The road to the 2021 Census

There are many milestones along the road to the 2021 Census. Evaluating and revising the content of the census questionnaire ensures the continued relevance of the census. Census information is used in making decisions for your community, your province or territory, and the country as a whole.

Content Consultation

Census of Population

The census is an important source of key information about Canada's population, and its results are used across all sectors of our society to help people make informed decisions. Content consultation is an early milestone on the road to the 2021 Census. In this step, Statistics Canada invites data users, stakeholders and the general public to provide feedback on what information they use, for what purpose, and what—if any—data gaps Statistics Canada should consider addressing in the 2021 Census.

The report "2021 Census of Population Consultation Results: What we heard from Canadians", published on April 8, 2019, outlines findings on data relevancy, uses and gaps for the Census of Population.

Census of Agriculture

Before each Census of Agriculture, Statistics Canada initiates an extensive consultation program that allows data users and interested parties across Canada to share their views on how they use census data, and the type of information they believe should be available from the census. This ensures that Census of Agriculture information remains relevant for the agriculture sector and organizations that use the information.

2019 Census Test

Before each census Statistics Canada conducts a census test. Testing is based on what was heard through the content consultations. The 2019 Census Test took place from May to June to evaluate the census questionnaire, including new and modified questions, as well as collection procedures and tools to get ready for the upcoming 2021 Census of Population and the 2021 Census of Agriculture.

Fact sheets

For the 2021 Census of Population, Statistics Canada conducted a consultation process with the public and stakeholders from fall 2017 to spring 2018. Feedback obtained as part of the consultation is being used to update and improve the 2021 Census of Population questionnaire. The most notable changes proposed for the 2019 Census Test include the following:


  • 2021 Census of Population Dissemination Consultation Report

Stay informed

Collection for the 2019 Census Test is now complete. Thank you to all those who participated in the test.

Video: Making informed decisions with census data

Making informed decisions with census data - Transcript

Description of visuals

(The Statistics Canada symbol and Canada wordmark appear onscreen with the title "Making informed decisions with census data.")

(A laptop appears on screen with an online census form that is partially filled out. The form's selections (shown as black dots) then begin to fly off the laptop screen and towards the camera, turning the screen black.)

How are communities in Canada evolving? How is our society changing? Without census data, it's hard to know.

(The census dots fly away to reveal a town. The landscape, trees and buildings come into view one by one. The buildings include a school, a hospital, a cafe and several family homes. The census dots fly back on screen, once again turning it black.)

The high-quality data from the census allow our governments, businesses and community leaders to make informed decisions with confidence.

(The dots fly away to reveal charts and data being used in a presentation by a government official. The scene slides away to reveal two business professionals holding a tablet with census data on it. This scene also slides away to reveal a pair of hands holding blueprints to a new school. The blueprints are moved downwards to reveal the newly built school.)

The Census paints a portrait of who we are and the places where we live.

(The census dots then cover the screen and fly away to reveal three towns and cities connected by a road that is being built while the morning sun rises in the sky.)

(The census dots fly on screen, turning it black.)

How can census data support business owners? Sarah, a successful entrepreneur, is looking to open a business in a new location.

(The census dots fly away to reveal an office, including a desk with a computer, a plant and an entrepreneur named Sarah. A thought bubble appears above Sarah's head and an image of a cafe appears in it.)

(The census dots cover the screen and fly away to reveal a computer on a desk seen from Sarah's perspective.)

She knows that Statistics Canada's census data will allow her to make informed decisions.

(Census data appear on screen as Sarah searches through the pages. The census dots appear from behind a pie chart.)

(They fly towards the screen and turn it black.)

Census information such as population counts, age, sex, income and types of households will help her find potential locations across the country and make a solid business case for expansion in a new location.

(The census dots fly away to reveal a new cafe popping up along a street as a car and a school bus drive past. The camera zooms in on the cafe as Sarah and a red ribbon appear at an opening ceremony. It zooms in closer as Sarah cuts the ribbon with a pair of scissors, then the census dots fly on screen towards the camera and turn the screen black.)

Community leaders rely on census data to make informed decisions on programs and services that directly impact their municipalities.

(The census dots fly away to reveal a row of houses along a street. In the background, a school, a hospital, a cafe, skyscrapers and several small family homes pop up one by one.)

Let's look at overcrowding in schools as an example.

(An office window appears in front of the scene of the town.)

Municipal and provincial governments can use census data to look at population counts, age, and types of families in their region.

(The camera pans to the right to reveal a cubicle with two office workers researching census data on their computers. Census dots slowly fly from their screens and around the room.)

Population change can also be used, along with other census data, to identify areas of growth, stability or decline.

(Hands holding a tablet with a map of Canada appear on screen. Small census dots begin to pop up, marking several towns and cities on the map. Plus, equal and minus symbols appear next to the map, denoting positive, balanced and negative population trends in census data.)

(Census dots fly from the map towards the screen and turn it black. The census dots fly away to reveal a road with hills and trees in the background.)

This will help them decide whether they should build a new school or expand existing ones.

(A brand new modern school slides in from the right and stays on screen for several seconds before sliding off to the left. An older school slides in from the right, replacing the new one. It moves slightly to the left and a new addition to the building slides out from behind it.)

Finding data to identify trends and potential needs is easy with online census data products.

(A tablet appears and the title "Population" and a bar graph can be seen on it. The bars rise up from the bottom of the graph and continue to adjust as the data change.)

(The census dots fly on screen and turn it black. The census dots fly off screen to reveal a green room, then a desk, a painting and a laptop slide on screen.)

With the wealth of census data available online, how do you get started and find the information you're looking for? It's easy: Go to

(The office scene goes out of focus as a hand holding a cell phone appears. The census website ( is typed into the search bar on the phone, opening a web page titled "Census Program".)

Access our "Data products" from the Information and services section and choose the product that works best for you.

(The cell phone user scrolls down the page to the section "Information and services", then clicks "Data products".)

Search by place name or topic and find the data you need in our census maps, graphs, charts and tables Take note and make informed decisions!

(A new page with a search bar pops up and the user types "Ottawa" into the field. A map and population chart for Ottawa appear on screen.)

(The census dots fly on screen and turn it black.)

Still have questions?

(They then fly away and turn red.)

Reach us via our "Contact us" link at

(The red census dots fly towards the centre of the screen and come together to form the census leaf. The census website ( appears beneath the leaf and slowly increases in size before the census dots fly on screen and turn it black.)

(The Canada Wordmark appears.)

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