Citing guide for Statistics Canada, PCensus, & CHASS data

This guide is designed to provide some help for students and faculty who need to cite statistical data obtained from Statistics Canada's Web site, the PCensus database or from CANSIM via the University of Toronto's CHASS site. It is designed to be used along with the citation style guide recommended by your instructor, or the editorial policy of the journal in which you wish to publish.

General principles

Make a note of the following elements which may be included in your citation:

  • author (author, principal investigator, corporate body or issuing agency responsible for content)
  • title (full title including subtitle with descriptive phrases, dates, geographic information. Note the catalogue number for Statistics Canada documents or Vnumber and table number for CANSIM.)
  • part (if part of a larger work, give the title of the specific part) - Note: this is similar to a chapter in an edited book.
  • medium (computer file) - Note: some citation styles require this; some don't.
  • edition or version if relevant
  • producer (who collected the data and where it was produced)
  • distributor (if the data is distributed by another agency, for example PCensus distributes Statistics Canada Census data)
  • date produced
  • series information if necessary (put this series information in parentheses; include part numbers) Note: the sample shows Census of Canada as a series title, but it may be better to put that information in the actual title and use this series information section for a Statistics Canada serial, like Juristat or The Daily. Most citation styles seem to use this simpler format.
  • access and availability information (internet url or DOI; where you accessed it if not on the internet; date of access)

If you use a table reproduced or reproduced in part from Statistics Canada sources, follow the citation manual or editorial policy for how to footnote the table. Some guides suggest that you provide a brief source note if you have listed the source in your bibliography (in the same way that you would provide a brief footnote for any other item and include the full bibliographic information in the bibliography). Other guides suggest that you use a more complete source note. The footnote to the table begins with the word Source or Note in italics and followed by a colon. An example of each:

Short form:

Source: Data from Statistics Canada 2001 Census of Canada 2003. (This is Chicago Manual style, which puts just enough to identify the item on the reference list. If you have more than one reference to Statistics Canada Census data for the same year, use 2003a, distinguish them).

Longer form:

Note: From CANSIM II; series V735319. E-STAT ed. Statistics Canada. 2004. Ottawa, Ont.: Statistics Canada. (APA style: title,author, date, place: publisher.)


Using APA? You may want to look at (2020). Data citation: APA 7 style guide. 2nd ed. University of Ottawa. DOI 10.20381/bxr8-v639



While none of the citation guides show exactly how to cite statistical data, you will need to consult the relevant style manual and follow the format as closely as you can. Remember, the main purpose of a citation is to provide the reader with enough information that they can find the item you cited. The citations below show examples in various different citation styles.

Here is an example of a citation to one of the 2001 Canadian Census Topic Based Tabulations accessed via the Statistics Canada Web site in APA style:

Statistics Canada. (2003). 2001 Census of Canada topic based tabulations, immigration and citizenship tables: Immigrant status and place of birth of respondent, sex, and age groups, for population, for census metropolitan areas, tracted census agglomerations and census tracts, 2001 census. (Catalogue number 95F0357XCB2001002). Retrieved April 7, 2005 from Statistics Canada:

Here is an example of a Census profile accessed via the Statistics Canada Web site in Chicago Manual Style:

Statistics Canada. 2001 Census of Canada Census Profiles Marital status, common-law status, families, dwellings, and households Tables: Profile of Marital Status, Common-law Status, Families, Dwellings and Households, for Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2001 Census. Catalogue number 95F0487XCB2001004 in Statistics Canada [database online]. Ottawa, Ont., 2002 [accessed April 7 2005]. Available from: Accessed April 7, 2005

An example of an analysis series accessed on the Statistics Canada Web site in MLA Style:

Statistics Canada. Canada's Ethnocultural Portrait: The Changing Mosaic. 2001 Census Analysis Ser. 96F0030XIE2001008. Ottawa, Ont.: Statistics Canada, 2003. 7 April 2005.<>.

Note: MLA style makes no reference to citing data or tables in any way at all. You must find something similar and use it as a model. This citation is based upon the model for a book in a series and electronic citation examples.

A free publication from the Statistics Canada Web site in Turabian style:

Claudia Sanmartin, et. al. Access to Health Care Services in Canada, 2001. ( 82-575-XIE). Ottawa, Ont: Statistics Canada. Health Analysis and Measurement Group [producer and distributor]. 2002. Available: Accessed: April 7, 2005.

A publication through DLI or DSP in APA style

Statistics Canada. (2003). Food Expenditure in Canada. (Catalogue number 62-554-XIE). Ottawa, Ont: Statistics Canada. Expenditure Surveys Section, Income Statistics Division [producer]. Statistics Canada Depository Services Program [distributor]. Retrieved April 7, 2005 from

Note: it is important to mention that you obtained the documents through DLI or DSP, as these are not freely available to everyone.

An example of a Census Profile accessed through PCensus in Turabian style:

Statistics Canada. 2001 Census of Canada: Profile Data for Vancouver and Victoria at the Census Tract level. Ottawa, Ont.: Statistics Canada [producer]; Vancouver, B.C.: Tetrad Computer Applications [distributor], 2002. accessed 26 August 2004. available from PCensus for Mappoint [computer file], Simon Fraser University Library.

Note: PCensus census data is produced by Statistics Canada, but distributed by the Tetrad company.

A table source note example of CANSIM time series data accessed in the style of the journal, Canadian Public Policy:

Source: Statistics Canada. 2004. CANSIM II Series V1408265, Table number 3840011. "Intergovernmental transfers, Provincial economic accounts, Series Title, "British Columbia; Medicare." Accessed April 9, 2005.

Note: this journal does not require a separate entry for table sources in the Reference list, so the table source note must be complete.

An example of citing a CANSIM data table extracted using CHASS

Statistics Canada. n.d. Table 326-0001 Consumer Price Index (CPI), 2001 Basket Content, Monthly (table). CANSIM (database). Using CHASS (distributor). Version updated August 18, 2005. (accessed August 19, 2005).

Special Instructions for theses, projects, extended essays and other published works - copyright

When copyright permission is required:

  • Such written permission must be obtained (writing/email/fax),
  • Or evidence in the form of print-out of a pre-published statement (i.e. Web site statement) and
  • Must be delivered to the Thesis Office with the submitted thesis or project

The Statistics Canada Open License Agreement governs the use of most data products and other materials that are published by Statistics Canada (see list of exceptions). This license agreement allows you to use Statistics Canada information without restrictions on sharing and redistribution, for commercial and non-commercial purposes.