Census Releases Highlights Labour, Education, Commuting and Mobility

Today, Statistics Canada released its final wave of new 2016 Census data and a series of publications providing a detailed look at trends in labour, education, commuting and mobility in Canada.

A series of new and updated data and highlight tables, infographics and videos, and Census in Brief articles provide analysis on a variety of topics, including post-secondary education rates, employment trends, working seniors, commuting and family mobility. These releases share valuable insights into families, education and work in the context of broader trends that have been monitored and reported on by the Vanier Institute.

This release sheds new light on some key social and economic indicators and information about family experiences in Canada including:


– Canada is home to a growing share of working seniors (many of whom have financial relationships with younger generations), which is changing our understandings of “retirement.”

  • In 2016, an estimated 13.7% of seniors in Canada participated in the paid labour market, more than double the rate in 2000 (6%); among seniors, rates were highest among the 65–69 age group (26%).
  • More than one-third (36%) of surveyed Canadians said ongoing employment earnings are a part of their financial retirement plan.
  • Seniors in Canada reported an average debt of approximately $16,000 in Q2 2017; while this is up by 4.3% from Q2 2016, their delinquency rate fell by 7.3%, suggesting that they are managing their payments. 


– Students manage unique constellations of financial obligations and resources, which families facilitate and support in creative and evolving ways. 

  • 6 in 10 surveyed graduating university students in Canada said that parents, family or spouses helped fund their education, while current (49%) or summer (44%) employment and government loans or bursaries (41%) were also cited as funding sources.
  • One-third of parents with children under age 25 said they took on debt as a result of financing their children’s education, 36% of whom said they would need to delay their own retirement as a result.


– While commuting is a common experience for employed Canadians, there has been an increase in the number of workers who travel long distances (sometimes across borders), which can have an impact on family life. 

  • In 2011, 8% of Canadians reported that they travel an hour or more to their workplace, and 12% said they commute to a location that varies from day to day.
  • Many family members who work far from home (such as many of those employed in the oil sands industry of northern Alberta) rely on “networks of care” to manage family responsibilities, which are facilitated by other family members, friends, neighbours and the use of communications technology (e.g. Skype).


– Many families in Canada, such as military families, are highly mobile – and this mobility can have an impact on family life, work and access to community services. 

  • More than 1 in 5 Canadians (22%) say they’ve moved for work-related reasons.
  • 6 in 10 surveyed North American companies say they’ve had employees decline relocations because of “family issues/ties.”
  • More than one-quarter (27%) of surveyed Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) spouses report that they’ve relocated at least four times due to military postings.
  • Nearly 3 in 10 (29%) surveyed CAF spouses say they found it “extremely difficult” to re-establish their seniority at work after moving to a new location.


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