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Work and Commuting in Census Metropolitan Areas, 1996 to 2001


  • Heisz, Andrew
  • Larochelle-Cote, Sebastien


The report examined the location of jobs in 27 census metropolitan areas, paying particular attention to developments in Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa-Hull, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. It also analysed the modes commuters used to travel to work, emphasising public transit and car (as driver or passenger) commute modes. While Canadian metropolitan areas continue to be characterized by a strong concentration of jobs in the downtown core, employment grew faster in the suburbs of Canada's largest metropolitan areas than in the city centres between 1996 and 2001. One characteristic of increasing employment in suburban locations is the shifting of manufacturing activities from the core of the city to the suburbs. Retail trade also shifted away from the central core towards more suburban locations. Relatively few workers employed outside the city centre commuted on public transit, rather, most drove or were a passenger in a car. This tendency to commute by car increased the farther the job was located from the city centre. Furthermore commute patterns have become more complex, with growth in suburb-to-suburb commutes outpacing traditional commute paths within the city centre, and between the city centre and suburbs. Commuters travelling from suburb to suburb were also much more likely to drive than take public transit. Despite the decentralization of jobs occurring in the metropolitan areas, public transit did not lose its share of commuters between 1996 and 2001. While more car traffic headed to jobs in the suburbs, a larger share of commuters heading for the city centre took public transit. This kept the total share of commuters who took public transit stable between 1996 and 2001. The report also found that jobs in the downtown core were higher skilled and higher paid, and that earnings increased faster for jobs in the city centre between 1996 and 2001. The report uses the 1996 and 2001 censuses of Canada.

Suggested Citation

  • Heisz, Andrew & Larochelle-Cote, Sebastien, 2005. "Work and Commuting in Census Metropolitan Areas, 1996 to 2001," Trends and Conditions in Census Metropolitan Areas 2005007e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  • Handle: RePEc:stc:stcp7e:2005007e

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Heisz, Andrew & McLeod, Logan, 2004. "Low-income in Census Metropolitan Areas, 1980-2000," Trends and Conditions in Census Metropolitan Areas 2004001e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    2. Laurent Gobillon & Harris Selod & Yves Zenou, 2002. "Spatial Mismatch : From the Hypothesis of the Theories," Working Papers 2002-57, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    3. Baldwin, John R. & Brown, W. Mark & Vinodrai, Tara, 2001. "Dynamics of the Canadian Manufacturing Sector in Metropolitan and Rural Regions," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2001169e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
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    Commuting to work; Labour;

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