Archived Content

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Data sources

Major data source
Major data source indicates that the survey is strongly focused on a particular topic. For example, the Labour Force Survey is clearly focused on the topic of labour. Please note that some surveys can be a major data source for more than one Census Program topic.
Secondary data source
Secondary data source indicates a survey that offers significant information on a topic other than its main topic. For example, the Labour Force Survey focuses on labour; however, in collecting data, several questions are asked about respondents' education and income. Labour data are also available for Aboriginal Peoples as well as immigrants.
Limited data source
A distinction is made between secondary data sources and data sources containing limited information on the topic because some surveys also touch on various topics. For example, the Labour Force Survey touches on the topic of labour information about families (e.g., Labour Force Survey estimates by economic family status and Labour Force Survey estimates by family type and family age composition).

Survey types

Administrative data sources
Administrative data are collected by organizations other than Statistics Canada for their own purposes.
Cross-sectional surveys
A cross-sectional survey provides a portrait of a sample or population at a precise point in time.
Longitudinal data sources
A longitudinal data source collects information on the same respondents at repeated intervals.
Postcensal surveys
A postcensal survey usually takes place shortly after a census. One or more screening questions on the census questionnaire are used to select the sample to be surveyed. Many of these surveys are no longer being conducted or were a one-time survey – except for the Aboriginal Peoples Survey.


Aboriginal peoples
The Aboriginal Peoples of Canada, as defined by The Constitution Act, 1982, include the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.
Activity limitations
The topic Activity limitations includes the reduction in activities due to physical or mental conditions or health problems.
The topic Education relates to activities whose purpose is to develop knowledge, skills, understanding and values.
Ethnic diversity and immigration
The topic Ethnic diversity and immigration includes information on ethnic groups, visible minority population, immigrants, the Canadian-born population and non-permanent residents in Canada, as well as the generational status of Canadians (Canadians who have been in Canada, for example, for one, two or three or more generations).
Families and households
The topic Families and households includes the two family types: the census family and the economic family. The census family refers to a married couple (with or without children of either and/or both spouses), a common-law couple (with or without children of either and/or both partners) or a lone parent of any marital status, with at least one child living in the same dwelling. A couple may be of opposite sex or same sex. The economic family refers to a group of two or more persons who live in the same dwelling and are related to each other by blood, marriage, common-law, adoption or foster relationship. A couple may be of opposite sex or same sex.
Housing and shelter costs
The topic Housing and shelter costs provides data on who pays the rent or mortgage, taxes, electricity, etc., for this dwelling, who is the owner or the lessee, if the dwelling is part of a condominium development, the number of rooms and bedrooms, the period when built, the need of repairs, if the dwelling is part of agricultural operation, the yearly payments, the monthly rent and the owner costs.
Income and earnings
The topic Income and earnings includes data on income (paid employment income and/or self-employment income), income from government (child benefits, Old Age Security Pension, benefits from Pension Plan, etc.), amount paid for child care, support payments, other income (dividends, capital gains or losses, etc.), total income from all sources and income tax paid on income.

The topic Labour provides information on how many people are employed or unemployed, the unemployment rate, which industries or occupations people work in, the hours they work, wage and non-wage benefits, and many other labour-related topics.
The topic Language presents information on the language composition of Canada including information on English, French, Aboriginal and other language groups living in Canada.
Mobility and migration
The topic Mobility and migration includes information sources that describe where people living in Canada are moving to and from, both within and outside Canada, and who is moving in terms of age, sex, education, occupation, language, etc.
Place of work and commuting to work
This topic is two-fold: Place of work refers to anyone who works at home, works outside of Canada, has no fixed workplace address, or works at a specific address; commuting to work refers to the mode of transportation to work (the main means that a person uses to travel between the home and the workplace, for example, by car, on foot, on public transit, or by some other means) as well as the time of travel to work.
Population and demography
The topic Population and demography contains data sources on populations (for example, population estimates and projections), as well as the evolution factors of these populations (births, deaths, migrations).
The topic Religion refers to the number and distribution of people belonging to various religious denominations and beliefs. The data on religion are collected every 10 years.

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