Frequently asked questions—Who should be included in the census?

The following questions and answers provide additional information to help you determine who should be included and who should not be included on your questionnaire to ensure that we have counted everyone we need to count, and that no one is counted twice.

1. Who should be included in the census?

Include:

  • all persons who have their main residence at this address, even if they are temporarily away on May 11, 2021
  • Canadian citizens
  • landed immigrants (permanent residents)
  • persons from another country who have a work or study permit and family members living here with them
  • persons asking for refugee status (asylum seekers) and family members living here with them
  • sons and daughters who live elsewhere while studying but return to live at this address during the year (for example, on weekends, during semester breaks, or after their studies are completed)
  • children in joint custody who live here most of the time (more than 50% of the time). Children who spend equal time with each parent should be included at the address where they stayed on the night of May 10 to May 11, 2021
  • spouses or common-law partners temporarily away who stay elsewhere while working or studying, should be listed at the main residence of their family, if they return periodically.
  • persons who have been in an institution (for example, in a home for the aged, a hospital, a prison, a rehabilitation centre, etc.) for less than six months (admitted after November 11, 2020)
  • babies born before May 11, 2021
  • persons deceased on or after May 11, 2021
  • persons who stayed overnight at this address between May 10 and May 11, 2021 (including room-mates, lodgers and employees) and have no usual place of residence elsewhere in Canada.

Exclude:

  • babies born on or after May 11, 2021
  • persons deceased before May 11, 2021
  • persons who moved out before May 11, 2021 (they must complete a questionnaire at their new address)
  • persons who have been in an institution (for example, a home for the aged, a hospital, a prison or a rehabilitation centre) for six months or more (admitted on or before November 11, 2020).
2. I am a student, but I don't live at home. Should I be included on my parents' household questionnaire?

If you live away from home during the school year and return to your parents' home when school is not in session, you should be included on your parents' questionnaire.

If you live year-round in an apartment, or in a shared apartment while in school, and do not return to live at your parent's home when school is not in session, you should be included on the census questionnaire for your usual place of residence.

3. Where should I be enumerated if I am away for work during the census?

If you are temporarily away for work on May 11, 2021, but return to your family home periodically, you should be included on your household's questionnaire.

If you are staying in a hotel or motel because of your job, at a work camp or at a YMCA-YWCA, you may receive a collective dwelling census card. However, there is no need to fill out this card unless you are a usual resident at the location where the card was received.

4. I am a cottage owner. What if I receive a census letter at both my cottage and my primary residence?

A census questionnaire must be completed for each dwelling in Canada, including secondary residences such as cottages. You will need to complete a full questionnaire for your primary residence and a partial questionnaire for your secondary residence.

Complete your questionnaire online on the census website. Enter the 16-digit secure access code printed on your invitation letter and follow the short online instructions.

5. I am a resident from another country assigned to an embassy, high commission or other diplomatic or military mission in Canada. Do I need to be included in the census?

For government representatives of another country (as well as family members living with them) affiliated with an embassy, a high commission or another diplomatic or military mission in Canada, only the first two steps (including the contact information section) of the census questionnaire need to be completed.

If you have questions, please contact the Census Help Line at 1-855-340-2021. Users of TTY (a telecommunications device for people who are deaf) can call 1-833-830-3109.

6. I am a Canadian citizen or resident assigned to an embassy, high commission or other diplomatic or military mission outside of Canada. Do I need to be included in the census?

Canadian government employees (federal, provincial and territorial) and members of the Canadian Armed Forces (as well as family members living with them) who are stationed outside of Canada should be included in the census and will need to complete a questionnaire distributed by a representative of the military or government establishment outside of Canada to which they are attached.

7. I am not a usual resident of Canada and I received a census questionnaire. Do I need to complete the questionnaire?

For residents of another country who are visiting Canada and who received a census questionnaire, only the first two steps (including the contact information section) of the census questionnaire need to be completed.

8. I plan to be travelling in May 2021. Do I still need to be included in the census?

If you are travelling in Canada or abroad during the census, you are still required to complete and return a census questionnaire. It is important that all Canadian residents be included in the 2021 Census.

If you are travelling within North America and there is no one at home to include you in the questionnaire, you can call the Census Help Line at 1-855-340-2021 and ask for a secure access code to complete your questionnaire online. Users of TTY (a telecommunications device for people who are deaf) can call 1-833-830-3109.

If you are travelling overseas during the census and there is no one home to include you in the questionnaire where you usually reside, then you should complete a questionnaire for that dwelling once you are back in the country.

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