Issue 17-159: Census 2016 - Highlights from the Journey to Work Release

November 30, 2017

Statistics Canada released the last set of Census results on November 29, 2017. This release focuses on key statistics about workplace mobility for the 2016 Census of Population.

Commuting in B.C.

Since 2006, the number of commuters rose by 10.7% to 2.1 million. In 2016, about three quarters of commuters used a car either as a driver (+70.5%) or a passenger (5.5%), compared to 79.3% in 2006. Sustainable transportation modes (walking, cycling and public transit, excluding carpooling) have become more popular, going up from 19.2% in 2006 to 22.4% in 2016. Public transit is the sustainable method that saw the largest increase in the proportion of commuters since 2006, from 10.3% to reach 13.1% in 2016. The share of commuters who walk or use other methods of transport remained relatively steady since 2006. The share of commuters who bike to work went up slightly from 2.0% in 2006 to 2.5% in 2016.

Victoria had the highest proportion of commuters walking or cycling to work (active transportation) among Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) at 16.9%. Vancouver (+9.0%) also had an above average (+6.9%) share of active commuters.

In Victoria, 16.9% of commuters used active transportation to get to work, the highest proportion of all CMAs. Kingston, Halifax, Vancouver, Ottawa–Gatineau and Peterborough were also among the CMAs with a proportion of active transportation higher than the national average.

In 2016, workers commuted an average of 25.9 minutes travelling to their workplace. Almost half of employees who commute to work leave between 7:00 am and 8:59 am. Another 16.4% of commuters leave between 6:00 am and 6:59am.

Place of work in B.C.

The proportion of employed people with a usual place of work went down slightly from 77.2% in 2006 to 76.6% in 2016.

The proportion of employed people working from home also declined slightly from 9.0% in 2006 to 8.5%. Despite the decrease, B.C. is home to the three CMAs with the highest shares of people working from home: Kelowna (+9.3%), Victoria (+8.4%) and Vancouver (+8.2%).

Employees with no fixed workplace address (such as construction workers and drivers) was the only category with an increase in share since 2006, going from 13.1% to reach 14.1% in 2016.

Around 0.7% of British Columbians were employed outside of Canada in 2016, unchanged from 2006.

National Highlights

The number of commuters increased by 1.2 million between 2006 and 2016. Driving to work edged down very modestly from 80.0% to 79.5% over this period. Walking, biking and public transit were used by 19.3% of commuters in 2016, compared to 18.7% in 2006. The proportion of people commuting in public transit increased from 11.0% to 12.4%, offsetting a decline of 1.4 percentage points in the proportion of commuters who walk to work (+5.5%) in the same period.

Commuters spent an average of 26.2 minutes travelling to their workplace in 2016.

The proportion of employed people who commuted to a usual place of work declined from 83.9% in 1996 to 80.6% in 2016. The proportion of Canadians working at home also declined, from 8.2% in 1996 to 7.4% in 2016 mainly due to lower employment in farming occupations. Excluding farming occupations, the share of Canadians working at home was around 6.0% in both 1996 and 2016. The three CMAs with the highest shares of people working at home were in British Columbia., while the lowest shares of people working from home were in Ontario: Thunder Bay (+3.8%), Windsor (+4.1%) and Greater Sudbury (+4.2%).

The share of workers in Canada with no fixed workplace location grew by 3.9 percentage points from 1996 to 11.5%. Among provinces, Alberta (14.6%) has the highest proportion of workers with no fixed workplace location and Quebec (8.9%) the lowest. About 0.5% of employed people worked outside Canada.

Data Source: Statistics Canada, Census 2016.