Release and Concepts Overview
2016 Census of Population:

Release date: October 4, 2017

1. Objectives

Census of Population release topics will be accompanied by their own Release and Concepts Overview and will be available from Statistics Canada's website in advance of each release.

The purpose of the Release and Concepts Overview series is to provide an overview of:

  • the concepts, definitions and key indicators used by each of the major 2016 Census of Population releases

  • the products that will be available on each major day of release and later.

The Release and Concepts Overview series will help partners, stakeholders and other data users to better understand the information being released.

This Release and Concepts Overview is for the Education release which will be on November 29, 2017.

The information provided in this overview is subject to change.

2. Concepts and definitions


Other topics

In the upcoming Education release, education statistics will be presented with various socioeconomic characteristics.


In addition to making data available for Canada, the following other levels of geography will be available:

  1. Province or territory
  2. Census metropolitan area (CMA)
  3. Census agglomeration (CA)
  4. Census division (CD)
  5. Census subdivision (CSD)
  6. Census tract (CT)
  7. Population centre (POPCTR)
  8. Statistical Area Classification (SAC)
  9. Federal electoral district (FED)
  10. Economic region (ER)
  11. Forward sortation area (FSA)©
  12. Designated place (DPL)
  13. Aggregate dissemination area (ADA) (new!)
  14. Dissemination area (DA)

3. Key indicators

Educational attainment

Education attainment for key demographics and groups of interest, for example:

  • Sex
  • Age groups
  • Geography
  • Aboriginal peoples–First Nations, Métis and Inuit
  • Immigrants
  • People belonging to visible minority groups

Educational credentials are measured using the variables ‘Highest certificate, diploma or degree' and ‘Secondary (high) school diploma or equivalency certificate' (i.e., high school completion).

Educational attainment using the Highest certificate, diploma or degree variable

  • Total highest certificate, diploma or degree
    • No certificate, diploma or degree
    • Secondary (high) school diploma or equivalency certificate
    • Postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree
      • Trades certificate or diploma other than Certificate of Apprenticeship or Certificate of Qualification
      • Certificate of Apprenticeship or Certificate of Qualification
      • College, CEGEP or other non-university certificate or diploma
      • University certificate or diploma below bachelor level
      • University certificate, diploma or degree at bachelor level or above
        • Bachelor's degree
        • University certificate or diploma above bachelor level
        • Degree in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine or optometry
        • Master's degree
        • Earned doctorate

Field of study of highest postsecondary qualification:

  • Major field of study is measured using the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Canada 2016.
    • Although the classification name has changed, CIP Canada 2016 is directly comparable to the previous classification, CIP Canada 2011.

  • Information on major field of study will be disseminated using selected aggregations:
    • variant of CIP Canada 2016 – Primary groupings (highly aggregated categories)
    • general groupings of categories (two-digit level)
    • intermediate groupings of categories (four-digit level)

  • In addition, major field of study will use an updated version of CIP 2011 – STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) groupings. The version used in 2016 is different from the STEM variant used in the 2011 National Household Survey.

Location of study of highest postsecondary qualification:

Other key indicators

  • Admission category refers to the name of the immigration program or group of programs under which an immigrant has been granted for the first time the right to live in Canada permanently by immigration authorities.

  • Median annual wages
    • Wages refers to gross wages and salaries before deductions for such items as income taxes, pension plan contributions and employment insurance premiums during calendar year 2015. Other income included in this source are tips, commissions and cash bonuses associated with paid employment, etc.

    • The median annual wages of a specified group is the amount that divides the annual wage distribution of that group into two halves, i.e., the annual wages of half of the units in that group are below the median, while those of the other half are above the median.

  • Occupation

  • Overqualification

    • Generally, a person is considered overqualified when they have completed a university certificate, diploma or degree, but are working in an occupation that typically requires a high school education at most, as per the skill levels associated with occupations in the Variant of NOC 2016 - Analysis by skill level.

4. Products and activities available with this release

The following will be available with the Education release on November 29, 2017:

  • Analytical products
    • The Daily article
    • Census in Brief
    • Infographic
  • Data products
    • Highlight tables
    • Data tables
    • Census Profile
    • Focus on Geography Series
  • Geography products
    • Thematic maps
    • GeoSearch
  • Reference products
    • Release and Concepts Overview series
    • Guide to the Census of Population, 2016
    • Census Dictionary
    • Education Reference Guide
  • Social media
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Chat with an expert (on December 1, 2017)

The following provides additional details on some key products to be available at the time of the Education release. Together, they will provide main findings, important messages, latest trends and additional background information.

  • The Daily article: This will include findings for the main education indicators, including educational attainment and major field of study with selected breakdowns by age, sex, Aboriginal identity and immigrant status.

  • Census in Brief: These three short articles will provide analysis focusing on the outcomes of postsecondary education, such as:

    • Is field of study a factor in the earnings of young bachelor’s degree holders?
    • Does education pay? A comparison of earnings by level of education in Canada and its provinces and territories
    • Are young bachelor’s degree holders finding jobs that match their studies?

  • Infographic: This infographic will allow users to quickly visualize some key findings from the 2016 Census of Population, including findings for the main education indicators and outcomes of postsecondary education.

  • Highlight tables: These tables present focused information for various levels of geography. They allow users to perform simple rank and sort functions and include percentage distributions and percentage changes from previous censuses to facilitate comparisons between years, and different geographic areas.

  • Data tables: These cross-tabulations allow for a more detailed examination of Canada, by comparing up to eight variables across various levels of geography.

  • Census Profile: This product provides key statistics about the dwellings and the people living there. Users are able to select a standard geographic area and compare two geographic areas. They can search by place name or postal code for an area of interest as large as Canada or as small as a grouping of city blocks.

  • Focus on Geography Series: This product presents highlights related to education through short text, tables and figures for different levels of geography, including Canada, provinces and territories, census metropolitan areas (CMAs), census agglomerations (CAs) and Canadian municipalities (census subdivisions).

  • Thematic Maps: These maps will show the spatial variation across Canada for selected education indicators.

  • Education Reference Guide: This guide explains census concepts and definitions. It also includes information about data quality and historical comparability, as well as comparisons with other data sources.

  • Guide to the Census of Population, 2016: This reference document provides an overview of the 2016 Census of Population processes, including content determination, collection, processing, data quality assessment, data dissemination and data suppression. It also includes response rates, global non-response rates, the distribution of the number of census subdivisions for which data have been published by province and territory and at the national level, as well as other data quality information.

  • Census Dictionary: This provides detailed definitions of census concepts, variables and geographic terms, as well as historical information to facilitate the comparison between census years.

Social media activities with this release

  • Facebook and Twitter: The official social media accounts will also be used to communicate and engage with the public for the 2016 Census of Population dissemination of results.

  • Chat with an expert: Users are invited to chat with Statistics Canada experts on the topics of Education as well as Labour on December 1, 2017, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., Eastern time. For more information, refer to Statistics Canada's website: Chat with an expert.

5. Products available after release

The following products will be available with later releases:

Analytical products

  • Article(s) in Insights on Canadian Society (ICS)
  • Data visualization tool. More information about this initiative will be made available during the release cycle.

Data products

  • Additional data tables at various levels of geography
  • 2016 Census Aboriginal Population Profile
  • 2016 Census Individuals Public Use Microdata File (PUMF)
  • 2016 Census Hierarchical Public Use Microdata File (PUMF)
  • 2016 Census Long-form Research Data Centre (RDC) Microdata File

Reference products

  • Reference guides (various topics)
  • Technical reports

6. 2016 Census Program web module

To access the 2016 Census of Population products, please consult the 2016 Census Program web module.

7. 2016 Census Program release schedule

Release dates, 2016 Census Program
Release date Release topic
November 16, 2016 Geography
February 8, 2017 Population and dwelling counts
May 3, 2017

Age and sex

Type of dwelling

May 10, 2017 Census of Agriculture
August 2, 2017

Families, households and marital status


September 13, 2017 Income

October 25, 2017

Immigration and ethnocultural diversity


Aboriginal peoples

November 29, 2017



Journey to work

Language of work

Mobility and migration

8. Contact information

General enquiries

Media Relations – Media Hotline

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