A pilot project that analyzed wastewater in five major urban centres suggests Canadians' drug use varies from city to city.

For example, the analysis by Statistics Canada showed cannabis levels are much higher in Montreal and Halifax than in Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton.

But the findings reported today showed methamphetamine levels were significantly higher in the latter two cities.

To get results, the agency collected wastewater samples from treatment plants in each of the five major cities between March 2018 and February 2019 and tested them for traces of cannabis and a dozen other drugs.

Statistics Canada said the combined test areas serve 8.4 million people, or about a fifth of the Canadian population.

The agency said the pilot project was conducted to determine whether wastewater samples could be used to anonymously and efficiently measure the use of specific drugs and the size of the market.