Application process and guidelines

Application process and guidelines are based on the affiliation of the Principal Investigator and the type of research being conducted at a Research Data Centre.

Based on the descriptions of the type of research project below, researchers may draft a proposal as part of their Research Data Centres (RDCs) Application.

Application process for academic researchers
Type of research - academic Description
Faculty research (non-student) A research project conducted by a faculty member or staff of a Canadian post-secondary institution. The research is not funded by a federal, provincial or territorial government department.
Masters or doctoral research (students) A research project conducted by a student of a Canadian post-secondary institution. The project forms an integral part of thesis or dissertation work that is not funded by a federal, provincial or territorial government department.
Program of research (academic) A series of academic projects linked by a common theme; often funded by a large research grant for a program of research
Academic course A course designed to teach graduate level students methodology related to complex survey data analysis.
Unaffiliated academic research These steps are designed for academic projects conducted by a researcher who works for an academic institution that is not a member of the Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN).
Application process for government funded researchers
Type of research - government funded Description
Government funded research - federal A project based on statistical work involving employees of a federal government agency for the purposes of policy development research. Academic consultants hired on contract are eligible to apply under this mode of access. Researchers working for a non-governmental organization, on a project for which it has received a grant or contribution from the federal government, are not considered to be federally funded.
Government funded research - provincial / territorial A project based on statistical work involving employees of a provincial or territorial government agency for the purposes of policy development research. Academic consultants hired on contract are eligible to apply under this mode of access. Researchers working for a non-governmental organization, on a project for which it has received a grant or contribution from the provincial/territorial government, are not considered to be provincially/territorially funded.
Program of research (government funded) A series of government policy based projects linked by a common theme; often funded by a large research grant for a program of research or related to a Request for Proposal (RFP).

The policies and procedures governing the RDC program

The RDCs provide a rich source of Statistics Canada microdata for researchers, under secure conditions that govern all aspects of work from data access to publication of analytical output.

Researchers whose projects are approved will be subject to a security check before being sworn in under the Statistics Act as 'deemed employees.' Deemed employees are subject to all the conditions and penalties of regular Statistics Canada employees, including fines and/or imprisonment for breach of confidentiality. In addition, all results to be physically removed from secure areas will be carefully screened for confidential data, whether as direct listings or as possible residual disclosures.

For more information on these and other Research Data Centre policies, please contact us at MAD-HOOU@statcan.gc.ca to receive the following documents:

  • Guide for researchers under agreement with Statistics Canada (PDF). This guide describes the legal obligations, procedures and policies that apply to RDC researchers.
  • Orientation session for Research Data Centre Users (PPT). This powerpoint presentation summarizes key elements of the guide for researchers.

RDC Project Fees

Fees apply to certain research projects conducted at an RDC. The following rules apply:

  1. No fees are due for research projects funded by SSHRC or CIHR grants held directly by the principal investigator. The costs of this research are covered by block grants to the RDC from SSHRC and CIHR.
  2. No fees are due for unfunded research projects conducted by regularly appointed faculty at a Canadian university which is part of the Research Data Centres (RDC) network or by students enrolled at these institutions, in the regular course of their duties or studies. The costs of this research are covered by funds provided to the RDC by these institutions.
  3. Excluded from the first two categories is research funded by a consulting fee or any other form of project for which the researcher is paid directly, beyond her or his university salary or university research assistantship.
  4. Fees are due for all other research projects. This includes:
    • projects conducted for centres, agencies and institutes whose primary funding is from sources other than our partner universities, and/or who are undertaking contract research,
    • research conducted for the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and for hospitals and NGOs,
    • research conducted for private corporations and entities.
  5. Research funded by the Department of Employment and Social Development (ESDC) is covered by an agreement between ESDC and the RDC network, and the fee payable and terms of payment will be specified in your contract.

Current fees for accessing an RDC:

Fees to access an RDC have a tiered structure. An initial fee payable at the start of the project provides 22 days of access, which can be spread out over a longer period of time (i.e., the days need not be used consecutively). Subsequent days of RDC access are available in 11 day blocks. Again the 11 days of access can be spread out over a longer period of time.  Time of usage is tracked in accordance with the table below.

The fees cover local access costs, as well as the support of Statistics Canada and the RDC network. The actual amount of the fees will depend in part on the data sets requested. Please contact us for further details.

Tracking Usage

1.3 Tracking Usage
Scenario Count
1 researcher, 1 day 1 day of use
1 researcher, ½ day ½ day of use
2 researchers, 1 day 2 days of use
2 researchers, ½ day 1 day of use
3 researchers, ½ day 1.5 days of use
2 researchers, one workstation, 1 day 1 day of use
2 researchers, one workstation, ½ day ½ day of use
1 researcher, 2 workstations, 1 day Track use separately and CRDCN can decide
1 researcher, 1 workstation, overnight use 1 day
1 researcher, 1 workstation, job running for several days Count number of days the workstation is occupied.
2 researchers, no workstation, use of conference room for one day 0 days
1 researcher, no workstation, use of RDC Analyst time 0 days

Record Linkage with RDC Data

Most of Statistics Canada’s micro-data master files contain unique record IDs associated with respondents such as persons, families or households. To protect the confidentiality of survey respondents, RDC researchers are not permitted to attempt any record linkage either between data files (e.g. Census and CCHS) or among cycles of a survey (such as CCHS 2009 and CCHS 2010).

When requesting access to multiple data files in an RDC proposal, researchers should avoid terms such as ‘linking’ or ‘matching’ and instead refer to ‘complementary’ or ‘parallel’ analysis when describing the possible output from different data files or surveys.

On occasion, Statistics Canada will consider RDC proposals that require formal record linkage. These proposals require separate approval from senior management. Please contact your local RDC for more information on record linkage.