Address Register (AR)

Detailed information for 1991





Record number:


The Address Register is Statistics Canada's internally-used database that provides the civic and mailing addresses of residential dwellings (and also their related geographic coding) that are required to build the statistical and sampling frames for the Census of Population and the agency's many social surveys and social statistics programs.

Data release - Does not apply


The Address Register is Statistics Canada's longstanding and continuously-maintained central repository of residential dwelling addresses and their related positional and geographic information. It is integral to the agency's many social statistics programs. It provides the statistical frames required for the Census of Population and numerous household survey programs such as the Labour Force Survey. Addresses are obtained from a number of sources and matched against Canada Post's standardized address listings to ensure accuracy for mailing purposes. They are also matched to the National Geographic Database: to obtain the geographic coding needed to collect and compile statistics for provinces, territories, regions and local areas, as defined by the Standard Geographic Classification: .

Reference period: The Address Register is updated on a continuous basis, with frames produced and made available to Statistics Canada's program areas on an on-going basis for reference months March, June, September and December.

Collection period: The Address Register is updated on a continuous basis using a number of administrative data sources. It provides information used by survey programs, but is not a survey as such.


  • Frames and coverage
  • Statistical methods

Data sources and methodology

Instrument design

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data sources

Data are extracted from administrative files.

Many administrative sources are used to verify and update the addresses on the Address Register, including telephone billing files (landlines and cells), telephone directory files, tax files, Canada Post address lists, among others.

Many of these are acquired under the authority of the Statistics Act, which provides Statistics Canada the authority to access administrative information for statistical purposes. Formal agreements with the provider organizations also ensure agreed-upon protocols for protection of confidential information and data transfer and data management practices.

After each Census of population (every five years), the Address Register (AR) creates a snapshot of all valid dwellings identified during the collection process. This address list becomes the foundation for successive address frames.

This snapshot is supplemented between censuses on an on-going basis. Each quarter a series of large address-based administrative files are assembled and standardized (over 130 million records). These files include telephone billing files (landlines and cells), telephone directory files, tax files, and Canada Post address lists, among others.

Using its many data sources, the AR performs a series of data matching and confrontation routines to identify anomalies within the data holding. These anomalies are investigated and corrective measures are implemented accordingly.

Error detection

In the course of processing and assessing the information sources used by the Address Register (AR), the need arises for AR employees to investigate and correct records in some cases. Automated correction of data using data matching and correction routines are however always emphasized.

An additional component of the quarterly update is a field verification activity. This process involves using a score function to identify and select areas that have experienced significant growth of new addresses. Address lists are then sent to Statistics Canada officers in the field, who validate and update the address lists and their related geography.

These Traditional Field listing approaches are also supplemented by Office Listing, which utilizes alternative administrative sources along with a suite of Geographic Information System tools and data that allow for verification and correction to occur remotely without requiring site visits.


No imputation was done.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

The quality of a statistical register is determined by the accuracy of its coverage of the target populations of the statistical programs it serves. For the Address Register (AR), accurate coverage of residential dwellings nationally and across the key geographic dimensions for which Statistics Canada produces socio-economic data are of utmost importance. AR under-coverage occurs when dwellings exist but have not been included on the frame. Over-coverage refers to inclusion of addresses for dwellings that are either not residential or are already covered by another AR record.

The AR leans towards inclusion of address records in order to ensure minimal under-coverage for the census and survey programs. The 2016 Census indicated an AR over-coverage rate of approximately 4.5%. AR under-coverage, and therefore also overall net coverage error, is not specifically measured. However, extrapolation of the person level coverage from the 2016 Census would indicate a dwelling under-coverage rate of less than 1% in urban areas.

Disclosure control

The Address Register (AR), as an internal data repository, is maintained as a strictly protected system that is accessed only by authorized Statistics Canada employees. Furthermore, the AR does not as a data system, maintain or produce information pertaining to the identity or related information of dwelling residents.

Some addresses on the AR can be and have been publicly shared. They are not considered confidential as they do not in any way disclose the identity or personal information of the residents of a dwelling.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data accuracy

The long-used various information sources of the Address Register (AR) to detect addresses that need to be added, deleted or otherwise updated are proven and robust.

The accuracy of the geographic coding determines the degree of precision of AR coverage across geographic domains. Historically, positional accuracy has been provided by both field listing and geographic coding to the National Geographic Database. These independent sources largely agree (at rates of 98% or better). Where they disagree, best practice is to use the Block Face, which studies have shown is correct in such cases at 85% or better. It is estimated that 99.7% of addresses are coded to the correct block.

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