Correction – Update of the 2016 Census forward sortation area (FSA©) level of geography
Products affected and revised dates
After Statistics Canada was notified of inconsistencies in 2016 Census statistical data for some postal codes,OM an in-depth investigation was conducted.
The discrepancies were related to postal codes deemed invalid because they were not present in the version of the Postal Code Conversion File (PCCF) used as input during the edit and imputation process. The postal codes were also deemed invalid for the Standard Geographical Classification (SGC) of certain respondents as a result of the incomplete linkages with the PCCF.
The PCCF provides a linkage of six-character postal codes to standard geographic areas such as dissemination areas, census tracts and census subdivisions. This enables users to relate postal geographies to standard geographic areas.
As a result, cases where respondents provided valid postal codes were imputed erroneously, and approximately 140,000 dwellings and households were assigned an incorrect postal code.
Impact on the 2016 Census data results
These inconsistencies had no impact on the geographic coding of dwellings, households and persons to standard geographic areas. Therefore, this error did not impact the population and dwelling counts, nor did it impact the statistical data tables that were produced for any of Statistics Canada's standard geographic areas.
The postal code is used in the following two ways:
- To produce a set of standard statistical data products at the forward sortation area (FSA) level. The FSA is the first three letters/digits of the postal code.
- To produce custom tabulations of data from the census at the individual postal code level or for groupings of postal codes.
This inconsistency impacted standard statistical data products at the FSA level and may have also impacted custom tabulations that used the postal codes.
Impact on standard data products at the FSA level
Out of 1,641 FSAs in Canada, 496 were affected by the error. The postal codes assigned for 22,428 dwellings and households used an incorrect FSA. This affected the FSA assignment of 59,015 persons. The 496 FSAs affected are identified in Table 1: List of forward sortation areas affected by inconsistencies in postal codes, 2016 Census which shows the originally published population and dwelling counts for the FSA, the revised counts, and the differences between the counts for all FSAs impacted by this inconsistency.
An analysis of the impact on the population count has been conducted using the revised postal code assignment. Most FSAs impacted have had relatively small changes in their population counts.
- 320 FSAs had a change in total population of less than an increase or decrease of 0.5% of the original published count. Of these, 176 FSAs had a change of less than 0.1%.
- 348 FSAs had a change in total population of fewer than an increase or decrease of 101 persons of the original published count. Of these, 202 FSAs had a change of fewer than an increase or decrease of 26 persons.
The changes in population counts reflect the net impact of persons being assigned into an FSA and persons being assigned out of it. The statistical data of FSAs that were not affected by the error may change because of the random rounding of population counts to base five.
After correcting the postal code assignment, Statistics Canada conducted an in-depth review to ensure that no other data products were affected by the error. The data have been revised for all products affected according to the revised dates listed. New download files have also been produced and are now available.
Statistics Canada regrets any inconvenience caused by this error and remains dedicated to publishing high-quality information.
© This data includes information copied with permission from Canada Post Corporation.
OM Postal code is an official mark of Canada Post Corporation.
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