Canadian Census Records
From 1851 to 1901, a census occurred every 10 years in Canada. Prior to 1871, census enumerations were conducted in different areas in various years. Many of those early records have not survived, including portions of the 1851 census. Beginning in 1906, a census of population and agriculture was taken in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and every 10 years thereafter, in addition to the 1911, 1921 and subsequent census. Legislation restricts the availability of census records. The most recently released census is the 1926 Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta census.
The table below was compiled by John D. Reid of Canada’s Anglo-Celtic Connections and reproduced with permission. It was published on January 14, 2020. The table will assist the researcher in locating census records for the period 1851 to 1926 on both free and subscription websites. Researchers may wish to review another census source if a record cannot be located on a given source, remembering that there are many errors in transcriptions and indexing and different results may be found in different sources.
Mr. Reid comments about his table:
The table below is a year by year compilation of the Canadian census records available for five major organization websites. It shows the number of records available and whether the information is linked to an image of the original. More records is not necessarily more complete. There may be duplicates; some organizations may be counting corrections submitted as additional entries.
Overall Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has coverage of all censuses, and some earlier ones not listed, with images of the original available. And it’s free.
Ancestry($) and MyHeritage($) both have complete coverage with image access, except for the 1926 census of the Prairie Provinces. … There are gaps in both FamilySearch and Findmypast($) coverage.
Not included in the table, but worth considering is automatedgenealogy.com which has 5,665,421 lines transcribed for the 1901 census, 802,230 for 1906 and 7,584,277 for 1911 with links to the images at LAC.