Dictionary, Census of Population, 2021
Census division (CD)

Release date: November 17, 2021Updated on: March 4, 2022


Group of neighbouring municipalities joined together for the purposes of regional planning and managing common services (such as police or ambulance services). These groupings are established under laws in effect in certain provinces of Canada. Census division (CD) is the general term for provincially legislated areas (such as county, municipalité régionale de comté (MRC) and regional district) or their equivalents. In other provinces and the territories where laws do not provide for such areas, Statistics Canada defines equivalent areas for statistical reporting purposes in cooperation with these provinces and territories. Census divisions are intermediate geographic areas between the province/territory level and the municipality (census subdivision).

Reported in

2021, 2016, 2011, 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1986, 1981, 1976, 1971, 1966 and 1961


Census divisions (CD) have been established in provincial law to facilitate regional planning, as well as the provision of services that can be more effectively delivered on a scale larger than a municipality. In Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, provincial or territorial law does not provide for these administrative geographic areas. Therefore, Statistics Canada, in cooperation with these provinces and territories, has created equivalent areas called CDs for the purpose of disseminating statistical data. In Yukon, the CD is equivalent to the entire territory.

Next to provinces and territories, census divisions (CD) are the most stable administrative geographic areas, and are therefore often used in longitudinal analysis.

Census division type

Census divisions are classified into 12 types according to official designations adopted by provincial or territorial authorities. Two exceptions are 'census division / division de recensement' (CDR) and 'territory / territoire' (TER), which are geographic areas created as equivalents by Statistics Canada, in cooperation with the provinces and territories, for the purpose of disseminating statistical data.

Table 1.4 shows census division types, their abbreviated forms, and their distribution by province and territory.

Census division code

The census division (CD) code is a two-digit code that is based on the Standard Geographical Classification (SGC). In order to uniquely identify each CD in Canada, the two-digit province/territory (PR) code must precede the two-digit CD code. For example:

PR-CD code CD name
13 01 Saint John (N.B.)
24 01 Communauté maritime des Îles‑de‑la‑Madeleine (Que)

Changes to census divisions for the 2021 Census

The following CDs have had name or type changes for the 2021 Census:

The boundaries, names and codes of census divisions reflect those in effect on January 1, 2021, the geographic reference date for the 2021 Census of Canada. Information about any CD changes that were effective on or before the January 1, 2021 reference date must have been received by Statistics Canada prior to March 1, 2021, in order to be processed in time for the census.

Refer to the related definitions of Census Subdivision (CSD) and Standard Geographical Classification (SGC).

Changes prior to the current census

The following CDs have had name or type changes for the 2016 Census:

The following CDs have had name or type changes for the 2011 Census:

In the Northwest Territories, the CDs have been restructured, increasing in number from two to six. The naming convention of CDs in the Northwest Territories is now:

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