Custom services, 2021 Census

Data services

Custom tabulations

Custom tabulations are available from the 100% short-form databases for census years 1971 to 2021, and from the census long-form sample databases for reference years 1971 to 2021. Custom tabulations from the National Household Survey (NHS) are available for 2011. They are produced to meet the needs of individual users, according to their exact requirements in terms of content, geography, format and output medium. This includes the derivation of new variables and the creation of custom geographies. The flexibility of this tabulation type allows for the handling of many demanding and complex requests. Experienced census consultants are available to advise clients on the tabulation that will best suit their needs.

Semi-custom services

Semi-custom services allow users to replicate the data content of standard tabulations for custom geographies or a fixed profile for custom geographies or custom target groups. Semi-custom services comprise three types of tables: semi-custom profiles, target group profiles and semi-custom cross-tabulations.

Semi-custom profiles

Semi-custom profiles replicate a fixed profile for custom geographies. This format allows for easy comparison of characteristics between geographies. The semi-custom profile content pertains to individuals, families, households and dwellings. Additional costs apply for the creation of custom geographies. Semi-custom profiles are available for the 1971 Census, 1981 to 2011 censuses, 2011 NHS, 2016 and 2021 censuses.

Target group profiles

Target group profiles (TGPs) replicate a fixed profile for a custom target group (such as a specific linguistic group). This format allows for easier analysis of the characteristics of a target group on its own. In addition to the target group, the desired geography can also be customized. The content of a target group profile pertains to the universe of individuals only (no family, household or dwelling data are available). Additional costs may apply for the creation of a target group profile and for the creation of any custom geography. Target group profiles are available for the 1991 to 2011 censuses, 2011 NHS, 2016 and 2021 censuses.

Semi-custom cross-tabulations

Semi-custom cross-tabulations enable users to replicate the content of published tabulations for the geographic area(s) and output medium of their choice. Some tabulations provide a simple overview of the country, while others consist of three or four cross-tabulated variables; and still others are of particular or analytic interest. Semi-custom cross-tabulations are available for the 1971 Census, 1981 to 2011 censuses, 2011 NHS, 2016 and 2021 censuses.

Microdata files at the Research Data Centres (RDCs)

Census microdata files in RDCs are master files in flat file format. These files provide authorized researchers access to comprehensive social, demographic and economic data about Canada and its people, and they contain a wealth of characteristics on the population. These files enable analysis of individuals in relation to their census families, economic families and households. Microdata files from 1971 to 2016 censuses as well as the 2011 NHS are available in RDCs.

To access the microdata housed in the RDCs, researchers (applicants) must submit a project proposal through the Microdata Access Portal (MAP) and each proposal is evaluated by Statistics Canada subject-matter experts. The approval of proposals is based on:

For more information on the application process, refer to the following link: Research Data Centres – Application process and guidelines.

Geography services

Custom area creation

The geography custom area creation service allows users to define their own geographic areas for census data tabulations. Custom geographic areas are produced from the aggregation of standard geographic areas or block-faces, where available. Confidentiality constraints apply.

Custom product creation

The custom product creation service is available to produce non-standard geographic products that satisfy clients' individual requirements. Clients may require various custom geographic files, special data retrievals, manipulations of geographic data or combinations of data from a variety of sources.

Custom map creation

The custom map creation service provides users with custom thematic maps, reference maps and other user-defined maps, designed and produced specifically to meet their data and/or analytical requirements.


A print-on-demand service is available for maps.

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