The LAC has just released a press release this afternoon -
"Ottawa, August 30, 2011— The 1871 census marked the first regularly scheduled collection of national statistics, and Library and Archives Canada is now pleased to make its results available online. Researchers can access digitized images of original census returns featuring the name, age, country or province of birth, nationality, religion, and occupation of Canada's residents at the time.
The information covers the four provinces that were part of the Dominion of Canada in 1871: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.
Access to the digitized images of the 1871 census is available online in two different ways:
Through a database that is searchable by nominal information such as Name, Given Name (s) and Age, and/or geographical information such as Province, District Name, District Number, and Sub-district Number.
The database is available at: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/census-1871/index-e.html
Through the "microform digitization” research tool, you can browse the microfilm reels page by page.
The tool is available at: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/microform-digitization/006003-110.02-e.php?&q2=26&interval=30&sk=0&&PHPSESSID=f0v3thhcgqvau3vslaruumn2a7
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.