About the access

About the Research Data Centres

In 1998, the Canadian Initiative on Social Statistics studied the challenges facing the research community in Canada. One of the recommendations of the national task force Archived - Report on the Advancement of Research using Social Statistics (PDF, 108.78 KB) was the creation of research facilities to give academic researchers improved access to Statistics Canada's microdata files. This access would allow researchers in the social sciences to build expertise in quantitative methodology and analysis.

Canadian Research Data Centre Network Researcher Survey

Once a year, researchers are contacted by Academic Directors of the Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN) to submit a list of all products generated from the project work. The number of products generated by researchers working in RDCs demonstrates the success of the program and helps the CRDCN secure funding to provide this service free of charge to affiliated members.

To know more about the activities of Research Data Centres (RDCs), please visit the CRDCN website.

The benefits of RDCs

The RDCs provide opportunities to:

  • generate a wide perspective on Canada's social landscape;
  • provide social science research facilities across the country in both larger and smaller population centres;
  • expand the collaboration between Statistics Canada, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), universities and academic researchers, and build on the Data Liberation Initiative; and
  • train a new generation of Canadian quantitative social scientists.

Branch RDCs

A branch RDC is a laboratory that offers access to Statistics Canada detailed micro-data and presents the same characteristics of security as are required in all the RDCs. The branch RDC can reduce the need for travelling. It also facilitates the cooperation among researchers from the same region or province that are located in different cities. Branches are staffed with Statistical Assistants. The Analyst in the main RDC reviews any output before releasing the information to a researcher, and also provides remote assistance on questions related to survey content.

About Government Data Access

In 2002, the Government Data Access Program was formed to provide data access services to Federal and, more recently, Provincial and Territorial organizations. These services support these organizations to provide evidence-based decision making on policies and programs at the federal, provincial and territorial level.

Federal Research Data Centre

The Federal Research Data Centre (FRDC) is located at Statistics Canada head office in Ottawa, focused on providing access to federal departments in the National Capital Region. Researchers can access social and business data in a secure environment with the support of knowledgeable Statistics Canada staff. Some Federal departments with a large volume of data access needs have established secure rooms in their headquarters.

Provincial and Territorial Government Access Program

Statistics Canada is expanding data access options for Provinces and Territories. These organizations can establish secure rooms at their headquarters for data access connections to Statistics Canada data housed in Ottawa. Knowledgeable Statistics Canada staff provide support and guidance virtually. Currently, this mode of access is in pilot status.

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