Census Subdivision Boundary File, Reference Guide, 2022

Release date: June 1, 2022

This reference guide is intended for users of the 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File. The guide provides an overview of the file, the general methodology used in its creation, and important technical information.

What's new?

1. About this guide

This reference guide does not provide details on specific software packages that are available for use with the 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File. Users are advised to contact the appropriate software vendor for information.

This data product is provided 'as-is', and Statistics Canada makes no warranty, express or implied, including but not limited to, warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. In no event will Statistics Canada be liable for any direct, special, indirect, consequential or other damages, however caused.

2. Overview

The 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File depicts the boundaries of all 5,180 census subdivisions (CSDs), which combined, cover all of Canada. It contains the unique identifier (UID), name and type, as well as the UIDs, names and types (where applicable) of selected higher geographic levels.

The 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File is portrayed in Lambert conformal conic projection (North American Datum of 1983 [NAD83]). The 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File is available as a national file.

3. About this product

Purpose of the product

The purpose of the 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File is to provide a framework for mapping and spatial analysis, and to support Geographic Information System (GIS) applications used for land use and demographic studies, as well as social, economic and market research.

The 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File is positionally consistent with the 2022 Road Network File, which provides additional reference for mapping.

Note: It is recommended that the "2021 Census Subdivision Boundary File" and the 2021 Road Network File be used as a basis for the retrieval of 2021 Census data for user-defined areas. Users can define their custom areas based on the roads in the 2021 Road Network File. Roads within the 2021 Road Network File correspond to the 2021 geographic frame and therefore do not require additional boundary reconciliation work, which facilitates the geocoding process. For information on custom area creation and geocoding services, please contact us at 1-800-263-1136 or infostats@statcan.gc.ca.

Definitions and concepts

Geographic terms and concepts are briefly defined in the Dictionary, Census of Population, 2021.

Content

The 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File contains the UID, name and type of the geographic areas represented, as well as the UIDs, names and types (where applicable) of the following higher geographic levels:

General methodology

The National Geographic Database (NGD) is a joint Statistics Canada-Elections Canada initiative to develop and maintain a spatial database that serves the needs of both organizations. The focus of the NGD is the continual improvement of quality and currency of spatial coverage using updates from provinces, territories and local sources. The source files used for the creation of the boundary file reside on Statistics Canada's Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI), which was derived directly from data stored in the NGD.

Creation of the 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File

The 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File was created from the lowest level of geography maintained in the NGD. Primary data manipulation of the product file included preserving the geographic hierarchy of the attributes inherent within a geographic level. A copy of the source CSD boundary file in its original format was created to facilitate geo-processing (e.g., joins, modifications and verification operations).

The file was verified for spatial and attribute content, translated into French and English, and appropriately named according to the file naming convention. Final data processing consisted of the conversion from the SDE feature dataset feature class format, using FME® (Safe Software), into the following file formats supported by Geographic Information System (GIS) software: Shapefile (.shp), Geography Markup Language (.gml) and File Geodatabase (.gdb).

The Esri® REST service and Web Map Service (WMS) were created and published using ArcGIS® Enterprise.

The Shapefile, Geography Markup Language and File Geodatabase files were compressed into WinZip® files (file extension .zip) and made available for download from the Statistics Canada website.

Limitations

The input data used to create the file was originally obtained from several sources having a wide range of scales. This boundary file will not be precise if plotted at a larger scale than the scale of the source material used in its creation. Maps created from the boundary file should not be used to determine the precise location of boundaries.

The positional accuracy of the file does not support cadastral, legal, surveying, digitizing or engineering applications.

Comparison to other products or versions

Differences between the 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File and previous versions of the CSD boundary file include:

Use with other products

When considering using the 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File, users should be aware of the compatibility of this file with those that are available from other sources. They may not be consistent with Statistics Canada files.

Reference date

The geographic reference date is a date determined by Statistics Canada to finalize the geographic framework for which statistical data are collected, tabulated and reported. The geographic reference date for the 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File is January 1, 2022.

4. Technical specifications

Record layout and data descriptions

The following table identifies and briefly describes the selected attributes comprising the content of the 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File.

Attribute domain values

Province and territory unique identifier (PRUID)

For information on province and territory unique identifiers, refer to the “Provinces and territories (PRUID), 2021 Census” table.

Census subdivision type (CSDTYPE)

Census subdivisions are classified according to designations adopted by provincial/territorial or federal authorities.

For information on census subdivision types, refer to the “Census subdivision type (CSDTYPE), 2021 Census” table.

Census division type (CDTYPE)

For information on census division types, refer to the “Census division type (CDTYPE), 2021 Census” table.

File specifications

Not applicable

Software formats

The 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File is available for download from the Statistics Canada website in the following formats:

The 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File is also available as map services from the Statistics Canada website in the following formats:

This reference guide does not provide details on specific software packages available for use with the 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File. Users should contact the appropriate software vendor for such information.

File extension and accented character information

The Shapefile, Geography Markup Language and File Geodatabase files are compressed into WinZip® files (file extension .zip).

The 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File contains attributes with accented characters. They were successfully tested on desktop versions of ArcGIS® 10.5.1 and FME Data Inspector 2015.1®.

Metadata

The downloadable compressed packages (.zip) include a metadata file (.xml) that describes and validates the structure and content of the 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File.

The same metadata are applied to the Esri® REST service and Web Map Service.

Geographic representation

The 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File is available from the Statistics Canada website in the following geographic representation:

The North American Datum of 1983 (NAD83) is an adjustment of the 1927 datum (NAD27) that reflects the higher accuracy of geodetic surveying.

Users of the 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File can transform the file into the representation that best satisfies their needs, knowing of the effects these representations have on angles, areas, distances and direction. Users have the option to choose the best projection in concert with display objectives.

File naming convention

Spatial product file names follow a file naming convention. The file projection, geographic level, geographic coverage, file type, geographic reference date, file format and language are embedded within the file name. Standardizing the names of the files facilitates the storage of compressed files, all having the extension .zip.

Each file name is 13 characters in length. All alphabetic characters are in lower case to maintain consistency.

First character: projection of file

Next three characters: primary geographic level of file

Next three numbers: geographic code of coverage

Next character: file type

Next two numbers: geographic reference date

The geographic reference date is a date determined by Statistics Canada to finalize the geographic framework for which statistical data are collected, tabulated and reported. The geographic reference date for the 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File is January 1, 2022.

Next character: file format

Final two characters: language

5. Data quality

Spatial data quality elements provide information on the fitness-for-use of a spatial database by describing why, when and how the data are created, and how accurate the data are. The quality elements include an overview of lineage, positional accuracy, attribute accuracy, logical consistency and completeness. This information is provided to users for all spatial data products disseminated.

Lineage

Lineage describes the history of the spatial data, including descriptions of the source material from which the data were derived, and the methods of derivation. It also contains the dates of the source material, and all transformations involved in producing the final digital files.

Positional accuracy

Positional accuracy refers to the absolute and relative accuracy of the positions of geographic features. Absolute accuracy is the closeness of the coordinate values in a dataset to values accepted as or being true. Relative accuracy is the closeness of the relative positions of features to their respective relative positions accepted as or being true. Descriptions of positional accuracy include the quality of the final file or product after all transformations.

The NGD is not fully Global Positioning Systems (GPS)-compliant. However, every possible attempt is made to ensure that the standard geographic area boundaries maintained in the NGD respect the limits of the administrative entities that they represent (e.g., CD and CSD) or on which they are based (e.g., census metropolitan area or census agglomeration). The positional accuracy of these limits is dependent upon source materials used by Statistics Canada to identify the location of limits. In addition, due to the importance placed on relative positional accuracy, the positional accuracy of other geographic data (e.g., road network data and hydrographic data) that are stored within the NGD is considered when positioning the limits of the standard geographic areas.

Attribute accuracy

Attribute accuracy refers to the accuracy of quantitative and qualitative attributes information attached to each feature (e.g., CSD name, UID, type).

As noted under the General methodology section, the attributes (names, types and UIDs) for all standard geographic areas are sourced from Statistics Canada's SDI. The names and types of standard geographic areas have been updated using source materials from provincial, territorial and federal authorities.

The attribute data associated with the polygons in the 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File were verified against data in the SDI and found to accurately reflect them.

Logical consistency

Logical consistency describes the fidelity of relationships encoded in the structure of the digital spatial data.

The 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File was verified against data in the SDI and found to be logically consistent.

Consistency with other products

The position of the boundaries in the 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File is not necessarily consistent with previous editions of boundary files or road network files as a result of updates made using provincially and territorially sourced data.

Topology checks were performed with the 2022 Road Network File and the 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File to measure the degree of integration amongst these products. The results indicated that the degree of integration was within the default tolerance parameters, as defined below.

Completeness

Completeness refers to the degree to which geographic features, their attributes and their relationships are included or omitted in a dataset. It also includes information on selection criteria, definitions used and other relevant mapping rules.

The 2022 Census Subdivision Boundary File contains the complete set of standard geographic areas for this level of the geographic hierarchy. Users should be aware that individual CSDs may consist of two or more geographic parts.

Appendices

See Figure 1.1, "Hierarchy of standard geographic areas for dissemination, 2021 Census," from the Dictionary, Census of Population, 2021.

See Interim List of Changes to Municipal Boundaries, Status, and Names, Up to January 1st, 2022.

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