As Newfoundland did not become a province of Canada until 1949, it was not included in the Canadian census returns of 1851 to 1911. Only a few local census returns have survived for some areas of the province. See Finding Aid 300: Other census and related documents (1640-1945).
Labrador was enumerated in the Census of Canada, 1871 (Quebec, Labrador District) and in the Census of Canada, 1911 (Northwest Territories, Labrador Sub-district).
A census was taken in Newfoundland in 1921, 1935 and 1945. Those records are in the custody of the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Microfilm copies of the 1921, 1935 and 1945 provincial census records are also available at Library and Archives Canada. Please check the lists of places and microfilm reel numbers (A to F), (G to K), (L to R) and (S to Z).
Volunteers are indexing the returns for 1921, 1935 and 1945. Completed indexes are searchable online on the Newfoundland Grand Banks Genealogy Site. That Web site also includes indexes to the few early census records that include names.
The microfilm reels are now digitized and can be viewed free on FamilySearch. You can search by name or you can browse the records by place. Scroll down that page and click on ‘Filter by collection: Show All’. Select the year, then click on ‘View Images in this Collection: Browse through images’.
These records are also indexed and digitized on www.ancestry.ca (subscription required; free at many public libraries).