Dictionary, Census of Population, 2016
Applicant type

Release date: May 3, 2017 Updated on: October 25, 2017


Applicant type refers to whether an immigrant was identified as the principal applicant, the spouse or the dependant on the application for permanent residence.

Statistical unit(s)



Applicant type of immigrant

Reported in

2016 (25% sample)

Reported for

Persons in private households who are, or who have ever been, landed immigrants or permanent residents since 1980.

Question number(s)

Data on applicant type are collected by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) using administrative records. This variable was added to the 2016 Census of Population through a record linkage.


The standard classification for applicant type is 'Principal applicant,' 'Spouse of a principal applicant' and 'Dependant of a principal applicant'.


In the 2016 Census of Population, data on applicant type are available for immigrants who landed in Canada between January 1st, 1980 and May 10th, 2016.

Applicant type is most often used in combination with admission category, particularly with the economic immigrant categories, in which principal applicants are selected based on their ability to contribute to the Canadian economy.

For more information on immigration variables, including information on their classifications, the questions from which they are derived, data quality and their comparability with other sources of data, please refer to the Place of Birth, Generation Status, Citizenship and Immigration Reference Guide, Census of Population, 2016.

For additional information regarding admission category and applicant type, please refer to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.

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