Frontier Counts (FC)
Detailed information for December 2022
The Frontier Counts data provide counts of entries into Canada by international travellers at Canadian ports of entry by selected categories, as well as the number of automobiles, trucks and other land vehicles entering Canada.
Data release - January 11, 2023 (Leading indicator of international arrivals to Canada)
Since the 1920s, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has supplied Statistics Canada with administrative data on all international travellers who have been cleared for entry or re-entry into Canada.
The Frontier Counts program provides counts of entries into Canada by international travellers at Canadian ports of entry by mode of transportation, country of residence, type of traveller, trip duration and where the traveller arrives from, as well as counts of automobiles, trucks and other land vehicles (e.g., motorcycles, snowmobiles, bicycles) entering Canada.
Frontier Counts data are used by the Canadian System of National Accounts and Balance of Payments to produce data on commerce between Canada and other countries, and for reporting to international organizations such as the World Tourism Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The data are also used by the CBSA, Destination Canada, provincial tourism agencies, and a number of other organizations in the public and private sectors, both in Canada and in other countries. In addition, Frontier Counts data are used as benchmarks of population counts in the weighting of Statistics Canada's tourism surveys.
Reference period: Month
Collection period: During the reference month (by the CBSA), with processing done by Statistics Canada in the following month.
- International travel
- Tourism indicators
- Travel and tourism
Data sources and methodology
For the Frontier Counts, the target population is all international travellers entering Canada by air, land or water. The travellers are distributed into the following flow categories: Canadian residents returning to Canada from the United States of America only, Canadian residents returning to Canada from countries other than the United States of America, United States of America residents entering Canada, residents of countries other than the United States of America entering Canada and "other" travellers, which consists of foreign and resident crew members, diplomats, military personnel, immigrants and former residents. The observed population is the same as the target population.
For the monthly Leading indicator of international arrivals to Canada, the target population is:
- By land: All entries into Canada by international visitors or returning visitors through land ports equipped with the automated Integrated Primary Inspection Line (IPIL) system in automobiles, motorcycles or other land vehicles (e.g., snowmobiles, bicycles) licensed in Canada or the United States of America.
The indicator excludes visitors who were recorded in a system other than IPIL (e.g., NEXUS, E-62 form), those who used a mode of transportation other than those indicated (e.g., truck, bus, on foot) and those travelling in a vehicle plated outside of Canada or the United States of America.
Note: There is a separate table released with the Leading indicator which enumerates trucks and truck drivers entering Canada.
- By air: All entries into Canada by international commercial air visitors or returning visitors who made their declaration at a Primary Inspection Kiosk (PIK).
The indicator excludes visitors who arrived at an airport where the PIK system is not installed (see Data sources section below), those who did not make their declaration at a PIK (e.g., NEXUS travellers), commercial crew members, individuals who declared the purpose of their trip as immigration to Canada and individuals who declared the purpose of their trip as work (requiring a permit).
This methodology does not apply.
Data are extracted from various complementary administrative files and forms provided to Statistics Canada by the CBSA through a data-sharing agreement. The data sources for Frontier Counts are the following:
Primary Inspection Kiosk (PIK): An electronic system used to record travellers entering Canada by commercial plane that has been introduced gradually at major Canadian airports since March 2017 and is now deployed at the following airports: Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Montreal Trudeau International Airport, Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport, Ottawa International Airport, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Winnipeg Richardson International Airport, Calgary International Airport, Edmonton International Airport and Vancouver International Airport.
E311 Declaration Card: A form used at Canadian international airports where the PIK system is not installed or in cases where a PIK kiosk cannot be used. The form records travellers entering Canada by air, including commercial plane, and scheduled and charter arrivals. The declaration cards are also used at some ports of entry to record arrivals by bus or train.
NEXUS: An electronic system designed to expedite the border clearance process for low-risk, pre-approved travellers into Canada and the United States of America. It is available for both air and land travellers.
Telephone Reporting Centre (TRC)-CANPASS: An electronic system that records the number of travellers entering Canada by private plane or private boat or who report a land crossing by phone. The system also allows pre-authorized travellers, as well as special permit holders, to cross the border without interaction with a CBSA agent.
Integrated Primary Inspection Line (IPIL): An electronic system installed at most Canadian land ports of entry, which provides information on automobiles, trucks, buses, motorcycles and other land vehicles crossing into Canada, as well as their associated travellers, and pedestrians.
E-62 Entry Tally: A form used to record the number of travellers and vehicles arriving by land and by ferry at certain ports of entry. Each form indicates the number of automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles and snowmobiles, as well as their associated travellers, cleared for entry by CBSA agents. It also includes travellers who arrive in Canada by other modes of transportation (e.g., bus, train, on foot).
E63 Commercial and Private Craft/Passenger and Crew Arrivals: A form used to record travellers entering Canada by private plane or boat. This form is also used to record travellers and crews on commercial freighters, passenger ferries, cruises and some commercial flights.
E63-1 Passenger and Crew Arrivals, Cruise Vessel: A form completed by ports during cruise ship season to record the number of passengers and crew on board.
Overseas Summary Report: A form used to record the country of residence of overseas travellers who enter Canada at land and ferry ports of entry.
The total number of international arrivals by air is determined by combining data from PIK, E311 declaration cards for flights, the air component of NEXUS, the air component of TRC-CANPASS and air data from any E63 forms received.
The total number of international arrivals by land is determined by combining data from IPIL, the land component of NEXUS, the land component of TRC-CANPASS, E311 declaration cards for buses and trains, E62 tallies received, and overseas summary reports received.
The total number of international arrivals by water is determined by combining data from the water component of TRC-CANPASS, and marine data from any E63 or E63-1 forms received.
There are numerous validations and edits done throughout the monthly processing of CBSA electronic data files, such as removing duplicate records, correcting invalid variable values and confirming appropriate coverage of the target population. In the case where paper forms need to be digitized, there are quality control processes in place to ensure accurate data capture.
When necessary, communication with the CBSA is initiated to address data gaps, or unexplained errors or fluctuations.
Imputation is done when the CBSA is unable to provide specific traveller characteristics that Frontier Counts is obligated to publish. Traveller characteristics that will be imputed if unavailable are: mode of transportation, arriving from, country of residence, trip purpose (to separate travellers for tourism-related purposes) and trip duration (to separate same-day and overnight travellers).
In some cases, donor imputation from the same data source can be used to impute characteristics that are missing at random. In other cases, certain CBSA systems do not capture all of the required elements, so the detail is always unavailable and historical data, auxiliary information from other data sources or information obtained from comparable ports of entry must be used in the imputation process.
This methodology does not apply.
During the verification and analysis of counts for the current reference month, comparisons are made with counts from the previous month and the previous year's same reference month. Irregular fluctuations in the counts reported by ports of entry may be addressed by contacting officials of the port of entry for confirmation and explanation. At this stage, errors or inconsistencies are identified and corrective measures are taken.
Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that could identify any person, business or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Disclosure control measures are applied to any Frontier Counts data points that are not permitted to be released.
Revisions and seasonal adjustment
Data from previous months are revised occasionally, in cases where new information becomes available or a significant change in methodology is required. Any revisions to previously released data are communicated to users in the accompanying release.
Seasonal adjustment identifies, estimates and removes the systematic seasonal and calendar effects from the original series. Examples of calendar effects are the trading-day and moving-holiday effects. The seasonally adjusted data allow for more meaningful comparisons of economic conditions at different times, for example, in the current versus previous month. Seasonally adjusted series are calculated using the X-12-ARIMA methodology.
Seasonally adjusted data are revised following a pre-determined revision strategy. Each month, at least three months prior to the reference month are revised. Once a year, at least three years prior to the year studied are revised when historical updates are applied to the raw data.
Coverage errors are not calculated but are considered to be low. The CBSA has identified that some travellers at PIK airports may bypass both PIK and E311 and make their declarations directly to border services officers. These declarations, which are filled out by CBSA officers, are not currently received by Statistics Canada; however, the CBSA estimates the total amounts to be insignificant.
Gaps in coverage of land and water crossings are considered to be very low, as arrivals are recorded in either one of the electronic CBSA systems or on a paper form by a CBSA border agent, all of which Statistics Canada receives on a monthly basis.
Response error in the data provided to the CBSA occurs when a traveller misunderstands a question and reports an incorrect response. For example, in the case of air travellers, a Canadian traveller who returns to Canada from an overseas trip by way of a flight from the United States of America may report that they are arriving from the United States of America instead of "overseas via the United States of America." The degree of response error cannot be calculated.
Processing errors are not calculated. However, many safeguards and a thorough analysis of the data ensure that the processing error is negligible.
- Impacts of PIK on Tourism Data
- Format: Glossary - HTML[HTML]
- Conceptual relationship between travellers, visitors, excursionists and tourists as defined by the Frontier Counts program