Policy on response to formal review requests of 2021 Census population and dwelling counts

When Statistics Canada releases population and dwelling counts from the census, data users sometimes question the validity of the counts for a particular geographic area such as a municipality (census subdivision) or sub-municipal area (designated place).


  1. Statistics Canada will respond to each request received and conduct a formal review for each request that falls within the scope of the exercise (e.g., type of geographic area).
  2. Statistics Canada will conduct a formal review only for the following geographic areas: municipality (census subdivision) or sub-municipal area (designated place).
  3. In cases where no error in the population and dwelling counts is detected, Statistics Canada will confirm the published census counts with a written explanation.
  4. In cases where errors in the population and dwelling counts are confirmed, Statistics Canada will provide the results of the research and the revised counts. Statistics Canada will:
    • notify the respective province or territory, and any other municipalities or places affected by the revised counts.
    • document the error detected and publish errata statements (corrections) for the affected areas on the Statistics Canada website. Statistics Canada will not, however, correct the 2021 Census database and data products if errors are found.
    • take any adjustments made as a result of a review into account when producing net undercoverage-adjusted population estimates from the reviewed 2021 Census population counts (i.e., subprovincial population estimates that will be released in spring 2024).
  5. Statistics Canada will not re-enumerate a community as part of a formal review. The census is a major undertaking that is uniquely valuable because it records dwelling counts and population characteristics for every municipality in Canada at a single point in time (Census Day) using standard definitions and procedures.

How to submit a request for formal review of 2021 Census population and dwelling counts

The deadline to submit a request for a formal review is December 31, 2022.

Requests should state the data users’ concern, the extent or scope of the suspected issue, and the reason for the request to review the census population and dwelling counts. Statistics Canada may subsequently request that supporting documentation be submitted, in a prescribed format, to substantiate a potential error. Supporting documentation could be in the form of administrative records (e.g., assessment records, utilities' customer addresses, building permits, election lists) or recent local census counts.

When considering submitting a request, it is important to keep in mind that the census enumerates the Canadian population on a "usual residence" basis (de jure), whereby persons are enumerated at their usual place of residence, even if they are temporarily away at the time of the census (May 11, 2021). Therefore, the census universe for any level of geography excludes foreign and temporary residents, including persons who have a main residence elsewhere but stay temporarily while working, studying or visiting—whether due to the COVID-19 pandemic or other reasons.

After December 31, 2022, questions related to 2021 Census population and dwelling counts will be considered in the planning of the 2026 Census.


Requests for information or for a review of population and/or dwelling census counts should be made by contacting the relevant Statistics Canada office:

Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick:



Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut:

British Columbia and Yukon:

Questions concerning the policy should be directed to:

Andrea Levett
Assistant director
Census Subject Matter Secretariat
Email: andrea.levett@statcan.gc.ca
Telephone: 613-293-2372
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