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Occupation, Canadian Families Project codes

Codes and Frequencies

Can't find the category you are looking for? Try the Detailed codes


OCCCA classifies a person's occupation into a 3 digit coding scheme designed by the Canadian Families Project. However, most users should use the integrated variable OCCHISCO.

The codes are a modification of the 1989 Canadian Classification and Dictionary of Occupations, which were in turn a modification of ISCO categories.

Since enumerators, following their instructions, often stated both the type of work (labourer, clerk, merchant) as well as the "branch" or sector in which the work was done, a decision had to be made about whether to give priority in coding to the type of work or to the sector. Most coding schemes give priority, of necessity, to the type of work - thus all clerks will appear in the same general category, all agents in another category, managers in another category, whatever sector of the economy they may be in. The present coding scheme follows this precedent for most occupations: thus with agents, book-keepers, cashiers, checkers, clerks, dealers, and merchants priority is given to the job or function rather than the sector. The richness of the occupation information, however, allows some priority to be given to sector. Thus foremen, inspectors, labourers (other than general or unspecified), "makers," managers, and manufacturers are grouped with their industry or sector, where it is given by the enumerator.

Enumerators often gave more than one occupation, despite the instruction that "the chief or principal calling is the only one to be recorded." Thus farmers (711) are distinguished from farmers who were given some other occupation as well as farming
(712); and farm employees are a separate category (714).

The codes are intended to allow for ease of aggregation into very broad categories, using
the first 2 digits:
11 Managerial, administrative, financial management, government and related
21 Scientists, architects, and related professionals
23 Law and social institutions
24 Students
25 Occupations in religion
27 Teaching professions
31 Occupations in medicine and health
33 Occupations in the arts and writing
41 Clerical and bookkeeping occupations
51 Commerce and sales occupations
61 Service occupations
71 Agricultural occupations
73 Occupations in fishing, hunting and trapping
75 Occupations in logging and forestry
77 Occupations in mining and oil and gas production
81 through 88 Occupations in primary and secondary processing, manufacture and construction (construction and related fall between 871 and 881)
91/93 Transportation
95 Others (printing and related is 951; stationary engineers and unspecified firemen
953; telegraph and telephone 955)
99 General labour and unclassifiable (with general labour at 991)


This variable is only available for the 1901 Canadian census. We recommend that users interested in comparing occupations across multiple years use the variable OCCHISCO.


  • Canada 1901: All persons


  • Canada: 1901