Who Faces Extreme Commute Times in Canada?

Maps & Data 22 April 2022
by Jeff Allen and Matt Palm

There is conventional wisdom, as well as extensive academic research, that spending a long time commuting to work is undesirable. Unfortunately, some communities are far more likely to experience longer commuting times than others. High housing costs and discrimination in housing and employment are likely factors contributing to inequities in commute times.

In 2016, 9.7% of commuters in Canada experienced extreme commutes, defined by having a one-way commute greater than or equal to 60 minutes.

However, in our analysis of the 2016 census data, we find that there are stark differences in extreme commuting among different population groups across the country:

Percent extreme commuting by ethnicity/race*

Percent extreme commuting by immigration history

Percent extreme commuting by income status

Details

*The terminology on ethnicity used in this figure reflects Statistics Canada’s own Census categories, with changes made to better align the data with Ontario’s standards, though we acknowledge we were unable to align exactly to these categorizations due to limitations with our data.

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