Statistics Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Standard table symbols

Symbol legend

The symbols described in this document apply to all data published by Statistics Canada from all origins including surveys, censuses and administrative sources, as well as straight tabulations and all estimations.

The following symbol legend should be included with all publications.

.
not available for any reference period
..
not available for a specific reference period
...
not applicable
0
true zero or a value rounded to zero
0s

value rounded to 0 (zero) where there is a meaningful distinction between true zero and the value that was rounded
p
preliminary
r
revised
x
suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act
E
use with caution
F
too unreliable to be published
*
significantly different from reference category (p < 0.05)

Definitions

.  not available for any reference period

This symbol is used when the figure has never been published for any reference period. The symbol implies that the underlying time series does not exist, but theoretically could exist.

Example:

CPI, food, Montreal

The only commodities data collected for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) at the city level include those related to shelter. Therefore, in this example, the data are not available for the city of Montreal because commodities data collected for the CPI do not include food at the municipal or city level.

..  not available for a specific reference period

This symbol is used when the time series exists but the figure is not published for a specific reference period.

Example:

Foreign exchange rates in Canadian dollars, German mark, daily (series B100005)

June 08 2001
0.6617
June 09 2001
..
June 10 2001
..
June 11 2001
0.6531
June 12 2001
0.6611

Note: The figures for June 9 and 10 are missing because the data are not collected on the weekend. The symbol .. indicates that the specific reference period is within the reference period of the time series. Leave the data cell empty if the series exists but the data point is outside the reference period of the time series.

...  not applicable

This symbol is used when an entry for the table cell is not logically possible. For example, there could not be any data for "legal drivers under 15 years of age" or "women with prostate cancer." In such cases, no time series will exist.

Example:

Population studied by age group, drivers by vehicle type and age group

Age group Vehicle type Population
Years truck bus thousands
Under 15 ... ... 14,899
15 to 44 8,456 401 15,678
45 to 64 8,915 431 11,879
65 and older 1,599 34 7,321
Total 19,970 866 49,777

Note:  This symbol is only used when the data point is not logically possible. This symbol is not meant to be used when the author deems the data point to be "too unreliable to be published" (see the section on data quality symbols).

s  data rounded to 0 (zero)

This symbol is used when a value has been rounded to 0 (zero) and in addition, there is a meaningful distinction between "true zero" and the value that has been rounded to zero. This symbol is used as a superscript with a zero (i.e., "0s") with a footnote indicating "data rounded to 0". This symbol is to be used on an exception basis. CANSIM supports this symbol as a data point characteristic. The author divisions are responsible for determining when this symbol will be used.

p  preliminary

This symbol is used when the figure is preliminary. A preliminary figure is subject to revision. CANSIM supports this symbol as a data point characteristic. The author divisions are responsible for determining when this symbol will be used.

r   revised

This symbol is used when the figure is revised. CANSIM supports this symbol as a data point characteristic. The author divisions are responsible for determining when this symbol will be used.

x  suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act

This symbol is used only when a data point is suppressed to protect the confidentiality of respondents. The symbol cannot be used for any other purpose, nor may it be substituted by any other symbol.

Data quality symbols

These are the recommended data quality symbols that should be used when data quality assessment information is available.

Symbol Meaning
E(superscript) use with caution
F too unreliable to be published
acceptable or better

When a figure is "too unreliable to be published," the data point is suppressed and the symbol F appears in the data cell.

When the figure is not accompanied by a data quality symbol, it means that the quality of the data was assessed to be "acceptable or better" according to the policies and standards of Statistics Canada. To denote specific levels of "acceptable or better" quality, letter grades such as A to D should be used.

Data analysis symbols

* Significantly different from reference category (p < 0.05)

* Example: * Significantly different from preceding period (p < 0.05)

Symbols no longer in use

—   Nil or zero

This symbol is no longer in use and has been replaced by 0 (zero).

--   too small to be expressed

This symbol is no longer in use and has been replaced by 0 (zero).
On an exception basis, "0s" (i.e., zero with a superscript s) may be used to indicate that the data have been rounded to 0 (zero).

Presentation

Table symbols are organized into two categories: symbols that replace a data point value and symbols that accompany a data point value.

Replace Accompany
. p
.. r
-- 0s
... E
x
F

The symbols that replace a data point value should be entered where the data point value would normally appear. Replacement symbols should be formatted with the same font characteristics (font, effects and alignment) as the data point value and presentation should be consistent in both paper and electronic publications.

Formatting symbols for paper publications

Symbols that accompany data points, including data quality symbols, should appear in superscript beside the data point in a left-aligned transparent column.

Example:

Data column Transparent column

right alignment

left alignment
123.3 r
123.3 Er

Note:  At most, there can be two accompanying symbols: one that indicates data quality, and one that indicates whether the figures are preliminary or revised. In these cases, the data quality symbol should appear first, followed by the preliminary or revised symbol. Both appear in superscript, however, data quality symbols always should be formatted in uppercase.

Formatting symbols for electronic publications

For online display (such as HTML), accompanying symbols should appear in the same cell as the data value.

Example:

132.3r

For downloadable formats (like CSV), accompanying symbols may appear in their own column next to the data column.

Example:

132.3
r