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New Geos: Canada - Metro Areas
Monday, 31 Oct 2011 11:48 ET
By Megan Perkinson
October 2011 -- We use the 33 census metropolitan areas officially defined by Statistics Canada.

For purposes of the Moody's Analytics estimated and forecast data products, we have adopted the 33 census metropolitan areas officially defined by Statistics Canada.


A Canadian Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) is an aggregate of municipalities (Census Subdivisions).  The components must have a combined population of at least 100,000, including an "urban core" with a population of at least 50,000.  To be included, each contiguous municipality must meet one of three requirements: Either falling into the urban core partly or completely, having at least 50% of its employed commuters traveling to the urban core for work, or having at least 25% of employed urban core residents employed in the municipality.  The CMA designation is permanent, regardless of any decline in population.

Hence, Canada's definition of metropolitan areas is similar to that of the U.S. (CBSAs as defined by the OMB).

Table 1 of 2. Metropolitan Areas in Canada.  There are 33 CMAs across nine provinces. The Ottawa-Gatineau metro area crosses a provincial border and is listed twice, under both Ontario and Québec.

Geo Code Description Geo Type
ICAN_AB Alberta (2) Province
ICAN_MCAL Calgary MA metro area
ICAN_MEDM Edmonton MA metro area
ICAN_BC British Columbia (4) Province
ICAN_MABT Abbotsford MA metro area
ICAN_MKEL Kelowna MA metro area
ICAN_MVAN Vancouver MA metro area
ICAN_MVIC Victoria MA metro area
ICAN_MB Manitoba (1) Province
ICAN_MWNP Winnipeg MA metro area
ICAN_NB New Brunswick (2) Province
ICAN_MMON Moncton MA metro area
ICAN_MSTJ Saint John MA metro area
ICAN_NL Newfoundland and Labrador (1) Province
ICAN_MSJO St. John's MA metro area
ICAN_NS Nova Scotia (1) Province
ICAN_MHFX Halifax MA metro area
ICAN_ON Ontario (14.5) Province
ICAN_MBAR Barrie MA metro area
ICAN_MBRN Brantford MA metro area
ICAN_MGSB Greater Sudbury MA metro area
ICAN_MGUE Guelph MA metro area
ICAN_MHAM Hamilton MA metro area
ICAN_MKNG Kingston MA metro area
ICAN_MKIT Kitchener MA metro area
ICAN_MLDN London MA metro area
ICAN_MOHW Oshawa MA metro area
ICAN_MOHL Ottawa-Gatineau (*) MA metro area
ICAN_MPET Peterborough MA metro area
ICAN_MSTC St. Catharines-Niagara MA metro area
ICAN_MTHB Thunder Bay MA metro area
ICAN_MTRN Toronto MA metro area
ICAN_MWND Windsor MA metro area
ICAN_QC Québec (5.5) Province
ICAN_MMNT Montréal MA metro area
ICAN_MOHL Ottawa-Gatineau (*) MA metro area
ICAN_MQUC Québec MA metro area
ICAN_MCJQ Saguenay MA metro area
ICAN_MSHE Sherbrooke MA metro area
ICAN_MTRV Trois-Rivières MA metro area
ICAN_SK Saskatchewan (2) Province
ICAN_MRGA Regina MA metro area
ICAN_MSAS Saskatoon MA metro area

Table 2 of 2. Sample listing of metropolitan area and constituent municipalities. Canada defines each of its metropolitan areas as an aggregate of municipalities, otherwise known as Census Subdivisions.  Canada has a national geo code of ICAN, all codes for its geographic subdivisions use ICAN as a prefix, and all Moody’s Analytics metro area codes feature the letter “M.” Each of the 33 areas is identified as ICAN(underscore)M(three letters), and may be retrieved in bulk with the basket geo wild card ICAN_M^^^.

At this time, Data Buffet does not have geography codes or data for individual Census Subdivisions; Statistics Canada reports at a high frequency only for the metropolitan areas.  Statistics Canada provides a full listing of components (see reference above).  For example:

Geo Code Description Geo Type
ICAN_MABT Abbotsford MA Metro Area
  Abbotsford Municipality
  Mission Municipality
  Fraser Valley Municipality
  Upper Sumas Municipality
  Matsqui Main Municipality