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Commuting Patterns and Places of Work of Canadians, 2006 Census: Portrait of census metropolitan areas and their municipalities

Place of work

Location of jobs in the metropolitan territory: many jobs in the peripheral sectors of large urban areas

The location of jobs in the census metropolitan areas can have an important impact on transportation infrastructure requirements, vitality and economic health of the central neighbourhoods, as well as on workers' commuting distances. This is why it is important to know where the main job locations are within the large urban areas.

Looking at CMAs at the census tract (CT) level (see box) provides a better understanding of job location.

The maps of the 33 CMAs (set 1) by census tracts (CTs) show the main concentrations of job locations in the large urban areas. They also show where the workers reside.

Census tracts (CTs) are small, relatively stable geographic areas that usually have a population of 2,500 to 8,000. They are located in census metropolitan areas and in census agglomerations with an urban core population of 50,000 or more in the previous census.

A committee of local specialists (for example, planners, health and social workers and educators) initially delineates CTs in conjunction with Statistics Canada.

The CT analysis shows that there is generally a dominant cluster of workplaces in the city centre, as well as other clusters of workplaces in the peripheral areas, some of which are very important in terms of the number of workers.

For example, in the Toronto CMA, among the thousand census tracts (CTs), the one with the most workers was located about 20 km from downtown, in the municipality of Mississauga (where 108,500 workers reported their usual place of work). This CT, located to the west of the intersection of highways 427 and 401 (and which includes the Lester B. Pearson International Airport), was also the CT with the most jobs in Canada in 2006.

In most CMAs, the CT analysis shows that many jobs are spread out around the census metropolitan areas outside the city centre cluster and other more peripheral clusters of workplaces. Given the nature of public transit systems, which can only be viable if a mass of users is heading to a common place (for example, a major cluster of workplaces), getting to these work places by public transit can be difficult.

Moreover, the CT analysis reveals that the number of workers living in the central neighbourhoods is generally much smaller than the number of people working there. The same is generally true of the clusters of workplaces in peripheral locations.

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