Census of Population
Summary of changes
Activity on this program started: 1871
Instrument design - The 2021 Census includes new content to address emerging trends and issues. The new question topics are:
- enrolment under an Inuit land claims agreement
- main reason respondent did not work whole year
- main reason respondent worked mostly part time
- membership within a Métis organization or Settlement
- minority official language educational rights
- multiple modes of transportation
- shelter costs - band housing (form 2A-R only)
- veteran and military service
In addition to new content, revisions were made to some returning content from 2016 (and 2011, in the case of religion) to improve relevance and data quality, as well as to address content issues that surfaced during the 2016 Census.
Some 2016 content is no longer required for the 2021 Census. In 2017, the federal government amended the Statistics Act (Bill C-36) to render census records public 92 years after collection. This eliminated a 2016 question that asked respondents for permission to send their data to Library and Archives Canada. The 2016 Census also included content on farm operators that is no longer required by the Census of Agriculture.
Statistics Canada reinstated the mandatory long-form census in time for the 2016 Census of Population. As such, a sample of approximately 25% of Canadian households received a long-form questionnaire. All other households received a short-form questionnaire.
The October 2014 Census of Population test is conducted to validate the survey's processes, procedures and systems that will be used in the 2016 Census of Population. No data will be released from this test.
The Census of Population test is conducted to validate the survey's questions, processes, procedures and systems that will be used in the 2016 Census of Population. No data will be released from this test.
Statistical activity - The 2011 Census Program consisted of two parts: a short questionnaire (census) with a basic set of questions distributed to 100% of households, and a long questionnaire (National Household Survey - record number 5178) distributed to a 33% sample of households.
Data sources - The 2011 Census questionnaire consists of the same eight questions that appeared on the 2006 Census short-form questionnaire along with two additional language questions - one on the knowledge of official languages and the other on home language(s). The information previously collected by the long-form census questionnaire is collected by the voluntary National Household Survey (NHS), record number 5178.
For information about the changes, please refer to the document "Census of Population (2006): What's new?" in the 2006 documentation.