Dictionary, Census of Population, 2016
Collective dwelling

Release date: May 3, 2017


Refers to a dwelling of a commercial, institutional or communal nature. It may be identified by a sign on the premises or by an enumerator speaking with the person in charge, a resident, a neighbour, etc. Included are lodging or rooming houses, hotels, motels, tourist establishments, nursing homes, hospitals, staff residences, military bases, work camps, jails, group homes, and so on.

Statistical unit(s)

Not applicable


Not applicable

Reported in

2016,Note 1 2011, 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1986, 1981, 1976, 1971, 1966 and 1961.

Reported for

For more information on the dwelling universe, refer to the Guide to the Census of Population, 2016.

Question number(s)

Not applicable


Information on the type of collective dwelling is collected by the enumerator by speaking with a person in charge, a resident, a neighbour, etc. Enumerators first classify collective dwellings into 10 categories. Based on the category selected, additional information about the services offered is obtained to more precisely classify the type of collective dwelling.

The 10 categories and their definitions are:


Institution, licensed to be a hospital, providing medical or surgical diagnosis and treatment to the ill or injured.

Also included in this category are institutions that are not licensed as hospitals but provide continuous medical, nursing and professional health care supervision for persons who are not independent in all activities of daily living, such as chronically ill persons. Facilities, not licensed as hospitals, which are specifically for elderly persons are excluded from this category.

Included are general hospitals, specialty hospitals, chronic care or long-term care hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, and other types of licensed hospitals.

Excluded are hospitals located within another collective dwelling, such as a hospital in a correctional facility or a hospital on a military base. The residents of these hospitals are counted as residents of the larger collective dwelling.

Nursing home and/or residence for senior citizens

Facilities for elderly residents that provide accommodations with health care services or personal support or assisted living care.

Health care services include professional health monitoring and skilled nursing care and supervision 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for people who are not independent in most activities of daily living.

Support or assisted living care services include meals, housekeeping, laundry, medication supervision, assistance in bathing or dressing, etc., for people who are independent in most activities of daily living.

Included are nursing homes, residences for senior citizens, and facilities that are a mix of both a nursing home and a residence for senior citizens.

Excluded are facilities licensed as hospitals, and facilities that do not provide any services (which are considered private dwellings).

Residential care facility such as a group home for persons with disabilities or addictions

Residential facilities that provide accommodations with health care and/or social assistance services, such as counselling, supervision or custody, personal support or assisted living care, diagnosis or treatment.

Generally, residential care facilities provide a level of care that is below that found in hospitals.

Included are group homes or institutions for the physically disabled, treatment centres, group homes for children and youth, and group homes or institutions for people with psychiatric disorders or developmental disabilities.

Excluded are facilities that accommodate elderly residents who require services, and facilities for persons who need shelter or assistance. These facilities have a separate collective type category. Private dwellings with foster children are also excluded and are still considered private dwellings.


Establishments for persons lacking a fixed address or for persons needing transitional shelter or assistance.

Included are shelters for persons lacking a fixed address (such as homeless shelters or shelters for street youth), shelters for abused women and children, and transition homes or halfway houses for ex-inmates or persons on conditional release.

Correctional or custodial facility

Facilities where persons (inmates, young offenders, or other persons) serve a sentence to custody or where they are detained to await court proceedings, judgement, sentence, or release.

Included are federal correctional institutions, provincial and territorial custodial facilities, young offenders' facilities, jails/police lock-ups.

Excluded are transition homes.

Lodging or rooming house

Commercial establishments (which may originally have been a private dwelling) that have furnished rooms for rent. Residents receive no type of care. They generally have access to common facilities such as the kitchen and/or bathroom. Generally, the clientele are transitioning between housing tenures or locations, and have no other place of residence.

Some types of non-institutional collective dwellings provide furnished accommodations without any type of care, but they are not 'lodging or rooming houses.' Usually, they serve a specific clientele. To illustrate, religious establishments are for members of a religious group; hotels or motels are for business travellers or persons on pleasure trips; school residences are for students; or, work camps are for employees of an industry. Such collective dwellings are excluded from this category.

Religious establishment such as a convent, monastery or seminary

Establishments such as a convent, seminary, monastery or religious commune which provide accommodations to members of a religious group.

Hutterite colony

A group of people of the Hutterite religion who live in dwellings that belong to the community and use their land for agricultural purposes.

Establishment with temporary accommodation services such as a hotel, campground, YMCA, Ronald McDonald House or hostel

Establishments (mostly commercial and may charge for accommodations) that serve as temporary accommodations for business travellers, persons on pleasure trips, or persons travelling for other purposes (such as medical treatment).

Included are hotels, motels, campgrounds, parks, and other establishments with temporary accommodation services. Generally, the clientele stay at the collective dwelling for a short period of time; however, there may be some people who reside there long term or use the collective dwelling as their usual place of residence.

Other establishment such as a school residence, military base, work camp or vesselNote 2

Establishment that meets the criteria of the collective dwelling definition, but does not fall into any other specified type.

Included are school residences, training centre residences, work camps, military bases (including other buildings on the base), vessels (government or commercial), and other types of collective dwellings.

Generally, the clientele of these collectives are less transient than the clientele of hotels, motels and campgrounds.


Only data for collective dwellings occupied by usual residents are published and limited information is available. The categories published for collective dwelling depend on the data quality. The categories published are derived using both the 10 collective dwelling type categories used for classification by the enumerator as well as the additional information collected that more precisely identifies the types of services offered.

Prior to 2016, census enumerators classified the type of collective dwellings using up to 27 categories. Generally, and depending on data quality, similar categories can be derived from the 2016 classification using the 10 collective dwelling types and the additional information that was collected on the types of services offered by the collective dwelling.


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