Starting in 1896, a separate census of agriculture (CA) was taken every five years in Manitoba and, beginning in 1906, in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Since 1956, the five-year agricultural census was extended to the entire country, and conducted in conjunction with the Census of Population (CP). The metadata review and data presented here refer to Canada's CA 2011.
The Census of Agriculture provides the only comprehensive and integrated profile of the physical, economic, social and environmental aspects of Canada’s agriculture industry. It is conducted every five years. The infromation collected is combined with those of other Canadian farmers to track trends, provide insight and measure the health of this vital industry. For instance:
• Census information on livestock counts, crop area and types of crops planted gives a historical picture of the changes in Canadian agriculture over time.
• The census collects information on minimum and no-till seeding, organic products, new crops or livestock and other innovations in agriculture.
• It tracks partnerships and corporations, computer use and major farm expenses to paint a statistical picture of the business of farming.
Kind of Data
Census/enumeration data [cen]
Unit of Analysis
The scope of the study includes crop and livestock production.
Agriculture & Rural Development
Forests & Forestry
Food (production, crisis)
Land (policy, resource management)
The statistical unit was the agricultural operation, defined as "a farm, ranch or other agricultural operation that produces at least one agricultural product intended for sale.
Producers and sponsors
i. Methodological modality for conducting the census
The classical approach was used in the CA 2011. The CA 2011 was conducted in conjunction with the CP. The two censuses were conducted concurrently and shared a common "census day" (see section 4).
The CP questionnaire, which was received by all households, including agricultural households, included a question asking if any household member was the operator of an agricultural operation, as defined by the census scope. This information was provided to the CA staff during the enumeration period, to supplement the frame.
iii. Complete and/or sample enumeration methods
The CA is a complete enumeration of all agricultural operations, including those operated by agricultural households and corporate farm enterprises.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Computer Assisted Web Interview (CAWI)
Data Collection Notes
Questionnaires were either completed on paper and mailed back to Statistics Canada's Data Operations Centre, completed online via Computer-assisted Web Interviewing (CAWI), or completed over the phone via Computer-assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) by calling the toll-free Census Help Line.
The CA used a single questionnaire, available in both English and French. Information was collected on:
· Farm work
· Main farm location
· Land area owned, leased, rented, crop-shared or used
· Hay and field crops
· Sod, nursery products or Christmas trees
· Fruits, berries or nuts
· Practices and land features
· Land seeded or to be seeded
· Crop residue (straw, stover, stalks) which was baled for bedding or sale
· Herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, commercial fertilizer or lime
· Greenhouse products
· Maple trees tapped
· Bees for honey production or bees for pollination
· Chickens or turkeys
· Commercial poultry hatchery
· Cattle or calves
· Sheep or lambs
· Market value of land and buildings
· Farm machinery and equipment
· Gross farm receipts
· Operating expenses
· Paid work
· Computer used for this farm business
· Organic products for sale
The CA 2011 questionnaire covered 14 of the 16 core items2 recommended in the WCA 2010. The following items were not covered: (i) "Presence of aquaculture on the holding"; and (ii) "Other economic production activities of the holding's enterprise".
1. DATA PROCESSING AND ARCHIVING
The CA and CP questionnaires were separately dealt with once they arrived at Statistics Canada's Data Operations Centre. They were sorted, electronically scanned and the data automatically captured using Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR). Any responses that were not recognized by the ICR process were sent to a Statistics Canada employee, who reviewed the questionnaire image and entered the correct data into the system. Questionnaires completed and submitted on the Internet also went to the Data Operations Centre. Once captured, the data were loaded onto an automated processing system that took them through detailed edit, follow-up and imputation processes. The data were first subjected to a series of rigorous quality control and processing edits to identify and resolve problems related to inaccurate, missing or inconsistent data. A Statistics Canada employee then followed up on the problematic records that could not be resolved in editing, to clarify the missing or incomplete data. Finally, situations that could not be resolved through either editing or follow-up were handled with an imputation procedure that replaced each missing or inconsistent response either with a value consistent with the other data on the questionnaire or with a response obtained from a similar agricultural operation.
2. CENSUS DATA QUALITY
After closing the data collection period, a data validation and certification process was conducted. A coverage evaluation study was undertaken during the period of follow-up collection, to determine the level of CA 2011 undercoverage in three important dimensions: farm count, land area and total sales. The resulting undercoverage estimates inform the data certification process and are published to advise users on data quality.
The CA 2011 had three major data releases, online and free of charge:
· basic counts and totals for all farm and farm operator variables were released on 10 May 2012;
· selected historical farm and farm operator data (some series covering 1921-2011) were released on 10 December 2012; and
· selected data on the socio-economic characteristics of farm operators, farm families and the farm population, based on the agriculture-population linkage database were released on 27 November 2013.
Statistics Canada recognizes the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of personal information and has made the protection of such information its highest priority. Confidential data never leave Statistics
Canada premises, nor are they ever out of Statistics Canada's control. Providing personal information to anyone, whether in a census, survey, or in any other manner, does involve some loss of privacy. However, it is recognized that the public benefits of accurate data far outweigh this minimal loss of privacy, especially when measures are taken to ensure that personal information is kept strictly confidential.
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses