Dictionary, Census of Population, 2021
Census consolidated subdivision (CCS)

Release date: November 17, 2021


A census consolidated subdivision (CCS) is a group of adjacent census subdivisions within the same census division. Generally, the smaller, more densely-populated census subdivisions (towns, villages, etc.) are combined with the surrounding, larger, more rural census subdivision, in order to create a geographic level between the census subdivision and the census division.

Reported in

2021, 2016, 2011, 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1986, 1981, 1976, 1971 and 1966


Census consolidated subdivisions are defined within census divisions (CDs) according to the following criteria:

  1. A census subdivision (CSD) with a land area greater than 25 square kilometres can form a CCS of its own. Census subdivisions having a land area smaller than 25 square kilometres are usually grouped with a larger census subdivision.
  2. A census subdivision with a land area greater than 25 square kilometres and surrounded on more than half its perimeter by another census subdivision is usually included as part of the CCS formed by the surrounding census subdivision.
  3. A census subdivision with a population greater than 100,000 according to the last census usually forms a CCS on its own.
  4. The census consolidated subdivision's name and code usually coincide with its largest census subdivision component in terms of land area.
  5. A CCS with fewer than 16 farms in the last census is merged with adjacent CCS(s) to help reduce data suppression while maintaining the confidentiality of the data for these smaller CCSs.

The final criterion was new for Census 2016. As a result of this new criterion, a significant number of CCSs were merged resulting in over 570 fewer CCSs in 2016.

The geographic code assigned to each census consolidated subdivision is the seven-digit Standard Geographical Classification (SGC) code of one of its component CSDs, usually the one with the largest land area (Figure 1.5 shows a hypothetical example). This assignment process also makes the CCS code unique across Canada. For example:

PR-CD-CCS codeCCS name
24 32 045Plessisville (Que)
35 32 045Blandford-Blenheim (Ont.)

Table 1.1 shows the number of census consolidated subdivisions by province and territory.

CCSs are used primarily for disseminating Census of Agriculture data. CCSs are relatively stable geographic areas because they have infrequent boundary changes and therefore can be useful for longitudinal analysis.

Refer to the related definitions of Census Division (CD), Census Subdivision (CSD) and Standard Geographical Classification (SGC).

Changes prior to the current census

For 2021, given the redesigned boundaries of census subdivisions (municipalities) in Prince Edward Island, CCS boundaries were also completely redrawn. At the same time, the number of CCSs in this province decreased from 45 to 34.

For 1991, significant boundary changes were made to CCSs in Quebec when census divisions were restructured to recognize the municipalités régionales de comté.

For 1976, the term 'census consolidated subdivision' was introduced. Prior to 1976, CCSs were referred to by the term 'reference code.'

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