A designated place (DPL) is a type of community or populated area identified by Statistics Canada for statistical purposes. DPLs are delineated for each decennial census as the statistical counterparts of incorporated places such as cities, towns and villages.
DPLs are communities that lack separate municipal government, but which otherwise physically resemble incorporated places. DPLs are delineated at the request of a federal or provincial government to provide data for settled concentrations of population that are identifiable by name but are not legally incorporated under the laws of the province in which they are located. The boundaries of a DPL have no legal status, and not all unincorporated communities are necessarily granted DPL status.
Some designated places may have a quasi-governmental status, such as a local services board in Ontario or an organized hamlet in Saskatchewan. Others may be formerly unincorporated settlements or formerly independent municipalities which have been merged into larger governments, and have retained DPL status in order to ensure statistical continuity with past censuses.
DPLs are similar to the function of census-designated places in the United States, but are defined differently. One significant difference is that Statistics Canada applies the designation to much smaller communities than does the United States Census Bureau.
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