Definitions, data sources and methods

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The purpose of the site is to provide information that will assist in the interpretation of Statistics Canada's published data. The information (also known as metadata) is provided to ensure an understanding of the basic concepts that define the data including variables and classifications; of the underlying methodology of our surveys; and of key aspects of the data quality. It also provides direct access to questionnaires.

Surveys and statistical programs

A list of Statistics Canada surveys and statistical programs, organized in alphabetical order, by subject, or by record number. Each page includes a survey description, information on data accuracy, data sources and methodology, and links to additional documentation.

What is a Survey - Survey for which the information is collected for some units of the target population


A list of questionnaires by Statistics Canada, organized in alphabetical order as well as by subject. Each page includes the questionnaire, previous versions of each questionnaire, and related surveys.

What is a Questionnaire? A questionnaire is a research instrument that consists of a set of questions for the purpose of gathering information from respondents through survey or statistical study.

Variables and statistical units

A list of variables and statistical units by Statistics Canada, organized in alphabetical order, and by subject.

What is a Variable? A variable is a characteristic of a statistical unit being observed that may assume more than one of a set of values to which a numerical measure or a category from a classification can be assigned.

What is a Statistical unit? A statistical unit is the unit of observation or measurement for which data are collected or derived.

Statistical classifications

A list of classifications organized alphabetically and by subject.

Statistical classification - A systematic grouping of the values that a variable can take comprising mutually exclusive classes, covering the full set of values, and often providing a hierarchical structure for aggregating data. More than one classification can be used to represent data for a given variable.

Public consultation and notices

A list of public consultations and notices associated with specific standards. Includes information on Statistics Canada's variables; statistical units; geographic, industry, instructional program, occupational, product, and research and development classifications.

Methodology products and services

Other important information

Links to other standards-related information of interest.

Metadata Frameworks

A list of international metadata models relevant to standards.

International links

Links to specific international standard websites.