Statistics Canada releases a variety of statistical products for each census year. Below are links to some of these products, along with a brief description.
Cartographic boundary files are a series of products containing the boundaries of standard geographic areas together with the shoreline around Canada and larger inland lakes, all integrated in a single layer. They are used to map Census of Population data, and can also be used with Census of Agriculture, National Household Survey, or other Statistics Canada data.
The following years of Census boundary files are available for direct download:
Often, smaller census geographies fit together to make one larger geography, such as how census tracts (CTs) fit together to make one census metropolitan area (CMA). However, not every census geography fits perfectly inside other geographies. CMAs / CAs are only available every corner of each province or territory, for example, as they are only urban areas. This hierarchical model of census geographies from Statistics Canada will be better help identify which geographies fit within each others, while the 2016 interactive index on census geographies will help better help visualize these geographies.
The Canadian Census Analyser is a custom built search and retrieval program of Census Data that are maintained by (CHASS) at the University of Toronto.Includes profiles at dissemination, census tracts, census divisions, census subdivisions, federal electoral districts or provincials levels, some data going back to 1961.
There are 338 Federal Electoral Districts (FEDs) that cover all of Canada and each FED is an area represented by one Member of Parliament. These can be useful to compare data at the electoral districts.
Census metropolitan areas (CMAs) are commonly used to compare cities across Canada, as they are cities with a population of 100,000 or more with at least 50,000 people living in the core. Here is a table that lists all 33 CMAs and their respective populations. Census agglomerations (CAs) are towns with a population of at least 10,000 and there are 114 CAs in Canada.
Comparing neighbourhoods in a city or town usually involves looking at census tracts (CTs) as each CT has a population of 2,500 - 8,000. Dissemination areas (DAs) fit within CTs and are the smallest geography for which we have data.