Statistical Building Register (SBgR)

Detailed information for first quarter 2022





Record number:


The SBgR is StatCan's internal source that provides the Agency's programs with statistical frame data pertaining to Canada's residential and non-residential (commercial, industrial, institutional, and government) buildings. It includes addresses, geographic coding and building type and usage information using statistical classifications and standards. The units of observations are the buildings per se and the building units within the buildings (e.g. apartment units, commercial spaces, etc.).

Data release - To be determined


The Statistical Building Register (SBgR) - along with its related systems and services -- is a core part of the data infrastructure of Statistics Canada that underpins many of the agency's programs. It is a complete and robust source of key information about Canada's residential and non-residential buildings that is continuously updated from a variety of administrative data sources and field listing activities. The SBgR acts as the central frame base for the Census of Population (starting with Census 2026), while quarterly and monthly snapshot data files from the Register provide the sampling frames used for the agency's many household survey programs. These were roles previously served by the StatCan Address Register - from which the SBgR evolved. The contact information needed for census and survey data collection is also maintained through the SBgR platform. The SBgR is confidential to Statistics Canada, however the publicly available National Address Register (NAR) is generated from the SBgR. Consisting of more than 80% of all SBgR addresses and their geographic coding, the NAR provides an open source of non-confidential, standardized and unduplicated addresses that can be accessed from Statistics Canada upon request.

Reference period: The SBgR is updated on a continuous basis (evergreen). SBgR snapshots, the Building Universe File (BUF), are valid until a new snapshot is created (quarterly or monthly).

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population of the Statistical Building Register (SBgR) is comprised of all buildings and building units in Canada as described by the following definitions:

Building refers to a roofed independent free-standing permanent structure usually enclosed within external walls or dividing walls that extend from the foundations to the roof and comprises one or more rooms or other space. A building may be used or intended for residential, commercial, industrial or institutional purposes, including the provision of services. A building can be entered by persons or animals and is suitable or intended for protecting them and objects.

Building unit is part of a building, and is either residential or non-residential. It must have its own entrance, either through an outer door or through an interior door in a shared hallway. The building unit should have its own identifier within the building. If such an identifier is not available, a unit description can be used to identify the building unit.

For operational reasons, the observed population does not cover the entire target population. The observed population depends on the availability of the data from the sources used to maintain the register and on the needs of the programs using the SBgR. For example, some utility buildings (e.g. sheds, garages, etc.) are not necessarily represented on the SBgR. Moreover, the representation of buildings and building units is not always representative of the theoretical definition. It is often driven by the address and not the actual structure. Some properties with multiple buildings could be represented by one building with multiple units. Some buildings with multiple units could be represented by a single-unit building, especially if there is no need to have the delineation of the building units (e.g. schools, shopping malls, etc.).

Instrument design

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


This methodology does not apply.

Data sources

Data are collected directly from survey respondents and extracted from administrative files.

The Statistical Building Register (SBgR) is primarily built from multiple administrative data files that are used at different levels either to contribute to the universe or to populate attributes such as building type, building name and building unit usage.

The national Canada Post Point-of-Call data file along with the provincial 911 emergency data files represent the main administrative data files that are used for the universe of both buildings and building units.

Other types of data files such as property assessment roles and land registries, hydro-electricity companies files, and provincial driver's license data files are used to complement information from the main sources.

Each individual source is processed by a generic tool that is used to standardize the addresses and to geocode them to the spatial data infrastructure in order to assign geographic information to each building. The sources are also linked to the SBgR to identify potential growth and attribute updates. When required, a coding activity is also applied to standardize some attributes to adapt them to the register definition.

Note that other sources of updates contribute to the maintenance of the SBgR. These include listing and profiling activities, Census of population, Canadian Housing Statistics Program, survey feedback and other internal maintenance activities.

On top of the input data files listed in the section above, the SBgR has data integration processes in place to ensure that the SBgR is of the highest possible quality. The most significant process takes place at every Census cycles (5 years). The Census data is reconciled back to the SBgR to ensure that Census respondent dwellings are listed on the SBgR (improve coverage). The vast majority of these cases are identified during Census collection operation on the ground.

There is also plan for the integration of the SBgR and the Statistical Business Register (SBR), linking SBR entities to the Building and Building units on the SBgR. The integration of the two registers will serve multiple purposes: assess coherence, identify potential coverage issues, expand on the use of the Registers by combining information, etc.

Error detection

The Data Integration Infrastructure Division (DIID) is the primary manager of the Statistical Building Register (SBgR), and as such, is responsible for maintaining the SBgR. Editing of the SBgR records is an on-going process that is performed by DIID staff. Administrative data is primarily used to build the Register. Listing activities to verify and update address and location information are performed both in-office and in the field. Subject-matter specialists working in survey program divisions also contribute to Register updates on the basis of their analyses and survey feedback. Editing of SBgR data is controlled through an internal interactive system that ensures coherence and proper routing of editing tasks.


No imputation was done.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

Ongoing quality measures are performed using various methods such as: Key quality indicators (KQI) that measure over/under coverage, duplication, and classification accuracy are generated, analyzed and refreshed on a regular basis. The KQI provide information on strength and weaknesses of the register and indicate aspects needing improvements.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any data that would divulge information obtained under the Statistics Act that relates to any identifiable person, business or organization without the prior knowledge or the consent in writing of that person, business or organization. Some confidential data can be released for statistical or research purposes with the authorization of the Chief Statistician. Please note that only government bodies can receive authorization from the Chief Statistician permitting them to receive confidential data that identifies individual units. Private companies are not permitted to receive this kind of data (company names, addresses, etc.). Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data accuracy

The SBgR is inevitably susceptible to some level of missing or miss-classified Buildings and Building units, which manifests differently across provinces and territories (given differences in data sources used across jurisdictions).

Quality assurance processes in place for the SBgR work to identify and address problem areas and keep any related statistical errors within tolerable levels.

Date modified: