List of census divisions of Ontario

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

First-level administrative divisions of Ontario
Ontario census divisions by type.png
LocationProvince of Ontario
Populations13,255 (Manitoulin District) – 2,731,571 (City of Toronto)
Areas630.20 km2 (City of Toronto) – 407,268.65 km2 (Kenora District)

The Province of Ontario has 51 first-level administrative divisions, which collectively cover the whole province. With two exceptions,[a] their areas match the 49 census divisions Statistics Canada has for Ontario.

The Province has four types of first-level division: single-tier municipalities, regional municipalities, counties, and districts. The first three are types of municipal government but districts are not—they are defined geographic areas (some quite large) used in many contexts. The last three have within them multiple smaller, lower-tier municipalities but the single-tier municipalities do not. Regional municipalities and counties differ primarily in the services that they provide to their residents. (Lower-tier municipalities are generally treated as census subdivisions by Statistics Canada.)

In some cases, an administrative 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 administrative divisions in Ontario have significantly changed their borders or have been discontinued entirely. See: Historic counties of Ontario.

Types of administrative divisions[edit]

Single-tier municipalities[edit]

Single-tier municipalities of Ontario
LocationProvince of Ontario
Populations24,735 (Prince Edward County) – 2,731,571 (City of Toronto)
Areas630.20 km2 (City of Toronto) – 3,239.02 km2 (City of Greater Sudbury)
  • None

A single-tier municipality is governed by one municipal administration, with neither a county nor regional government above it, nor further municipal subdivisions below it (cf. independent city).[1] Single-tier municipalities are either former regional municipalities or counties whose municipal governments were amalgamated in the 1990s into a single administration. Some single-tier municipalities of this type (e.g., Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Greater Sudbury) were created where a former regional municipality consisted of a single dominant urban centre and its suburbs or satellite towns or villages, while others (e.g., Brant County, Chatham-Kent, Haldimand-Norfolk, Kawartha Lakes, and Prince Edward County) were created from predominantly rural divisions with a collection of distinct communities.

A single-tier municipality should not be confused with a separated municipality; such municipalities are considered as part of their surrounding county for census purposes, but are not administratively connected to the county.

With the exception of Greater Sudbury, single-tier municipalities that are not considered to be part of a county, regional municipality, or district are found only in Southern Ontario.

Current single-tier municipalities in Ontario that are also census divisions:

Single-tier municipality Population
Seat Secondary
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 Sudbury Northeastern Northern
Haldimand-Norfolk[a][d] 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
LocationProvince of Ontario
Populations60,599 (District Municipality of Muskoka) – 1,381,739 (Peel)
Areas964.05 km2 (Halton) – 3,940.48 km2 (District Municipality of Muskoka)

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 typically an administrative division 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.[3]

Between 1998 and 2001, four regional municipalities that formed their own central city-dominated metropolitan areas were amalgamated and are now single-tier municipalities.

Current regional municipalities in Ontario:

Regional municipality Population
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 of Ontario
Map of Ontario COUNTIES.svg
LocationProvince of Ontario
Populations18,062 (Haliburton) – 479,650 (Simcoe)
Areas1,486.44 km2 (Dufferin) – 7,448.57 km2 (Renfrew)

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 and are also mostly census divisions.

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, geographically located within them, but these communities are usually separated municipalities that are only 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. Also, these cities have not evolved into large urban agglomerations with other communities, as in regions and single-tier cities, but may have small suburbs such as Point Edward.

Current counties in Ontario:

County Population
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 of Ontario
Map of Ontario DISTRICTS.svg
LocationProvince of Ontario
Populations13,255 (Manitoulin) – 146,048 (Thunder Bay)
Areas3,107.23 km2 (Manitoulin) – 407,268.65 km2 (Kenora)
  • None

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 division in Northern Ontario ever incorporated with a structure like those of counties, regional municipalities, and single-tier municipalities 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:

District Population
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]


  1. ^ a b c d 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 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


  1. ^ Retrieved 2020-08-14. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census divisions, 2016 and 2011 censuses". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  3. ^ Ontario Municipal Act, 2001.

External links[edit]