Access to microdata

Statistics Canada recognizes that researchers require access to microdata at the individual business, household or person level for research purposes. To preserve the privacy and confidentiality of respondents, and to encourage the use of microdata, Statistics Canada offers a wide range of options through a series of online channels, facilities and programs.

Continuum of data access
Description - Continuum of data access

Description - Continuum of data access

Continuum of data access

Nonrestricted access to restricted access

  • Administrative, crowdsourcing, and social survey data
    • Public Use Microdata Files (PUMFs) collection
    • Data Liberation Initiative (DLI)
    • Real Time Remote Access (RTRA)
  • Administrative, crowdsourcing, social and business survey and linked data
    • Research Data Centres (RDC)

Table of content

Data Access Division Newsletter

The Data Access Division newsletter is released on a quarterly basis to inform the user community about various ongoing Divisional initiatives. The newsletters are available here:


Unrestricted access to microdata

Statistics Canada offers Public Use Microdata Files (PUMFs) to institutions and individuals. They are non-aggregated data which are carefully modified and then reviewed to ensure that no individual or business is directly or indirectly identified. These can be accessed directly through the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI) or the PUMF Collection for a subscription fee. Individual files can also be downloaded from the website at no cost. Statistics Canada offers remote access solutions to researchers and users.

Public Use Microdata Files Collection

The Public Use Microdata File (PUMF) Collection is a subscription-based service for institutions that require unlimited access to all anonymized and non-aggregated data in the PUMF collection, which is available through Statistics Canada’s Electronic File Transfer (EFT) and an Internet Protocol (IP) restricted online database with an easy to use discoverability tool.

The Data Liberation Initiative

The Data Liberation Initiative (DLI) is a partnership between postsecondary institutions and Statistics Canada to improve access to Canadian data resources, allowing faculty and students unlimited access to numerous public use data and geographical files.

Real Time Remote Access

Real Time Remote Access (RTRA) is an online tabulation tool allowing subscribers to run SAS programs in real time to extract results from masterfile subsets in the form of tables.

Restricted access to microdata

Research Data Centres are secure physical environments available to accredited researchers and government employees to access anonymized microdata for research purposes. Researchers have direct access to a wide range of anonymized survey, administrative, and integrated data.

Research Data Centres

Data access for academic researchers

Research Data Centres (RDCs) are located on university campuses across Canada and are staffed by Statistics Canada employees. These centres are accessible to accredited researchers affiliated with the hosting organization.

Data access for government researchers

Government RDCs provide federal government employees with secure environments to access microdata, located in the National Capital Region and in Federal and Provincial/Territorial government buildings.

Secure Access Points are approved locations outside the National Capital Region where employees from all levels of government can access microdata. An agreement must be in place between Statistics Canada and the requesting government organization to access through Secure Access Points.


Blood, urine and DNA samples (biospecimens) from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS), are collected from consenting participants, and are accessible only for approved research initiatives that meet ethical standards. The resulting analyses are made available through the Research Data Centres. Under no circumstances will personal or identifiable data be published.

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