WorkplaceNow Best Practices

WorkplaceNow provides estimates of the number of workers and days worked at employment locations. Some areas show higher workplace estimates in 2023 compared to 2019. This is due, in part, to shifts in commuting patterns, population growth, and decreased unemployment rates. It is also possible that, as “big data” shifts constantly in real-time, some of this change compared to pre-pandemic is due to the changing size of cell tower coverage areas as the telecoms roll out their coverage of 5G and make other enhancements to their services.

When comparing to pre-pandemic periods, please avoid using the data for a single (or very few) dissemination areas to smooth out shifts caused by cell tower coverage changes. As with all modelled data, best practices include using enough observations for the results to be statistically valid.

Use particular caution in Montréal, Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, and Fredericton. Some areas within these cities can be particularly impacted by changing commuting patterns and changes in cell tower coverage areas. If possible, use a larger study area when conducting analysis in these cities. Do not hesitate to call our support desk if the results for these areas raise questions.

Our team of “big data” scientists continues to work on ways to harness these very useful yet volatile data sources. Please be assured that we deem the data released to be of high quality and fit for purpose.

Product Best Practices 

  • WorkplaceNow estimates are more reliable when using larger geographies. It is generally recommended that an area covering at least 1 square kilometre be used.
  • Avoid using single DAs or building footprints if a small area is required.

Impact to Research 

  • Please be cautious when conducting analysis on areas within Montreal, Kitchener-Cambridge, Waterloo, and Fredericton.
  • When using smaller geographies, you may see higher-than-expected counts of workers in 2023 when compared to 2019.