Frequently asked questions on the recent changes to our website

At Statistics Canada we understand how important it is for you to find the information you need quickly and intuitively. As a result, we've made some improvements to our website.

Learn all about these changes:

Frequently asked questions

General information

Home page and main navigation menu

Data tables

Searching and finding information


General information

Why did Statistics Canada make changes to its website?

Statistics Canada has identified the need for a more simplified, coherent and user-friendly website. We have made improvements based on user feedback.

We are changing the way we disseminate information to Canadians to take advantage of evolving technology, increase user satisfaction and make it easier for users to find the data they need.

How has the website content been reorganized and improved?

While the content remains the same, data presentation has been streamlined to appeal to a broad array of users with diverse statistical backgrounds. These changes include:

  • a simplified, standardized product line featuring consistent layout and functionality
  • a common look and feel for the presentation of data products
  • a more robust navigation system with access to data, analytical and reference products directly through the main menu
  • the addition of filters, throughout the site, to refine search results by keyword(s), source, author, etc.
  • more immediate access to key statistics and data tables
  • additional features to customize large multi-dimensional data tables.

How do the website changes benefit different types of users?

The new website design presents data to satisfy the needs of a wide range of users. Users who only want a single number will have faster access to key statistics. For those who need a bit more information, there are simple data tables, dynamically updated when new results are released. From these simple data tables, more detailed information is available for users who wish to customize large multi-dimensional tables.

Sophisticated users will also be able to take away the data to analyze it further in their own environment, or harvest our data through web data services (API).

How can I provide feedback on these website changes?

Feedback can be provided using the Contact us information located at the bottom of every page.

How can I get additional support if required?

Videos have been developed to present What's new on our website as well as How to use the data tables. It is also possible to obtain assistance via Contact us.

Home page and main navigation menu

How has the home page been improved?

The home page now features four main components:

  1. In the news—which presents Statistics Canada's daily official releases
  2. Key statistics for Canada, the provinces and territories
  3. Subjects
  4. Six tiles with shortcuts to statistical information: Data, Analysis, Reference, Geography, Census Program and Surveys and Statistical Programs. These are also included in the main navigation menu, which is displayed on each website page.

What happened to the ''Browse by key resource" section?

Statistics Canada's information is no longer organized by key resources (e.g., CANSIM, Summary Tables). This section has been replaced by more streamlined menu options to better orient users in their search for information. All the content previously residing on the official Statistics Canada website has been integrated into the new product line.

What can I find under the Data section?

We have consolidated and simplified access to the data products rather than offer separate environments for CANSIM tables, Summary tables, etc.

What can I find under the Analysis section?

We now offer direct access to analytical products. Information is presented in three categories:

  1. Stats in brief (e.g., fact sheets, releases from The Daily)
  2. Articles and reports
  3. Journals and periodicals.

Both current and archived content are available. Results can be filtered by keyword(s), subject, type of analysis, year of publication, author, source of data and latest/all content (including archived content).

What can I find under the Reference section?

We offer direct access to reference products. Information is presented in four categories:

  1. Classification
  2. Documentation on Surveys and statistical programs
  3. Geographic files and documentation
  4. Notices and consultations.

What can I find under the Geography section?

The Geography main page has been developed to assist users in accessing data for a particular region or area. The new mapping tool provides results from all data sources and covers all surveys and statistical programs including the census and the National Household Survey.

What can I find under the Census program section?

The Census portal offers direct access to data, analysis, reference and geographical information from the Census program. Products from the 2016 Census and previous censuses maintain their own presentation and functionalities but they can be found using all new navigation features.

What can I find under the Surveys and statistical programs section?

This portal provides information to survey participants, as well as results by survey or statistical program.

Data tables

How do I find the data I am used to getting from the previous website?

New products links redirect users from bookmarked content to the equivalent new content. Old catalogue product numbers and CANSIM table numbers are searchable and link to the latest content. As well, all site content, new and old, is available through the site search. A concordance table between old CANSIM table numbers and new table numbers is available online. Videos are available for users to help them navigate the website and find the information they need: What's new on our website and How to use the data tables.

How do I add/remove data from my data table?

  • Once in your table, select 'Add/Remove data' button.
  • Here you can add or remove items from selected tabs (for example, Geography), then selecting or deselecting the items you want added or removed.
  • If you want to add or remove reference periods then select the 'Reference period' tab and select your time range.
  • If you want to customize your layout then select the 'Customize Layout' tab and you will see you can change the layout of your table by selecting column or row for each one.
  • When you are done with your changes, then select the 'Apply' button and your results will appear in the table below.

How are data organized and presented on the site?

Statistics Canada data can be accessed under the subjects, data, geography, census program and surveys and statistical programs sections. They have been organized by sub-category, including tables and profiles. Data tables now offer a consistent presentation across all subjects.

Where are the CANSIM tables?

CANSIM tables have been replaced by data tables with the same or similar content that have a consistent presentation and that will be dynamically updated as new results are released.

You can find a former CANSIM table by using the "Filter results by keyword(s)" option to type the number of the corresponding data table (e.g. 282-0023 and not CANSIM 282-0023). Redirects have also been implemented from former content to the equivalent new content. A concordance table between old CANSIM table numbers and new table numbers is available online.

Where are the Summary Tables?

Summary tables have been replaced by data tables with the same or similar content that have a consistent presentation and that will be dynamically updated upon the release of new results. For our most commonly used tables, redirects have been implemented from former content to the equivalent new content.

How have the table titles changed?

Simpler titles provide greater clarity about the primary focus and components of the table. Users can find additional information in the table descriptions.

Will the tables and other information products be assigned new identification numbers?

We now have new product identification numbers. The first 2 digits represent the main subject (for example, 12 for International Trade 12-XX-XXXX-XX). The next 2 digits represent the type of product. For example, all data tables are assigned a 10. Publications are assigned either a 20, 26, or 28. A public use micro-data file is assigned a 25.

For data tables and publications the subsequent 4 digits are used for internal purposes. They are assigned sequentially and in some specific cases, different views were created for the same data series. The final 2 digits at the end reflects this situation.

Main subject codes
Subject Code
Aboriginal peoples 41
Agriculture 32
Business and consumer services and culture 21
Business performance and ownership 33
Children and youth 42
Construction 34
Crime and justice 35
Economic accounts 36
Education, training and learning 37
Energy 25
Environment 38
Familes and Households 39
Government 10
Health 13
Housing 46
Immigration and ethnocultural diversity 43
Income, pensions, spending and wealth 11
Information and communications technology 22
International trade 12
Labour 14
Languages 15
Manufacturing 16
Population and demography 17
Prices and price indexes 18
Retail and wholesale 20
Science and technology 27
Seniors 44
Society and community 45
Statistical methods 19
Transportation 23
Travel and tourism 24

How has the data presentation changed from CANSIM?

Each table is initially presented with drop-down filters that allow users to quickly navigate to the data points of interest. Further customization is possible using the Add/remove data button. Users also have the option to pivot table rows and columns, using the customize layout button.

Where did the footnotes at the bottom of the CANSIM tables go?

Users are able to click on a note in a table to see the note content displayed as an overlay. When customizing a table, notes are now renumbered automatically. If the download as displayed function is used, all the notes will appear at the bottom of the table. When users download the entire dataset, all notes are provided in a separate metadata file which downloads along with the data file.

Which data download options are available?

Users are able to download data in different output formats. On the website, users have the option to download data as displayed on the screen, download an entire table or receive information through web data services. In terms of output formats to download an entire table, Statistics Canada is moving away from proprietary output formats (like Beyond 20/20 IVT format) to support non-proprietary, open, output formats such as CSV or SDMX.

Additional fields have been added to the output files. In addition, when users download the entire dataset, all notes are provided in a separate metadata file, which downloads along with the data file. The sort order within the data files has been modified from previous CSV outputs. Data will now be sorted by ref_date in ascending order. Should you require further details about upcoming changes to the output files, please e-mail statcan.od-services-bds-services.statcan@canada.ca.

Users can also retrieve data in English or French formats. CSV and Semicolon-Separated Values (SCSV) files are produced differently depending on the language. In French, the comma is used to indicate decimals; a different separator (a semicolon) must therefore be used. SCSV files retrieved in French will parse correctly only if the Regional Settings are set to French.

How do I download my data table?

  • Once you have retrieved your table, you can download data multiple ways.
  • If you want to download data when you have initially first retrieved your table, then select the 'Download options' button. You can Download as displayed (in .CSV format), Download as displayed (excluding accompanying symbols) (in .CSV format), Download entire table (in .CSV format), or Download entire table (in SDMX format).
  • If you want to download data after you have used Add/Remove data, then select the 'Download options' button after you have selected the 'Apply' button and you will get the same download options to choose from.
  • For more detailed information please see Full Table Download (CSV) User Guide.

Are less data available to the public?

All the content previously residing on the official Statistics Canada website has been integrated into the new product line.

Where did the CANSIM manipulate feature go?

Given the very limited use of this functionality, the feature itself was discontinued but we will continue to support the most commonly used calculations, including the percentage change between years.

Is there a plan to offer dynamic charts and thematic maps?

Yes. More dynamic charts and thematic maps are planned for the future.

Are the data available through Open Government affected by changes to the Statistics Canada website?

Statistics Canada's new way of publishing data on its website automatically populates the federal Open Data portal, Open Government, with records from Statistics Canada's data products. Therefore, information like titles, descriptions and keywords are quickly transferred to Open Government and are found on the Open Data portal as soon as the data are published.

Are any new services being offered?

Web data services/API (Application Programming Interface) are now available for our complete data holdings. These services are available to sophisticated data users wanting to program a direct automated harvesting of data.

Searching and finding information

Are there any improvements to search?

New ways to search content include a "Filter results by keyword(s)" option and other filters to narrow down results.

Can I still find data using vectors?

It is still possible to search tables using former CANSIM vectors by typing the specific vector number(s) using the Search by vector feature located within the Data way in.

How can I search by vector?

  • Select the Search by vector button
  • Select the amount of reference periods you want from the 'Select latest reference period(s) drop down (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 12, 25, 50, 100, 150, or 200).
  • Enter in your vector number(s) including the letter 'v' which precedes the actual vector number. You can separate vector numbers by a comma (,).
  • Select the search button.
  • Your search results will appear below in a table format with the Vector, Frequency, Title, Description, Reference Period, Unit of Measure, Value and Source (Product ID).
  • NOTE: The available download options are as displayed and no symbols, both available in .CSV format.

How do I find data for a particular region or area?

The Geography page lets users access data for particular regions or areas. A new mapping tool provides results from all data sources, where available, and covers all surveys and statistical programs including the census and the National Household Survey.

Where are the data publications?

Data publications (e.g., Building permits, Catalogue no. 64-001-X) have been replaced by data tables with the same or similar content that have a consistent presentation and are dynamically updated upon the release of new results.

You can find a former data publication using the "Filter results by keyword(s)" option to access the corresponding data tables. Historical data publications are still available.

As well, a reference to the former publication catalogue number is included under the "Related information" section of a data table, where applicable.

Where can I find articles, periodicals, in-depth publications or reports?

This type of information is accessible under the Analysis section via the home page or the main menu. Information is presented in three categories:

  1. Stats in brief (e.g., fact sheets, releases from The Daily);
  2. Articles and reports; and
  3. Journals and periodicals. Both current and archived content are available.

Results can be filtered by keyword(s), subject, type of analysis, year of publication, author, source of data and latest/all content (including archived content).

Where can I find related information about a product?

Publications such as data tables and catalogue pages have a section at the bottom called "Related information" where users will find what the product may replace, information about the source, related products and subject/keywords, etc.

What if I have questions or comments?

Please visit the Contact us page for any questions or comments.

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