The Linkable File Environment

The Linkable File Environment


The Linkable File Environment (LFE) is an environment in which Statistics Canada's business microdata are linked from different administrative and survey sources.

It provides a broad range of databases for users to analyze the characteristics of Canadian enterprises across many variables without imposing additional response burden on enterprises, additional collection burden on Statistics Canada's collection capacity, or additional cost burden on survey sponsors.

Through a linkage process, the LFE leverages the single-subject ability of existing surveys and administrative data to inform on business and economic issues. It positions these surveys and administrative data to support longitudinal and cross-sectional analysis and offers the opportunity to use additional variables to assess entrepreneurship, productivity and competitiveness. For more information on the record linkage process at Statistics Canada see Microdata Linkage.

How to use the LFE

The primary use of the LFE is to provide a series of data sources for longitudinal and cross-sectional analysis. The LFE can help you answer research questions and connect your data to a vast collection of business surveys and administrative data. The LFE can be used to create a visual evaluation and framework for departments to produce their own analysis.


The LFE team provides support to users and partners by working with them to define the variables based on their topic of interest. Once defined, the variables from the appropriate linkable files are extracted as datasets which can be used for research purposes, impact studies, or for the production of customized tables. These services are provided to users and partners on a cost recovery basis. For more information on these services, contact us by email at (


Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Analytical and research results and custom tables are carefully reviewed before release to ensure all confidentiality and disclosure rules are respected. Access to the LFE is restricted to authorized Statistics Canada employees who are either creating the LFE, constructing research datasets, or producing tables.

Examples of typical LFE uses:

  • Special linkages and data extractions (using deterministic or probabilistic approaches);
  • Production of customized micro-data for researchers;
  • Production of custom tabulations using all variables available in LFE;
  • Production of econometric analysis, including impact studies;
  • Production of interactive dashboards to facilitate the production of visual reports

Examples of products generated from the LFE

The LFE is the framework source for multiple statistical programs including:

Business Innovation and Growth Support program

The purpose of the Business Innovation and Growth Support (BIGS) statistical program is to contribute to the improvement of performance evaluation of innovation and growth-related programs delivered by federal departments and agencies.

Entrepreneurship Indicators Database program

The Entrepreneurship Indicators Database (EID) program provides data describing the dynamics of a subset of Canadian enterprises, such as the number of active enterprises with one or more employees; the number of births and deaths of active enterprises with one or more employees; the number of jobs associated with enterprise births and deaths; the survival of newly created enterprises; and the number of high-growth enterprises and gazelles.

Also, the entrepreneurship data provides government researchers and academics, who have strategic interest in promoting growth of enterprises, with integrated data to facilitate analysis and provides information that can be used to encourage and promote entrepreneurship.

Main LFE data sources

Figure 1 - LFE Data sources
Description - Figure 1 - All LFE data sources

Administrative data sources (LFE):

  • Business Register (BR) – 2000-2020 (SDDS 1105)
  • Longitudinal Employment Analysis Program (LEAP) – 2000-2017 (SDDS 8013)
  • General Index of Financial Information (GIFI-T1) Unincorporated Businesses – 2005-2019
  • General Index of Financial Information (GIFI-T2) Incorporated Businesses – 2000-2020
  • Statement of Remuneration Paid (T4 Supplemental File) – 2000-2019
  • Personal Master File of primary owner/manager of enterprise (PMF) – 2007-2014
  • T1 Enhanced Database of primary owner/manager of enterprise (TED) – 2012-2019
  • Payroll Deductions Account (PD7) – 2001-2020
  • Trade by Exporter Characteristics – 2010-2019 (SDDS 2201)
  • Trade by Importer Characteristics – 2018 (SDDS 2201)
  • Patents (Canadian Intellectual Property office) – 2001-2006
  • United States Patent Office (USPTO) Canadian Enterprises only – 2000-2012
  • Horizontal Innovation Review (HIR) – 2007-2016
  • Business Innovation and Growth Support (BIGS) – 2007-2019 (SDDS 5304)
  • Schedule 32 - Claim for Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Carried out in Canada (Form T661) – 2000-2018

Survey data sources (LFE):

  • Annual Survey of Research and Development in Canadian Industry (RDCI) – 2000-2018 (SDDS 4201)
  • Canadian Direct Investment Abroad (CDIA) – 2000-2013 (SDDS 1537)
  • Foreign Direct Investment in Canada (FDIC) – 2000-2013 (SDDS 1537)
  • Trade in Commercial Services (TICS) – 2000-2013 (SDDS 1536)
  • Survey of Innovation and Business Strategy (SIBS) – 2009, 2012, 2017 (SDDS 5171)
  • Surveys of Innovation (INNO) – 2003, 2005 (SDDS 4218)
  • Survey of Electronic Commerce Technology (SECT) – 2000-2007 (SDDS 4432)
  • Survey of Advanced Technology (SAT) – 2007, 2014 (SDDS 4223)
  • Survey of Commercialization of Innovation (COI) – 2007 (SDDS 5140)
  • Survey on Financing and Growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SFSME) – 2007, 2011, 2014, 2017 (SDDS 2941)
  • Survey of Intellectual Property Management (SIPM) – 2010 (SDDS 5183)
  • Survey of Digital Technology and Internet Use (SDTIU) – 2012 (SDDS 4225)
  • Survey of Regulatory Compliance Cost – 2016 (SDDS 5093)