Search Tips

The purpose of this information is to facilitate searching in the Community Data Program catalogue.

The catalogue search tool is a powerful search engine for finding data, but unlike larger sources (such as the internet, or municipal phone directories) the Community Data Program catalogue database only contains a few hundred entries. Be careful not to over constrain your search, with every additional field you select in the catalogue search tool you lessen the chance of returning a browseable result set.

Technical Support: If you cannot find the answers to your technical queries through this website please send an email to the Community Data Program at or leave a message at 1-888-717-2919. Please allow 48 hours for a response.

*Members* – make sure you are logged in or you won’t be able to select files to download.

You can do a search with the criteria listed below. It is possible to combine these different criteria. In this case, only the tables that match the different criteria will appear in the search results.

Search text

Text in this field is used to search the catalog number, product title and description (which includes dimension names). If you know the dimension name included in the table you are searching for, enter it in this text box. Dimensions are the field names or variables that make up a census data table. To understand the wide range of dimensions that are included in the census, please visit Statistics Canada's  A to Z variables list (not all variables are available in this catalogue). The main page of the A to Z variables list contains the name of the dimensions or variables such as "Aborignal identity (3)", Aboriginal identity (5)", or "Age groups (7)". The number in brackets indicates how many variable categories are included in each dimension. To see the specific variable categories for each dimension click on the orange ? in the blue box to the left of the dimension name. This is useful for example when you are searching for a census table which includes an age category of "0 - 4 years old". You can use the A to Z variables list to see exactly which "Age group" dimensions include the specific category that you are interested in. Then you can put that extact dimension name in the text box to narrow your search results. You can also put just part of a dimension name to broaden your search, for example "Aboriginal" which will return all tables with the word Aboriginal in a dimension name. 

The drop down menu above the search text box allow you to further refine how the words you eter should be searched. For example if you enter "Age Sex" and the menu is set to "Contains all words" this will create a "AND" search and only return tables that have both words in the title. The same text with the menu set to "Contains any word" creates an "OR" search and will return all tables that have either word in the title.

The dop down menu is expecially useful for excluding tables with specific words in the title that don't match your search when too many results are returned. In this case you could select "Does not contain" or "Does not start with" from the drop down menu.

Data Source

You can select a data source like "Census" or "SAAD (tax filer)". Only the tables associated with the chosen data source will appear in the search results. For census data, you may choose the singular "Census" category or narrow your search by selecting "Census - Community Profiles", "Census - Target Group Profiles" or "Census - UPP Urban Poverty Project custom order" if you know the table you are searching for is in one of these categories. For more information on these types of census data tables, please read the Definition of Terms page.


You can select a year associated with a data source (for example "2007"). This is most useful for non-census data, such as SAAD (tax filer) or other data that is released annually.


The list of topics is based on the 2006 Census Release Topics from Statistics Canada. For example: Families and households, Mobility and migration, or Language. You can choose only one Topic on the list. Only the tables with this topic will appear in the search results. The topics only apply to the census, so do not select a topic if you are searching for non-census data.


You can select the desired area (Canada, Province, CT, etc.). If you are searching for tables that contain data customized to your community’s *unique geography* (neighbourhoods, wards, planning districts, health districts, etc.) look for the word “Custom”. Please read the Data Geographies page for more information, including what is included in custom geographies. Not all geographies are available for all tables.


This is a preset list of keywords that appears in the table titles including dimension names. Note that the exact keyword must appear in the dimension name. For example searching with the keyword "Language" will not return tables that only have "Mother tongue" as the only language related dimension. You can chose multiple keywords using the "Control" key, and this will narrow your search.

  • Once you have found the file(s) you want to download:
    1. Click the checkbox next to the files you want.
    2. Scroll down the list and click the “Add selections to cart” button.
    3. You will see a message that the files have been added to your cart. You will also see your cart status on the left hand side.
    4. Click “Checkout” (or “View cart” if you want to delete items first). A link will then be sent to you by email for your files or you can click the link at the bottom of the Order Complete message.
  • To download the currently viewed list of products, click either the CSV or XLS icon