Dictionary, Census of Population, 2016
Road network file (RNF)

Release date: November 16, 2016


The road network file (RNF) contains streets, street names, types, directions and address ranges. Address ranges are dwelling-based.

Reported in

2016, 2011, 2006, 2001 (road network files – cover the entire country)

1996 (street network files – cover large urban centres only)

1991, 1986, 1981, 1976, 1971 (area master files – cover large urban centres only)


The road network file (RNF) is based on the road network from the Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). Statistics Canada maintains the RNF to support the census and other activities. The relative position of road network features is important for census enumeration and reference purposes; therefore, topological accuracy takes precedence over absolute positional accuracy. The RNF does not contain street information required for route optimization. For example, data on one-way streets, dead-ends and other street obstacles are not included in the RNF. Consequently, this file is not recommended for engineering applications, emergency dispatching services, surveying or legal applications.

The road network file contains street arcs with either 'true' address ranges, imputed address ranges, or no address range. Imputed address ranges are not meant to replace true address ranges for any purpose other than address geocoding. Thus, if the files are to be used for computer-aided dispatch or similar purposes (that require an address to be matched to a block or street), it may be necessary to supplement the file with local knowledge by updating existing true addresses and replacing imputed addresses.

The limitations of the road network file should be recognized for uses other than the mapping, analysis and retrieval of census data.

Refer to the related definitions of cartographic boundary files (CBFs); digital boundary files (DBFs); Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) and to the Road Network File Reference Guide (Catalogue no. 92-500-G).

Changes prior to the current census

Not applicable

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