Dictionary, Census of Population, 2016
Census metropolitan area (CMA) and census agglomeration (CA)

Release date: November 16, 2016

Definition

A census metropolitan area (CMA) or a census agglomeration (CA) is formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centred on a population centre (known as the core). A CMA must have a total population of at least 100,000 of which 50,000 or more must live in the core based on adjusted data from the previous Census of Population Program. A CA must have a core population of at least 10,000 also based on data from the previous Census of Population Program. To be included in the CMA or CA, other adjacent municipalities must have a high degree of integration with the core, as measured by commuting flows derived from data on place of work from the previous Census Program.

If the population of the core of a CA falls below 10,000, the CA is retired from the next census. However, once an area becomes a CMA, it is retained as a CMA even if its total population declines below 100,000 or the population of its core falls below 50,000. All areas inside the CMA or CA that are not population centres are rural areas.

When a CA has a core of at least 50,000, based on data from the previous Census of Population, it is subdivided into census tracts. Census tracts are maintained for the CA even if the population of the core subsequently falls below 50,000. All CMAs are subdivided into census tracts.

Reported in

2016, 2011, 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1986, 1981, 1976, 1971, 1966, 1961, 1956, 1951, 1941

Remarks

The terms 'population centre,' 'core,' 'fringe' and 'rural area' replace the terms 'urban area,' 'urban core,' 'urban fringe' and 'rural fringe' since the 2011 Census.

The type of population centre is determined by the relationship between the population centre and the structure of the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) or census agglomerations (CAs). Possible types within a CMA or CA are as follows: core, secondary core, fringe and rural area.

Cores

A census metropolitan area (CMA) or a census agglomeration (CA) can have more than one core. The boundaries and population data for the cores that are used to delineate CMAs and CAs are taken from the previous census. Moreover, the core of a CMA must have a population of at least 50,000 and the core of a CA must have a population of at least 10,000. In all other cases where a CMA or a CA has more than one core, the additional cores are called fringes if they are in the same municipality (census subdivision), or secondary cores if they are in another municipality. In both cases, the population exceeds 10,000. If the previous census population count of a population centre does not exceed 10,000, it is also called a fringe. Also, when a CA is merged with a CMA, the core of the former CA also becomes a secondary core of that CMA. If the population of a fringe exceeds 10,000, and it is not in the same municipality as an existing core, it becomes a secondary core of the CMA or CA in which it exists.

Delineation rules for CMAs and CAs

A CMA or CA is delineated using adjacent municipalities (census subdivisions) as building blocks. These census subdivisions (CSDs) are included in the CMA or CA if they meet at least one of the following rules. The rules are ranked in order of priority. A CSD obeying the rules for two or more CMAs or CAs is included in the one for which it has the highest ranked rule. If the CSD meets rules that have the same rank, the decision is based on the population or the number of commuters (journey to work) involved. A CMA or CA is delineated to ensure spatial contiguity.

1. Delineation core rule: The CSD falls completely or partly (at least 50% of its population) inside the core.

For the purposes of CMA and CA delineation, a delineation core composed of one or more CSDs is created. For a CSD to be included in the primary or secondary delineation core, at least 50% of its population must reside in the core. In Figure 1.6, CSD A is part of the delineation core since its entire population resides in the core. CSD B is also part of the delineation core because at least 50% of its population resides in the core. The core hole, i.e., CSD K, is not considered to be included in the delineation core and will therefore be available for other delineation rules described below.

Figure 1.6
Delineation core rule

Figure 1.6 Delineation Core rule

Description of Figure 1.6

Figure 1.6 is a graphical representation of the delineation core rule (rule 1Note 1) for delineating a census metropolitan area (CMA). A fictional grouping of 12 census subdivisions (CSDs), shown as polygons labelled 'A' through 'L,' represent the group of CSDs that could form a CMA.

All of CSD A and a small portion of the adjacent CSDs B and J are shaded to represent a population centre. This population centre also makes up the core of the CMA. Since CMAs are built on CSDs, all of CSDs A and B are included in the CMA because of the delineation core rule. Since less than 50% of the CSD J population is located in the core, this CSD is not part of the CMA under the delineation core rule and will therefore be available for the other subsequent delineation rules. Census subdivision D has a small, shaded polygon within it that identifies a population centre that is not part of the core and is therefore referred to as fringe.

Census subdivision K is a small CSD that exists within the larger CSD B. This core hole, i.e., CSD K, is not considered to be part of the delineation core because it does not have at least 50% of its population living in the core. CSD K will therefore be available for the other subsequent delineation rules.

A thick black line outlines the perimeter of CSDs A, B and excludes CSD J and K, leaving a hole, to identify the boundary of the CMA.

Two legends appear below the figure. The legend on the left identifies the symbols used in the figure to represent the boundaries of the CMA, CSD, population centre, core and fringe. The legend on the right distinguishes which CSDs are included in the CMA according to their inclusion criteria. For this figure, CSDs A and B are included under rule 1 (delineation core rule).

Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census of Population.

2. Forward commuting flow rule: Given a minimum of 100 commuters, at least 50% of the employed labour force living in the CSD works in the delineation core, as determined by the previous rule. See the addition of the CSD C in the Figure 1.7. These counts are established based on responses to the place of work question from the previous Census Program (see note below).

Note: To delineate the CMAs and CAs, the data on place of work are taken from the Census Program. Commuting, i.e., the journey to work, comprises four categories: at home; outside Canada; no fixed workplace address and usual place of work. The calculation of the employed labour force excludes the category of no fixed workplace address. Moreover, all calculations of commuting flows exclude data on no fixed workplace address.

Figure 1.7
Forward commuting flow rule

Figure 1.7 Forward commuting flow rule

Description of Figure 1.7

Figure 1.7 is a graphical representation of the forward commuting (journey to work) flow rule (rule 2Figure 1.7 - note 1) for delineating a census metropolitan area (CMA). A fictional grouping of 12 census subdivisions (CSDs), shown as polygons labelled 'A' through 'L,' represent the group of CSDs that could form a CMA.

All of CSD A and a small portion of the adjacent CSDs B and J are shaded to represent a population centre. This population centre also makes up the core of the CMA. Census subdivision D has a small, shaded polygon within it that identifies a population centre that is not part of the core and is therefore referred to as fringe.

Census subdivision C, which is adjacent to CSD A, has a forward commuting flow of at least 100 and the percentage of the employed labour forceFigure 1.7 - note 2 working in the delineation core is greater than or equal to 50%. This is represented in the figure by an arrow that points from CSD C to the delineation core (CSDs A and B). Census subdivision C is, therefore, included in the CMA.

A thick black line outlines the perimeter of CSDs A, B, C and excludes CSD K, leaving a hole, to identify the new boundary of the CMA.

Two legends appear below the figure. The legend on the left identifies the symbols used in the figure to represent the boundaries of the CMA, CSD, population centre, core, fringe, and the arrow indicating forward commuting flow. The legend on the right distinguishes which CSDs are included in the CMA according to their inclusion criteria. For this figure, CSDs A and B are included under rule 1 (delineation core rule) and CSD C is included under rule 2 (forward commuting flow rule).

Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census of Population.

3. Reverse commuting flow rule: Given a minimum of 100 commuters, at least 50%* of the employed labour force working in the CSD lives in the delineation core as determined from commuting data based on the place of work question from the previous Census Program. In Figure 1.8, at least 50%* of the employed labour force working in CSD D lives in the CSDs A and B (see note for rule 2).

* In 2011, the percentage was set at 25%.

Figure 1.8
Reverse commuting flow rule

Figure 1.8 Reverse commuting flow rule

Description of Figure 1.8

Figure 1.8 is a graphical representation of the reverse commuting (journey to work) flow rule (rule 3Figure 1.8 - note 1) for delineating a census metropolitan area (CMA). A fictional grouping of 12 census subdivisions (CSDs), shown as polygons labelled 'A' through 'L,' represent the group of CSDs that could form a CMA.

All of CSD A and a small portion of the adjacent CSDs B and J are shaded to represent a population centre. This population centre also makes up the core of the CMA. Census subdivision D has a small, shaded polygon within it that identifies a population centre that is not part of the core and is therefore referred to as fringe.

Census subdivision D, which is adjacent to CSD B, has a reverse commuting flow with at least 100 commuters, greater than or equal to 50% employed labour force.Figure 1.8 - note 2 This is represented in the figure by an arrow that points from the delineation core (CSDs A and B) to CSD D. Census subdivision D is, therefore, included in the CMA.

A thick black line outlines the perimeter of CSDs A, B, C, D and excludes CSD K, leaving a hole to identify the new boundary of the CMA.

Two legends appear below the figure. The legend on the left identifies the symbols used in the figure to represent the boundaries of the CMA, CSD, population centre, core, fringe and the arrow indicating reverse commuting flow. The legend on the right distinguishes which CSDs are included in the CMA according to their inclusion criteria. For this figure, CSDs A and B are included under rule 1 (delineation core rule), CSD C is included under rule 2 (forward commuting flow rule) and CSD D is included under rule 3 (reverse commuting flow rule).

Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census of Population.

4. Spatial contiguity rule: Where necessary to eliminate holes, CSDs that do not meet a commuting flow threshold may be included in a CMA or CA, and CSDs that do meet a commuting flow threshold may be excluded from a CMA or CA.

Two situations can lead to the inclusion or exclusion of a CSD in a CMA or CA for reasons of spatial contiguity. Specifically, these are:

Outlier – A CSD (E in Figure 1.9) with sufficient commuting flows (either forward or reverse) is enclosed by a CSD (F in Figure 1.9) with insufficient commuting flows, but which is adjacent to the CMA or CA. When this situation arises, the CSDs within and including the enclosing CSD are grouped to create a minimum CSD set (E + F). The total commuting flows for the minimum CSD set are then considered for inclusion in the CMA or CA. If the minimum CSD set has sufficient commuting flows (either forward or reverse) and the total minimum of commuters is at least 100, then all of its CSDs are included in the CMA or CA.

Hole – A CSD (G in Figure 1.9) with insufficient commuting flows (either forward or reverse) is enclosed by a CSD (H in Figure 1.9) with sufficient commuting flows, and which is adjacent to the CMA or CA. When this situation arises, the CSDs within and including the enclosing CSD are grouped to create a minimum CSD set (G + H). The total commuting flows for the minimum CSD set are then considered for inclusion in the CMA or CA. If the minimum CSD set has sufficient commuting flows (either forward or reverse) and the total minimum of commuters is at least 100, then all of its CSDs are included in the CMA or CA.

Figure 1.9
Spatial contiguity rule

Figure 1.9 Spatial contiguity rule

Description of Figure 1.9

Figure 1.9 is a graphical representation of the spatial contiguity rule (rule 4Figure 1.9 - note 1) for delineating a census metropolitan area (CMA). A fictional grouping of 12 census subdivisions (CSDs), shown as polygons labelled 'A' through 'L,' represent the group of CSDs that could form a CMA.

All of CSD A and a small portion of the adjacent CSDs B and J are shaded to represent a population centre. This population centre also makes up the core of the CMA. Census subdivision D has a small, shaded polygon within it that identifies a population centre that is not part of the core and is therefore referred to as fringe.

Census subdivision F, which is adjacent to CSDs A and B (part of the CMA), is shown to have insufficient commuting flows (either forward or reverse). However, it completely contains a smaller CSD (CSD E) which is shown to have sufficient commuting flows. CSD E is considered to be an outlier. The combined commuting flows of CSD E and CSD F are shown to be sufficient to make them eligible for inclusion in the CMA. The commuting flows of these CSDs are represented in this figure by arrows in both directions, i.e., leading to and from the delineation core (CSDs A and B).

Census subdivision H, which is adjacent to CSDs A and B (part of the CMA), is shown to have sufficient commuting flows (either forward or reverse). However, it completely contains a smaller CSD (CSD G) which is shown to have insufficient commuting flows. CSD G is considered to be a hole. Like CSDs E and F, the combined commuting flows of these two CSDs (CSD G and CSD H) are shown to be sufficient to make them eligible for inclusion in the CMA. The commuting flows of these CSDs are represented in this figure by arrows in both directions, i.e., leading to and from the delineation core (CSDs A and B).

A thick black line outlines the perimeter of CSDs A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H and excludes CSD K, leaving a hole, to identify the new boundary of the CMA.

Two legends appear below the figure. The legend on the left identifies the symbols used in the figure to represent the boundaries of the CMA, CSD, population centre, core, fringe and the arrow indicating commuting flow. The legend on the right distinguishes which CSDs are included in the CMA according to their inclusion criteria. For this figure, CSDs A and B are included under rule 1 (delineation core rule), CSD C is included under rule 2 (forward commuting flow rule), CSD D is included under rule 3 (reverse commuting flow rule), and CSDs E, F, G and H are included under rule 4 (spatial contiguity rule).

Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census of Population.

5. Historical comparability rule: To maintain historical comparability for CMAs and larger CAs (those with census tracts in the previous census), CSDs are retained in the CMA or CA under this rule for one census even if their commuting fall below the minimum commuting flow thresholds (rules 2, 3 or 4). Users should be forewarned that a CSD can be excluded from a CMA or from a larger CA at the next census or the next delineation. See Figure 1.10 for the addition of the CSD I.

An exception to the historical comparability rule is made in cases where CSDs have undergone changes to their boundaries, such as annexations. To determine whether to keep or exclude a CSD, place of work data are re-tabulated for the CSD with boundary changes, and a decision to include or exclude the CSD is made according to the previous rules.

Figure 1.10
Historical comparability rule

Figure 1.10 Historical comparability rule

Description of Figure 1.10

Figure 1.10 is a graphical representation of the historical comparability rule (rule 5Figure 1.10 - note 1) for delineating a census metropolitan area (CMA). Two fictional groupings, layered one on top of the other, of 12 census subdivisions (CSDs) shown as polygons labelled 'A' through 'L,' represent the group of CSDs that could form a CMA. Both groupings are identical except the grouping on top is labelled 'Current census' while the grouping underneath is labelled 'Previous census' and the CSD L was not in two parts.

All of CSD A and a small portion of the adjacent CSDs B and J are shaded to represent a population centre. This population centre also makes up the core of the CMA. Census subdivision D has a small, shaded polygon within it that identifies a population centre that is not part of the core and is therefore referred to as fringe.

An arrow extends from CSD I in the previous census layer to CSD I in the current census layer to represent the inclusion of CSD I in the current version of the CMA since it was included in the previous CMA.

A thick black line outlines the perimeter of CSDs A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I and excludes CSD K, leaving a hole, to identify the new boundary of the CMA.

Two legends appear below the figure. The legend on the left identifies the symbols used in the figure to represent the boundaries of the CMA, CSD, population centre, core and fringe. The legend on the right distinguishes which CSDs are included in the CMA by which rule. For this figure, CSDs A and B are included under rule 1 (delineation core rule), CSD C is included under rule 2 (forward commuting flow rule), CSD D is included under rule 3 (reverse commuting flow rule), CSDs E, F, G and H are included under rule 4 (spatial contiguity rule), and CSD I is included under rule 5 (historical comparability rule).

Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census of Population.

6. Manual adjustments: A CMA or CA represents an area that is economically and socially integrated. However, there are certain limitations to the extent by which this ideal can be met. Since the CSDs that are used as building blocks in CMA and CA delineation are administrative units, their boundaries do not always match other statistical units (i.e., population centre cores). There can be situations where the application of the above rules creates undesirable outcomes, or where the rules cannot be easily applied. In these circumstances, a manual override is sometimes applied to ensure that the integrity of the program is retained.

For example, when the CSD is partially inside the core and, based on data from the previous Census of Population, less than 50% of its population resides in the core and it does not meet any of the other delineation rules (rules 1, 2, 3 or 4). In Figure 1.16, CSDs A and B are included in the CMA under the delineation core rule, while CSD J is retained under the manual adjustment rule (core).

Another example of manual adjustment of a core hole, which refers to a CSD that does not qualify for any delineation rule (rules 1, 2, 3 or 4) that is located inside another CSD that does qualify under the delineation core rule (rule 1). In these situations, core holes are included in the CMA or CA to maintain spatial contiguity. In Figure 1.16, CSDs A and B are included in the CMA under the delineation core rule, while CSD K is retained under the manual adjustment rule (core hole).

Thus, in Figure 1.16, CSDs A and B are included in the CMA under the delineation core rule, while CSDs J and K are both part of the manual adjustment rule, specifically under the core and core hole criteria respectively.

Finally, the CSDs that consist of several parts or that contain holes also influence application of the manual adjustment rule. An example of this situation can be found in Miramichi CA (New Brunswick), where the CSD of Red Bank 4, IRI, which is in two parts, is included to maintain spatial contiguity. See CSD L, in two parts, in Figure 1.16.

Figure 1.16
Manual adjustments rule

Figure 1.16 Manual adjustment rule

Description of Figure 1.16

Figure 1.16 is a graphical representation of the manual adjustment rule (rule 6Figure 1.16 - note 1) for delineating a census metropolitan area (CMA). A fictional grouping of 12 census subdivisions (CSDs), shown as polygons labelled 'A' through 'L,' represent the group of CSDs that could form a CMA.

All of CSD A and a small portion of the adjacent CSDs B and J are shaded to represent a population centre. This population centre also makes up the core of the CMA. Census subdivision D has a small, shaded polygon within it that identifies a population centre that is not part of the core and is therefore referred to as fringe.

Given that CMAs are an aggregation of CSDs, CSDs A and B are fully included in the CMA because of the delineation core rule, whereas CSD J is part of the CMA because of the manual adjustment rule, since less than 50% of its population is located in the core.

Census subdivision K is a small CSD located in the larger CSD B. Excluding CSD K would create a core hole, so CSD K is part of the CMA under the manual adjustment rule to maintain spatial contiguity.

Census subdivision L, made up of two separate parts, one of which is adjacent to CSDs C and J, is included in the CMA under the manual adjustment rule to maintain spatial contiguity.

A thick black line outlines the perimeter of CSDs A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K and L to identify the new boundary of the CMA.

Two legends appear below the figure. The legend on the left identifies the symbols used in the figure to represent the boundaries of the CMA, CSD, population centre, core and fringe. The legend on the right distinguishes which CSDs are included in the CMA by which rule. For this figure, CSDs A and B are included under rule 1 (delineation core rule), CSD C is included under rule 2 (forward commuting flow rule) and CSD D is included under rule 3 (reverse commuting flow rule). CSDs E, F, G and H are included under rule 4 (spatial contiguity rule) CSD I, is included under rule 5 (historical comparability rule), and CSDs J, K and L are included under rule 6 (manual adjustment rule).

Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census of Population.

7. Merging adjacent CMAs and CAs and secondary core rule: A CA adjacent to a CMA can be merged with the CMA if the total percentage commuting (journey to work) interchange between the CA and CMA is equal to at least 35% of the employed labour force living in the CA, based on place of work data from the previous Census Program. The total percentage commuting interchange is the sum of the commuting flow in both directions between the CMA and the CA as a percentage of the labour force living in the CA (i.e., resident employed labour force, excluding the no fixed workplace address category).

   Total resident employed labour force   +      Total resident employed labour force living in the CA and working in the CMA        living in the CMA and working in the CA         X 100%                                    Resident employed labour force of the CA                                                  ¯ MathType@MTEF@5@5@+= feaagKart1ev2aaatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbbjxAHX garmqr1ngBPrgitLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharuavP1wzZbIt LDhis9wBH5garqqr1ngBPrgifHhDYfgasaacH8rrps0lbba9q8WrFf euY=Hhbbb9q8qqaqFr0xc9qqFr0dXdbvb9frpepeI8k8hiNsFfY=qq LqVeFne9qq=xd9qqai=hf9sr0=vr0=vrWZqaaeaabiGaciaacaqabe aadaabauaaaOabceqacaatBaWWFeaafaqabeqadaaabaGaaeiiaiaa bccacaqGGaGaaeivaiaab+gacaqG0bGaaeyyaiaabYgacaqGGaGaae OCaiaabwgacaqGZbGaaeyAaiaabsgacaqGLbGaaeOBaiaabshacaqG GaGaaeyzaiaab2gacaqGWbGaaeiBaiaab+gacaqG5bGaaeyzaiaabs gacaqGGaGaaeiBaiaabggacaqGIbGaae4BaiaabwhacaqGYbGaaeii aiaabAgacaqGVbGaaeOCaiaabogacaqGLbGaaeiiaiaabccafaqabe qacaaabaaabaaaaaqaaiabgUcaRaqaaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaa bccacaqGGaGaaeivaiaab+gacaqG0bGaaeyyaiaabYgacaqGGaGaae OCaiaabwgacaqGZbGaaeyAaiaabsgacaqGLbGaaeOBaiaabshacaqG GaGaaeyzaiaab2gacaqGWbGaaeiBaiaab+gacaqG5bGaaeyzaiaabs gacaqGGaGaaeiBaiaabggacaqGIbGaae4BaiaabwhacaqGYbGaaeii aiaabAgacaqGVbGaaeOCaiaabogacaqGLbaaaaqaeS8=faqabeqada aabaGaaeiBaiaabMgacaqG2bGaaeyAaiaab6gacaqGNbGaaeiiaiaa bMgacaqGUbGaaeiiaiaabshacaqGObGaaeyzaiaabccacaqGdbGaae yqaiaabccacaqGHbGaaeOBaiaabsgacaqGGaGaae4Daiaab+gacaqG YbGaae4AaiaabMgacaqGUbGaae4zaiaabccacaqGPbGaaeOBaiaabc cacaqG0bGaaeiAaiaabwgacaqGGaGaae4qaiaab2eacaqGbbaabaaa baGaaeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaabY gacaqGPbGaaeODaiaabMgacaqGUbGaae4zaiaabccacaqGPbGaaeOB aiaabccacaqG0bGaaeiAaiaabwgacaqGGaGaae4qaiaab2eacaqGbb GaaeiiaiaabggacaqGUbGaaeizaiaabccacaqG3bGaae4Baiaabkha caqGRbGaaeyAaiaab6gacaqGNbGaaeiiaiaabMgacaqGUbGaaeiiai aabshacaqGObGaaeyzaiaabccacaqGdbGaaeyqaaaafaqabeqacaaa baGaaeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaabc cacaqGybaabaGaaeymaiaabcdacaqGWaGaaeyjaaaaaeabl==aa0aa aeabl=VaaeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiai aabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGa aeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaabccaca qGGaGaaeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaa bccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaabccacaqGsbGaaeyzaiaabohacaqGPbGaae izaiaabwgacaqGUbGaaeiDaiaabccacaqGLbGaaeyBaiaabchacaqG SbGaae4BaiaabMhacaqGLbGaaeizaiaabccacaqGSbGaaeyyaiaabk gacaqGVbGaaeyDaiaabkhacaqGGaGaaeOzaiaab+gacaqGYbGaae4y aiaabwgacaqGGaGaae4BaiaabAgacaqGGaGaaeiDaiaabIgacaqGLb GaaeiiaiaaboeacaqGbbGaaeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaabcca caqGGaGaaeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiai aabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGa aeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaabccaca qGGaGaaeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaa bccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaiaabccacaqGGaGaae iiaiaabccacaqGGaGaaeiiaaaaaaaa@3417@

If more than one CA is adjacent to the same CMA, each CA is assessed separately with the CMA. Several CAs may be merged with one CMA. If the total percentage commuting interchange is less than 35%, the CMA and CA are not merged. After a CA is merged with a CMA, the core of the former CA is called the secondary core of the CMA. See Figure 1.11.

Figure 1.11
Example of a merged census metropolitan area (CMA) and census agglomeration (CA)

Figure 1.11 Example of a merged census metropolitan area (CMA) and census agglomeration (CA)

Description of Figure 1.11

Figure 1.11 is a graphical representation of an example of a census agglomeration (CA) that has merged with a census metropolitan area (CMA). A fictional grouping of census subdivisions (CSDs) that make up a CMA are shown as polygons.

The polygons that make up the original CMA are shaded dark grey. Inside this grouping is a polygon shaded with dotted lines that represents the core of the CMA. A smaller polygon shaded with vertical, varied lines also exists in this grouping that represents a smaller population centre within the CMA, known as fringe.

The polygons that make up the CA that merged with the CMA are shaded light grey. Inside this grouping is a grey polygon with varied horizontal lines that represents the secondary core of the CMA. This was the former CA core.

A thick black line outlines the perimeter of all the CSDs to identify the boundary of the CMA.

An arrow outside the boundary of the CMA extends from the dark-shaded polygons to the light-shaded polygons to represent the total employed labour force living in the CMA and working in the CA (3,150). Another arrow outside the boundary extends from the light-shaded polygons to the dark-shaded polygons to represent the total employed labour force living in the CA and working in the CMA (350).

An equation is shown under the second arrow to illustrate how the total percentage commuting interchange between the CA and CMA is calculated in this example. The sum of these two populations, 3,500, is divided by the resident employed labour force of the CA (10,000) and multiplied by 100 to equal a 35% interchange.

The calculation of the employed labour force excludes the category of no fixed workplace address. Moreover, all calculations of commuting exclude data on no fixed workplace address.

A legend appears below the figure to identify the symbols used in the figure for representing the CMA, the CA, the new CMA boundary, and the boundaries of the CSD, population centre, core, secondary core and fringe.

Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census of Population.

Naming convention for CMAs and CAs

Prior to May 25, 2009, the convention for the naming of a CMA or CA was based on the name of the principal population centre or largest city at the time the CMA or CA was first formed. This standard had been used since the 1971 Census. Through the years, the CMA and CA names have remained stable. The most important changes resulted from name changes to the census subdivisions (resulting from municipal dissolutions, incorporations and name changes).

Guidelines for CMA name change requests

The key revision to the convention is the establishment of 'Guidelines for CMA name change requests' as published in Preliminary 2011 Census Metropolitan and Census Agglomeration Delineation (Catalogue no. 92F0138M). Below are the guidelines for requesting a change:

  1. CMA names can consist of up to three legislated municipal names of eligible census subdivisions (CSDs) that are components of the CMA. However, the number of name elements in any new CMA name request is limited to five. If any of the eligible CSD names are already hyphenated or compound, the number of CSD names will be limited to two or one if the number of name elements exceeds five.
  2. The eligible municipal names include the historic central municipality name and the two component CSDs with the largest population, and having a population of at least 10,000, according to the last census.
  3. The ordering of the municipal names within the CMA name is determined by the historic (central) municipality and the population size of the eligible CSDs. The first component of the CMA name is always the historic (central) CSD even if its census population count is less than the other eligible component CSDs. This ensures that CMA names retain a measure of stability for better longitudinal recognition. The second and third place name order is determined by population size. The component CSD with the higher census population count at the time of the name change assumes the second position and the next largest component CSD, the third position.
  4. In order for a requested CMA name change to be implemented, there must be explicit consensus among all eligible component municipalities on a proposed new name and a formal request, in accordance with these guidelines, must be sent to the Director of the Statistical Registers and Geography Division at Statistics Canada by June 1 of the year prior to the census. The CMA name change will be implemented in the revision of the Standard Geographical Classification related to the census under consideration.
  5. Statistics Canada will continue to change CMA names whenever the legislated name of a municipality changes. Any other request for a name change will only be considered within the context of these guidelines.

CMA/CA coding structure

Each CMA and CA is assigned a three-digit code that identifies it uniquely in Canada. The first digit is the same as the second digit of the province code in which the CMA or CA is located. If a CMA or CA spans a provincial boundary, then the province code assigned represents the province with the greater proportion of core population. Codes for CAs in Yukon and the Northwest Territories begin with the same digit as for those CMAs or CAs located in British Columbia. There are currently no CMAs or CAs in Nunavut.

Table
Table summary
This table displays an example of census metropolitan area/census agglomeration code (appearing as row headers), census metropolitan area/census agglomeration name (appearing as column headers).
CMA/CA code CMA/CA name
001 St. John's CMA (N.L.)
215 Truro CA (N.S.)
462 Montréal CMA (Que.)
995 Yellowknife CA (N.W.T.)

If data for provincial parts are required, it is recommended that the two-digit province/territory (PR) code precede the CMA/CA code for those CMAs/CAs that cross provincial boundaries. For example:

Table
Table summary
This table displays an example of province/territory-census metropolitan area/census agglomeration code (appearing as row headers), census metropolitan area/census agglomeration name (appearing as column headers).
PR-CMA/CA code CMA/CA name
24 505 Ottawa - Gatineau CMA (Quebec part)
35 505 Ottawa - Gatineau CMA (Ontario part)
47 840 Lloydminster CA (Saskatchewan part)
48 840 Lloydminster CA (Alberta part)

Table 1.1 shows the number of census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations by province and territory.

Changes to the number of CMAs and CAs for the 2016 Census

Some CAs may change type between censuses. For the 2016 Census, Belleville (Ont.) and Lethbridge (Alta.), which were both a CA in 2011, became CMAs, while Grand Prairie (Alta.) and Wood Buffalo (Alta.) are now subdivided into census tracts because their core population was at least 50,000 in 2011.

Eight new CAs were created: Gander (N.L.), Sainte-Marie (Que.), Arnprior (Ont.), Carleton Place (Ont.), Wasaga Beach (Ont.), Winkler (Man.), Weyburn (Sask.) and Nelson (B.C.).

The CAs of Amos (Que.) and Temiskaming Shores (Ont.) were retired because the population of their cores dropped below 10,000 in 2011.

Data quality

CMAs and CAs are statistically comparable because they are delineated in the same way across Canada. They differ from other areas such as trading or marketing areas, or regional planning areas designated by regional authorities for planning and other purposes, and should be used with caution for non-statistical purposes.

The CSD limits used in CMA and CA delineation are those in effect on January 1, 2016 (the geographic reference date for the 2016 Census) and received by Statistics Canada before March 1, 2016. In addition, CMA and CA delineation uses commuting (journey to work) data based on the place of work question asked in the previous Census Program.

Refer to the related definitions of population centre (POPCTR); core, fringe and rural area; census subdivision (CSD).

Changes prior to the current census

2011

2006

2001

1996

1986

1981

1976

1971

1966

1961

1956

1951

1941

Date modified: