The road to the 2026 Census

The next Census of Population and Census of Agriculture will take place in May 2026. In preparation, Statistics Canada continues to innovate and improve its processes, while consulting with Canadians to ensure the next census accurately represents the Canadian population. There are several milestones along the road to the 2026 Census.

Content consultation

Content consultation begins at the start of each census cycle. During consultations, Statistics Canada invites data users, stakeholders and the general public to provide feedback on what the agency should consider addressing in the 2026 Census of Population and the 2026 Census of Agriculture. Reports from both consultations will be published in 2024.

To learn more about the content consultations, visit:

Census Test

The next step is a census test to assess new and modified questions resulting from content consultations, as well as new collection procedures and tools (e.g., invitation letters, notice of visit card, etc.). It will be conducted across the country from May to June 2024.

If your household is selected to participate in the census test, you will receive an invitation letter in May 2024. Approximately 198,000 households and 10,000 agricultural operations in specific locations across Canada will be selected to participate in the census test. Testing census content ensures that high-quality data will be available in 2026 to support a wide variety of programs and services in communities across the country.

Statistics Canada is always working hard to lessen the burden on respondents and cut down census costs. During the census test, we will also evaluate new collection tools and methods like a chatbot and making better use of administrative data and modern communication technologies.

How the findings will be used

The census information collected as part of the 2024 Census Test will be used to prepare for the 2026 Census and finalize questionnaire content, but not shared publicly or stored for future access.

The final 2026 Census content will be made public in the Canada Gazette in the summer of 2025.

Upcoming

Video: Here's Why You Should Use Census Data

Here's Why You Should Use Census Data - Video transcript

(A paintbrush appears on screen and touches a blank canvas. Paint ripples from the brush, forming scenes of Canadians planting trees. More brush strokes reveal new scenes, layering on top of one another; a woman on the train, a forest, a moving truck, and a serene lake with a canoe – all portraits of Canadian life. The camera zooms out, revealing more of the scene, including the narrator with paintbrush in hand in a bright room.)

Census data paints a portrait of Canadians and their stories – from small communities to entire provinces and territories.

(The narrator is revealed – a woman with an orange dress and a long black braid. She faces the camera and speaks to the viewer, with the canvas in front of her)

But what do you know about using the data? Let's take a look.

(The paint brush appears on the screen and touches the white canvas. Once again, paint ripples from the brush, forming two hands holding a coffee cup. The foam of the coffee is in the shape of a half-dotted maple leaf. The hands pick up the coffee cup and more paint brush strokes reveal the scene; a coffee shop.)

Entrepreneurs and small businesses can use census data available online - for free. It's true!

(The coffee shop owner sits at a table with paperwork labelled "Expansion Plans" and a laptop in front of him. Behind him is a trendy coffee shop counter with a barista picking up a cup of coffee and walking off screen to serve it to a customer.)

(The paint brush returns and paints strokes to reveal a laptop screen with a search bar. The words "Census profile" are typed into the search bar.)

Start with a simple search for "census profile," then choose the province, city, town or even the postal code of a specific neighbourhood. Now you have access to reliable demographic data. You can even find population trends.

(The screen changes to the census profile data tool, which displays demographic data in table format. "Ontario" is typed into the tool, then deleted and replaced with "Ottawa", which is then deleted and replaced with "K2P 2A3", showing demographic data for each. The cursor scrolls down the screen and selects "Income", choosing all options available for sorting the data by Income. The screen then displays the data for "Total Income of Individuals.")

Students can use census data as a helpful research tool for projects and a career planning resource.

(The paint brush reappears on the canvas and a new scene is formed from the paint rippling out. A student is revealed sitting in a school library, working on a laptop.)

Just search "census data visualization tool employment."

(Paint brush strokes in the top right corner of the screen reveal the laptop screen that the student is working on, showing a search bar typing the words "Census data visualization tool employment." The laptop screen takes over the scene, showing the full laptop and university application papers on the desk.)

Now you can review up-to-date occupational data organized by income, gender, location, age group and education. Find your dream career's projected income. How does it compare between cities, or by age?

(The tool appears on the screen, labelled 'Employed labour force who worked a full year, full time and reported income'. The cursor selects options from drop down menus for Occupation, Age, Highest Certificate (diploma or degree), Geography, and Gender. The data is displayed on the right hand of the screen as a colourful layered wheel, also showing the median employment income, number of individuals, and percent of all occupations in the center. Several options are chosen and the wheel changes with the data to demonstrate how the information can be specifically filtered and compared.)

These are just a couple ways to use this resource made by Canadians, for Canadians. How can census data help you?

(Brush strokes reveal the narrator, who is back in front of a canvas, finishing painting a map of Canada. The room now has paintings on the wall behind her, depicting the business owner opening a new coffee shop and the student in a graduation gown. The narrator is speaking to the viewer as the camera pulls back, showing more of the room.)

Find out today at statcan.gc.ca/census.

(The scene blurs and turns white, showing the census website (statcan.gc.ca/census) and a colourful half-dotted maple leaf is shown in the background to the right of the screen.)

(The Canada Wordmark appears)

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