List of census divisions of Ontario

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Ontario's census divisions by type from the 2011 federal census
Ontario's 49 census divisions by type

There are 49 census divisions of Ontario used by Statistics Canada to aggregate census data. With two exceptions,[a] they correspond to Ontario's first-level administrative divisions, of which there are three types: single-tier municipalities, upper-tier municipalities (which can be regional municipalities or counties), and districts. These differ primarily in the services that they provide to their residents, and their different structures result from the vast disparities among Ontario's different regions. They may comprise smaller municipalities or other types of administrative divisions, which are generally treated as census subdivisions by Statistics Canada.

In some cases, a census division may retain its historical name even if it changes government type. For instance, Oxford County, Haldimand County, Norfolk County and Prince Edward County are no longer counties: Oxford is a regional municipality and the others are single-tier municipalities. Several census divisions in Ontario have significantly changed their borders or been discontinued entirely: see Historic counties of Ontario.

Types of census divisions[edit]

Single-tier municipalities[edit]

Single-Tier Municipalities of Ontario

A single-tier municipality is a census division which is governed by one municipal administration, with neither a county nor regional government above it, nor further municipal subdivisions below it (cf. independent city). A single-tier municipality is either a former regional municipality or a former county, whose municipal governments were amalgamated in the 1990s into a single administration. A single-tier municipality should not be confused with a separated municipality, which is a municipality that is administratively separated from its county, but is not considered a separate census division. With the exception of Greater Sudbury, single-tier municipalities are found only in Southern Ontario.

Single-tier municipalities of this type (Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton and Greater Sudbury) were created where a former regional municipality consisted of a single dominant urban centre and its suburbs.

Current single-tier municipalities in Ontario:

Census division Population
(2016)[1]
Area
(km²)
Density
(/km²)
Regional
seat
Secondary
region
Primary
region
Municipality of Chatham-Kent[b] 102,042 2,457.90 41.4 Chatham Southwestern Southern
City of Greater Sudbury[c] 161,647 3,239.02 49.9 Greater Sudbury Northeastern Northern
Haldimand-Norfolk[d][a] 109,787 2,894.76 37.9 Cayuga, Simcoe Southwestern Southern
City of Hamilton[e] 536,917 1,117.29 480.6 Hamilton Golden Horseshoe Southern
City of Kawartha Lakes[f] 75,423 3,084.38 24.5 Lindsay Central Southern
City of Ottawa[g] 934,243 2,790.30 334.8 Ottawa Eastern Southern
Prince Edward County 24,735 1,050.49 23.5 Picton Central Southern
County of Brant[a] 134,808 1,093.22 123.3 Burford Southwestern Southern
City of Toronto[h] 2,731,571 630.20 4,334.4 Toronto Golden Horseshoe Southern

Regional municipalities[edit]

Regional Municipalities of Ontario

Regional municipalities (or regions) are upper-tier municipalities that generally have more servicing responsibilities than the counties. They generally provide the following services: maintenance and construction of arterial roads in both rural and urban areas, transit, policing, sewer and water systems, waste disposal, region-wide land use planning and development, as well as health and social services. Regions are typically more urbanized than counties. Regional municipalities are usually census divisions where an interconnected cluster of urban centres or suburbs forms the majority of the division's area and population, but no single centre is overwhelmingly dominant over the others. Regional municipalities are found only in Southern Ontario.

Although Oxford County and the District Municipality of Muskoka are not called regions, they are defined as regional municipalities under Part 1, Section 1 of the Ontario Municipal Act, 2001.[2]

Between 1998 and 2001, four regional municipalities that were dominated by a central city were amalgamated and are now single-tier municipalities. In 1998, the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto became the amalgamated City of Toronto. In 2001, the Regional Municipality of Ottawa–Carleton became the City of Ottawa, the Regional Municipality of Hamilton–Wentworth became the City of Hamilton, and the Regional Municipality of Sudbury became the City of Greater Sudbury. At the same time, the Regional Municipality of Haldimand–Norfolk was split into Haldimand County and Norfolk County.

Current regional municipalities in Ontario:

Census division Population
(2016)[1]
Area
(km²)
Density
(/km²)
Regional
seat
Secondary
region
Primary
region
Regional Municipality of Durham 645,862 2,523.80 255.9 Whitby Golden Horseshoe Southern
Regional Municipality of Halton 548,435 964.05 568.9 Oakville Golden Horseshoe Southern
District Municipality of Muskoka 60,599 3,940.48 15.4 Bracebridge Northeastern Northern
Regional Municipality of Niagara 447,888 1,854.23 241.5 Thorold Golden Horseshoe Southern
Oxford County 110,862 2,039.61 54.4 Woodstock Southwestern Southern
Regional Municipality of Peel 1,381,739 1,246.95 1,108.1 Brampton Golden Horseshoe Southern
Regional Municipality of Waterloo 535,154 1,368.92 390.9 Kitchener Southwestern Southern
Regional Municipality of York 1,109,909 1,762.13 629.9 Newmarket Golden Horseshoe Southern

Counties[edit]

Counties of Ontario

Counties have fewer responsibilities than regions, as the lower-tier municipalities (cities, towns, villages, townships) within the counties typically provide the majority of municipal services to their residents. The responsibilities of county governments are generally limited to the following: maintenance and construction of rural arterial roads, health and social services, and county land use planning. Counties are only found in Southern Ontario.

Counties may be as large as regional municipalities in population, but their population density is generally lower (although not as low as in a district.) Counties may include major cities, such as London, Kingston and Windsor, but these cities have generally not evolved into urban agglomerations with other communities, as in regions and "megacities".

Counties may also include separated municipalities, communities that are considered part of the county for census purposes but are not administratively connected to the county. Municipalities are separated when regional or single-tier status is not appropriate for the municipality's population patterns, but their population is still large enough that it may adversely affect the county's ability to provide services to its smaller communities.

Current counties in Ontario:

Census division Population
(2016)[1]
Area
(km²)
Density
(/km²)
Regional
seat
Secondary
region
Primary
region
Bruce County 68,147 4,090.20 16.7 Walkerton Southwestern Southern
Dufferin County 61,735 1,486.44 41.5 Orangeville Central Southern
Elgin County 88,978 1,881.03 47.3 St. Thomas Southwestern Southern
Essex County 398,953 1,850.90 215.5 Essex Southwestern Southern
Frontenac County 150,475 3,787.76 39.7 Kingston Eastern Southern
Grey County 93,830 4,513.50 20.8 Owen Sound Southwestern Southern
Haliburton County 18,062 4,076.08 4.4 Minden Central Southern
Hastings County 136,445 6,103.92 22.4 Belleville Central Southern
Huron County 59,297 3,399.27 17.4 Goderich Southwestern Southern
Lambton County 126,638 3,002.25 42.2 Wyoming Southwestern Southern
Lanark County 68,698 3,035.64 22.6 Perth Eastern Southern
United Counties of Leeds and Grenville 100,546 3,382.89 29.7 Brockville Eastern Southern
Lennox and Addington County 42,888 2,839.68 15.1 Napanee Eastern Southern
Middlesex County 455,526 3,317.27 137.3 London Southwestern Southern
Northumberland County 85,598 1,905.15 44.9 Cobourg Central Southern
Perth County 76,796 2,218.52 34.6 Stratford Southwestern Southern
Peterborough County 138,236 3,848.20 35.9 Peterborough Central Southern
United Counties of Prescott and Russell 89,333 2,004.47 44.6 L'Orignal Eastern Southern
Renfrew County 102,394 7,448.57 13.7 Pembroke Eastern Southern
Simcoe County 479,650 4,859.64 98.7 Midhurst Central Southern
United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry 113,429 3,309.87 34.3 Cornwall Eastern Southern
Wellington County 222,726 2,660.57 83.7 Guelph Southwestern Southern

Districts[edit]

Districts of Ontario

Districts are regional areas in Northern Ontario that do not serve any municipal government purpose. Although districts do still contain incorporated cities, towns and townships, they do not have an upper-tier county or regional municipality level of government, and are largely composed of unorganized areas. Some districts may have District Social Service Administration Boards, which are designed to provide certain social services, but they do not serve a governmental function.

In a district, all services are provided either by the municipalities themselves, by local services boards in some communities within the unorganized areas, or directly by the provincial government. Much of Northern Ontario is sparsely populated, so a county government structure would not be an efficient or cost-effective method of administration.

The former Regional Municipality of Sudbury, created in 1973, was the only census division in Northern Ontario ever incorporated with a structure like those of census divisions in the southern part of the province. That division was dissolved in 2000, and now constitutes the single-tier municipality of Greater Sudbury.

Current districts in Ontario:

Census division Population
(2016)[1]
Area
(km²)
Density
(/km²)
Regional
seat
Secondary
region
Primary
region
Algoma District 114,094 48,814.88 2.3 Sault Ste. Marie Northeastern Northern
Cochrane District 79,682 141,268.51 0.6 Cochrane Northeastern Northern
Kenora District 65,533 407,268.65 0.2 Kenora Northwestern Northern
Manitoulin District 13,255 3,107.23 4.3 Gore Bay Northeastern Northern
Nipissing District 83,150 17,103.78 4.9 North Bay Northeastern Northern
Parry Sound District 42,824 9,326.48 4.6 Parry Sound Northeastern Northern
Rainy River District 20,110 15,486.75 1.3 Fort Frances Northwestern Northern
Sudbury District 21,546 40,204.77 0.5 Espanola Northeastern Northern
Thunder Bay District 146,048 103,722.82 1.4 Thunder Bay Northwestern Northern
Timiskaming District 32,251 13,303.30 2.4 Haileybury Northeastern Northern

See also[edit]

Census divisions by province and territory

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Statistics Canada treats Norfolk County and Haldimand County as one single census division; the County of Brant and City of Brantford are also treated as one single census division. There would otherwise be 51 census divisions instead of the 49 official ones used by Statistics Canada.
  2. ^ (Formerly Kent County)
  3. ^ (Formerly Regional Municipality of Sudbury)
  4. ^ (Formerly half of the Regional Municipality of Haldimand-Norfolk)
  5. ^ (Formerly the Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Municipality)
  6. ^ (Formerly Victoria County)
  7. ^ (Formerly the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton)
  8. ^ (Formerly Metropolitan Toronto)

References[edit]

External links[edit]