Dictionary, Census of Population, 2021
Labour force

Release date: November 17, 2021


Refers to persons who, during the week of Sunday, May 2 to Saturday, May 8, 2021, were either employed or unemployed.

Labour force = Employed + Unemployed

Previously, in other census cycles, early enumeration was conducted in remote, isolated parts of the provinces and territories in the months leading up to the May enumeration. Because of COVID‑19, there was no early enumeration for the 2021 Census. Collection procedures–especially in collective dwellings and remote, northern, First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities–were redesigned to ensure the census was conducted in the best possible way, using a safe and secure approach.

Statistical unit(s)


Reported in

2021 and 2016 (25% sample); 2011Footnote 1 (30% sample); 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1986 and 1981 (20% sample). For availability prior to 1981, please refer to the Labour force status row in Appendix 2.1.

Reported for

Population aged 15 years and over in private households

Question number(s)

Derived variable: Questions 38 to 42


Not applicable


For more information, see the definitions for Labour force status, Experienced labour force person, Inexperienced labour force, Employed person and Unemployed variables.

See Figure 2.9 for the components of the population and the Labour force status variable.

For information on the comparability of the 2021 Census labour force status data with those of the Labour Force Survey, see Appendix 2.11.


Report a problem on this page

Is something not working? Is there information outdated? Can't find what you're looking for?

Please contact us and let us know how we can help you.

Privacy notice

Date modified: