Dictionary, Census of Population, 2021
Standard Geographical Classification (SGC)

Release date: November 17, 2021Updated on: February 9, 2022


The Standard Geographical Classification (SGC) 2021 is Statistics Canada's official classification of geographic areas in Canada. It is designed to enable the production of integrated statistics by geographic areas. The classification provides names and codes for four levels of geography: geographical regions of Canada, provinces and territories, census divisions (such as counties and regional municipalities) and census subdivisions (such as municipalities). The four geographic levels are hierarchically related and a seven‑digit code is used to represent this relationship.

The 2021 version of the SGC includes five classification variants:

Reported in

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


Census subdivisions (CSDs) aggregate to census divisions (CDs), which aggregate to province or territory which, in turn, aggregate to geographical regions of Canada (Figure 1.2).

The hierarchical relationship is reflected in the seven‑digit SGC code. For example:

PR-CD-CSD codeDescription
12 06 008Province 12: Nova Scotia
CD 06: Lunenburg
CSD 008: Mahone Bay
35 06 008Province 35: Ontario
CD 06: Ottawa
CSD 008: Ottawa

Refer to the related definitions of Census Agricultural Region (CAR); Census Consolidated Subdivision (CCS); Census Division (CD); Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) and Census Agglomerations (CA); Census Metropolitan Influenced Zone (MIZ); Census Subdivision (CSD); Economic Region (ER); Geographical Region of Canada and Province or Territory. The Standard Geographical Classification is presented in the Standard Geographical Classification (SGC), Volumes I and II, 2021 (Catalogue nos. 12‑571‑X and 12‑572‑X).

Changes prior to the current census

The 2016 version introduced the new classification variant 'Agricultural Regions – Variant of SGC 2016.' This variant includes census agricultural regions and census consolidated subdivisions, both of which are used by the Census of Agriculture for disseminating agricultural statistics. It also introduced the new classification variant 'North and South – Variant of SGC 2016.' This variant provides a definition of the North and South of Canada. This variant was originally developed for the analysis of justice statistics and, although recommended for use by other program areas at Statistics Canada should it meet their needs, does not require for it to be used outside of the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.

In 1976 and 1971, both SGC and census codes were used to disseminate census data.

In 1966 and 1961, only census codes were used to disseminate census data.

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