What is the PCCF?
The postal code conversion file (PCCF) is a file that allows for the matching of six-digit postal codes to standard census geographies. The resulting small-area geographies have a variety of uses, including aggregating data to commonly used administrative boundaries, and understanding neighbourhood-level socio-economic status. Please note that the PCCF does not provide postal-code level socio-economic data, rather, it matches postal codes to the small area geographies at which Statistics Canada does disseminate data (such as dissemination area).
Matching postal codes to census geographies is a complex task. Postal codes are defined and maintained by Canada Post for the purpose of sorting and delivering mail, and are not by their nature geographic. They represent where residents receive their mail, not where they live. Postal codes do not respect the boundaries of census geographies and so may be linked to more than one standard geographic area.
What PCCF product do I need?
Postal Code Converstion File (PCCF): a flat file that provides linkages between postal codes and Statistics Canada standard geographic areas (including dissemination block and dissemination area). Some postal codes are only linked to post office locations, many serve multiple dissemination areas, and some are non-residential. Includes a single-link indicator which can be used to assign each postal code to a single geography.
PCCF+: a SAS control program that references files derived from the PCCF along with a postal code population-weight file. It asigns geographic identifiers using a population-weighted random allocation. It can handle 3, 4 and 5 digit postal codes, and provides residential and institutional coding separately. It also contains extra variables such as neighbourhood income quintiles, immigrant terciles, and health region geographies.
Postal Codes by Federal Ridings File (PCFRF): a flat file that provides linkages between postal codes and Canada's federal electoral districts.
For more information about the PCCF products, see this helpful presentation by the Health Analysis Division at Statistics Canada. The same division has also produced a guide to choosing whether to use the PCCF SLI or the PCCF+.
Accessing the PCCF
To download the data, you must first agree to a license agreement by signing in with your UTORid.