. Based primarily on census data, this series provides substantial information and analysis on several topics: low income, health, immigration, culture, housing, labour markets, industrial structure, mobility, public transit and commuting, and Aboriginal people. This final assessment summarizes the major findings of the eight reports and evaluates what has been learned. It points out that the series has three key contributions. First, it details how place matters. Census metropolitan areas differ greatly in many indicators, and their economic and social differences are important factors that define them. Accordingly, policy prescriptions affecting cities may need to reflect this diversity. Second, the series contributes substantially to the amount of data and analysis needed to make accurate policy assessments of what may be ailing in Canada’s largest cities and where each problem is most acute. Third, it provides benchmarks against which future data—most notably data from the 2006 Census—can be examined. This summary also briefly discusses some subjects which were not covered in the series, identifying these as data gaps, or areas where more research is needed.
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