- About this guide
- Suggested Data Sources
- Census of Canada Resources
- Guide on Ethnic, Racial, and Indigenous variables in the Census of Canada, 1870-2021
- Census of Canada: Comparison of Indigenous and Race-Based Variables since the 1870s
- Who is counted? Ethno-racial and indigenous identities in the Census of Canada, 1871-2021.
- Tips on how to search for and access data
- About Us
About this guide
This guide consists of a curated list of datasets that include ethnicity and race variables which can be used to facilitate anti-racism research in Canada. Although not comprehensive, the intention is to provide a starting point for researchers investigating topics about anti-racism and the impact of racism.
Due to the nature of some of the data sources in this guide, terminology may include language that is problematic and/or offensive to researchers. Certain vocabulary used to refer to racial, ethnic, religious and cultural groups is specific to the time period when the data were collected.
Suggested Data Sources
- Federal government sources
- Other national sources
- Provincial, regional and municipal sources
- Policing and criminology sources
- Sociological and education sources
- Data on Indigenous peoples
Census of Canada Resources
The Census of Population, conducted by Statistics Canada, provides a statistical portrait of people living in Canada. The Census contains data about racialized populations, ethno-cultural populations, and indigenous populations in Canada. Below are three resources that researchers can use to understand how the Census has evolved and defined ethnocultural populations, racialized persons, and Indigenous persons and groups in the Census.
Guide on Ethnic, Racial, and Indigenous variables in the Census of Canada, 1870-2021
The Guide on Ethnic, Racial, and Indigenous variables in the Census of Canada, 1870-2021 (.pdf) contains for each census year, variables related to ethnic origins, race, indigenous identity, ethno-cultural background, or where a respondent is born, are listed. Also included are information about variable definitions, individual census records (for historical censuses), publications with tables, and data files.
Census of Canada: Comparison of Indigenous and Race-Based Variables since the 1870s
The Census of Canada: Comparison of Indigenous and Race-Based Variables since the 1870s (.xlsx) is a spreadsheet that can be used to determine when a specific variable is first used and retired from the Census Questionnaires.
Who is counted? Ethno-racial and indigenous identities in the Census of Canada, 1871-2021.
In the IASSIST Quarterly journal article (Vol 46, No. 4, 2022), Who is counted? Ethno-racial and indigenous identities in the Census of Canada, 1871-2021, review and discuss how and why ethno-racial questions in the Census have been asked. In addition, the ongoing changes to the socio-cultural perceptions impacting the census are reviewed.
Tips on how to search for and access data
The webpage, “How to search for data”, provides tips on how to do keyword and theme-based searching for ethno-cultural data, which includes data on racialized and indigenous populations.
The webpage, “How to access and download datasets”, provides researchers with access to training videos and guides for data from Statistics Canada and ODESI.
This guide was created by
- Kevin Manuel (Toronto Metropolitan University),
- Alexandra Cooper (Queen’s University),
- Rosa Orlandini (York University),
- and Moira Davidson (Lakehead University).
If there is a data source that you would like to suggest for this guide, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line, Suggestion for Racialized Data Guide.