General information

To meet its mandate, Statistics Canada is required to 'collect, compile, analyse, abstract and publish statistical information relating to the commercial, industrial, financial, social, economic and general activities and conditions of the people of Canada' as well as to 'take the census of population of Canada and the census of agriculture of Canada' as provided in the Statistics Act.

The Geography Division of Statistics Canada maintains a spatially referenced geographic database in support of the Census of Population and Census of Agriculture, the National Household Survey, the Standard Geographical Classification and other Statistics Canada programs. The Geography Division also develops geographical concepts, delineates geographic areas, publishes maps and other reference materials, produces files, and offers a variety of services.

For the 2011 Census, the geography product line includes geography concepts, enhancements to existing products, and a greater presence on the website. Geographic products are available in a variety of formats and are available on the Statistics Canada website.

The geographic reference date is a date determined by Statistics Canada to finalize the geographic framework for which 2011 Census statistical data are collected, tabulated and reported. The reference date for 2011 Census standard geographic areas is January 1, 2011. More specifically, the census reports data according to the geographic areas (e.g., municipalities and equivalents referred to as census subdivisions) that are in effect on January 1, 2011, provided that Statistics Canada receives the information on the changes by March 1, 2011 (see 2011 Census Dictionary – Geographic reference date for more details).

The Geography Catalogue, Census year 2011 presents the content of the 2011 Census geography product and service line and highlights changes within the geography product and service line. The Geography Catalogue is organised into the following categories of products and services:

  1. Reference documents
  2. Attribute information products
  3. Spatial information products
  4. Maps
  5. Custom Services

A glossary and a table showing geographic units by province and territory are included as appendices.

Effective February 3, 2011, the term 'population centre' replaced the term 'urban area.' Population centres are classified into one of three groups based on the size of their population. For more information, see the note entitled From urban areas to population centres. In addition, the terms 'urban core', 'urban fringe' and 'rural fringe' are replaced by the terms 'core', 'fringe' and 'rural area.'

Most products listed in the Geography Catalogue, Census year 2011, are available for free on the Statistics Canada website.

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