Dictionary, Census of Population, 2021
On temporary lay-off or absent from job or business

Release date: November 17, 2021


Refers to whether persons were, during the week of Sunday, May 2 to Saturday, May 8, 2021:

(a) on temporary lay-off from a job to which they expected to return;

(b) absent from their job or business for the entire week.

Reasons for absence included vacations, an illness, a strike or lock-out at the respondent's place of employment, or other reasons.

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 Appendix 2.1.

Reported for

Population aged 15 years and over, in private households, who did not work for pay or in self-employment during the week of Sunday, May 2 to Saturday, May 8, 2021.

Question number(s)

Direct variable: Question 39


No; Yes, on temporary lay-off from a job to which this person expects to return; Yes, on vacation, ill, on strike or locked out, or absent for other reasons


This variable is used to derive the respondent's labour force status.

For more information, see the definitions for Unemployed and Not in the labour force variables.

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


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