Appendix A: Glossary of terms

Census family: A married couple and the children, if any, of either or both spouses; a couple living common-law and the children, if any, of either or both partners; or, a lone parent of any marital status with at least one child living in the same dwelling and the child or children. All members of a particular census family live in the same dwelling. A couple may be of opposite or same sex. Children may be children by birth, marriage or adoption regardless of their age or marital status as long as they live in the dwelling and do not have their own spouse or child living in the dwelling. Grandchildren living with their grandparent(s) but with no parents present also constitute a census family.[48]

Collective dwelling: A dwelling of a commercial, institutional or communal nature. It may be identified by a sign on the premises or by an enumerator speaking with the person in charge, a resident, a neighbour, etc. Included are lodging or rooming houses, hotels, motels, tourist homes, nursing homes, residences for senior citizens, hospitals, staff residences, communal quarters (military bases), work camps, jails, group homes for people with psychiatric or developmental disabilities, and so on. Collective dwellings may be occupied by usual residents or solely by foreign residents and/or by temporarily present persons.[49]

Private dwelling: A separate set of living quarters in which a person or a group of persons live permanently.[50]

Core housing need: The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) uses the concept of “core housing need” which includes:

  • Adequacy: The physical condition of the dwelling (e.g. whether housing is in need of major repairs)
  • Suitability: whether the housing is of a suitable size and has enough bedrooms for the size and make-up of the household
  • Affordability: whether it costs less than 30% of before-tax household income.

The CMHC states, “A household is said to be in core housing need if its housing fails to meet one of these standards and if it is unable to pay the median rent for alternative local housing meeting all standards without spending 30% or more of its before-tax income.”[51]  

Economic family: A group of two or more persons who live in the same dwelling and are related to each other by blood, marriage, common-law, adoption or a foster relationship.[52]

Household: A person or a group of persons (other than foreign residents) who occupy the same private dwelling and do not have a usual place of residence elsewhere in Canada. Household members who are temporarily absent on the day of the survey (e.g. temporarily residing elsewhere) are considered as part of their usual household. Every person is a member of one and only one household.[53]

Labour force: The number of employed people plus the number of unemployed people.[54]

Employed: People who, during the reference week of 2011:

(a) Did any work at all at a job or business, that is, paid work in the context of an employer-employee relationship, or self-employment. It also includes people who did unpaid family work, which is defined as unpaid work contributing directly to the operation of a farm, business or professional practice owned and operated by a related member of the same household;

(b) Had a job but were not at work due to factors such as their own illness or disability, personal or family responsibilities, vacation or a labour dispute. This category excludes people not at work because they were on layoff or between casual jobs, and those who did not then have a job (even if they had a job to start at a future date).[55]

Unemployed: People who, during the reference week in 2011, were without paid work or without self-employment work and were available for work and either:

(a) Had actively looked for paid work in the past four weeks; or

(b) Were on temporary layoff and expected to return to their job; or

(c) Had definite arrangements to start a new job in four weeks or less.[56]

Not in the labour force: The number of people who were neither employed nor unemployed. This includes people who were unwilling or unable to offer or supply labour services under conditions existing in their labour markets (including people who were full-time students currently attending school).[57]

Single (never legally married): A person who has never married or a person whose marriage has been annulled and who has not remarried. People living common-law are not included in this category.[58]

Common-law: A person who is living with another person as a couple but who is not legally married to that person.[59]

Married (and not separated): A person who is married and has neither separated nor divorced, and whose spouse is living. Persons living common-law are not included in this category.[60]

Separated: A person who is married but who is no longer living with his/her spouse (for any reason other than illness, work or school) and who has not obtained a divorce.[61]

Divorced: A person who has obtained a legal divorce and who has not remarried.[62]

Widowed: A person who has lost his/her spouse through death and who has not remarried.[63]

Low income cut-offs after tax (LICO-AT): LICOs are based on family expenditure data. Below the LICO, families will spend a larger share of income for food, shelter and clothing than the average family. LICOs change over time depending on the size of the community and the family.

Personal employment income: Total income from wages and salaries (before deductions), net income from unincorporated non-farm business and/or professional practice and net farm self-employment income for someone over the age of 15 during 2010.

Total income: Total income from all sources, including employment income, income from government programs, pension income, investment income and any other money income for people over age 15 during 2010.[64]

Government transfer payments (government income): All cash benefits received from federal, provincial, territorial or municipal governments during 2010, including the Old Age Security pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement, Allowance for the Survivor, benefits from Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan, benefits from Employment Insurance, child benefits and other income from government sources.[65]

Household Income: Income for persons aged 15 and over living in the household, from all sources.

Discrimination: Statistics Canada and the Ontario Human Rights Code do not define discrimination. Instead, its understanding has evolved from human rights tribunal and court decisions. It can be characterized as negative treatment or impact, intentional or not, based on a Code ground [age, ancestry, colour, race, citizenship, ethnic origin, place of origin, creed, disability, family status, marital status, gender identity, gender expression, receipt of public assistance (in housing only), record of offences (in employment only), sex, sexual orientation] in a protected social area: housing, contracts, employment, goods, services and facilities and membership in unions, trade or professional associations.

Discrimination includes any distinction, including any exclusion, restriction or preference based on a Code ground that impairs the recognition of human rights and fundamental freedoms.[66] For a more detailed description, see section 9 of the OHRC’s Policy on preventing discrimination based on mental health disabilities and addictions, at www.ohrc.on.ca.

Indigenous peoples: The OHRC uses the term “Indigenous peoples,” which is based on the Statistics Canada term “Aboriginal identity.” “Aboriginal identity” refers to whether the person reported being an Aboriginal person, that is, First Nations (North American Indian), Métis or Inuk (Inuit) and/or being a Registered or Treaty Indian (registered under the Indian Act of Canada) and/or being a member of a First Nation or Indian band.[67]

Racialized people: In this report, this term refers to the Statistics Canada term “visible minority.” The federal Employment Equity Act defines visible minorities as “persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.” Categories in the visible minority variable include South Asian, Chinese, Black, Filipino, Latin American, Arab, Southeast Asian, West Asian, Korean, Japanese, Visible minority, n.i.e. (“not included elsewhere”) and multiple visible minorities.[68]  

However, race is socially constructed. The Report of the Commission on Systemic Racism in the Ontario Criminal Justice System defined “racialization” as “the process by which societies construct races as real, different and unequal in ways that matter to economic, political and social life.”[69]

Non-racialized people: In this report, non-racialized people are people who do not identify as Indigenous peoples (see the definition above), or as racialized people (“visible minorities” – see the definition above).


[48] Adapted from Statistics Canada, no date. Census Family. Last modified August 13, 2013. Online: Statistics Canada www.statcan.gc.ca/concepts/definitions/c-r-fam-eng.htm (retrieved May 5, 2014).

[49] Adapted from Statistics Canada, Census Dictionary: Census Year 2011 (2012) Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 98-301-X2011001. Online: Statistics Canada www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/ref/dict/98-301-X2011001-eng.pdf (retrieved April 22, 2015) at 55-57.

[50] Statistics Canada, National Household Survey Dictionary, 2011 (2013) Statistics Catalogue no. 99-000-X2011001. Online: Statistics Canada www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/ref/dict/99-000-x2011001-eng.pdf (retrieved April 22, 2015) at 174.

[51] Jacqueline Luffman, supra note 22 at 16.

[52] Statistics Canada, National Household Survey Dictionary, 2011, supra note 50 at 174.

[53] Adapted from Statistics Canada, National Household Survey Dictionary, 2011, supra note 50 at 179.

[54] Adapted from Statistics Canada, National Household Survey Dictionary, 2011, supra note 50 at 71.

[55] Adapted from Statistics Canada, National Household Survey Dictionary, 2011, supra note 50 at 55.

[56] Adapted from Statistics Canada, National Household Survey Dictionary, 2011, supra note 50 at 88.

[57] Statistics Canada, no date. Labour Force. Last updated December 1, 2008. Online: Statistics Canada www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/81-004-x/def/4153361-eng.htm  (retrieved April 22, 2015).

[58] Statistics Canada, National Household Survey Dictionary, 2011, supra note 50 at 180.

[59] Ibid.

[60] Ibid.

[61] Ibid.

[62] Ibid.

[63] Ibid.

[64] Adapted from Statistics Canada, National Household Survey Dictionary, 2011, supra note 50 at 153.

[65] Adapted from Statistics Canada, National Household Survey Dictionary, 2011, supra note 50 at 129-130.

[66] The Supreme Court of Canada has described discrimination in the context of equality claims under s. 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as a distinction based on a prohibited ground that has the “effect of imposing burdens, obligations, or disadvantages on such individual or group not imposed upon others, or which withholds or limits access to opportunities, benefits, and advantages available to other members of society;” Andrews v. Law Society of British Columbia, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 143 at 174.

[67] Statistics Canada, no date. Aboriginal Peoples Reference Guide, National Household Survey, 2011, Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 99-011-XWE2011006. Last updated May 28, 2014. Online: Statistics Canada www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/ref/guides/99-011-x/99-011-x2011006-eng.cfm (retrieved April 22, 2015).

[68] Adapted from Statistics Canada, Visible Minority and Population Group Reference Guide: National Household Survey, 2011 (2013) Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 99-010-X2011009. Online: Statistics Canada www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/ref/guides/99-010-x/99-010-x2011009-eng.pdf (retrieved April 22, 2015) at 4. 

[69] Commission on Systemic Racism in the Ontario Criminal Justice System, supra note 19.