Linkage of the Canadian Community Health Survey (2003-2014) to the Longitudinal Immigration Database (1980-2013)

This record linkage project brings together health survey data from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) - Annual Component for the periods from 2003 to 2014, the CCHS Focus Content for 2002 (Mental Health and Well-being) and 2012 (Mental Health), and immigration and income (tax) data from the Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) starting in 1980.

The purpose of the linkage project is to better understand the health, social and economic outcomes of immigrants in different immigration classes and categories.

The Data

Canadian Community Health Survey

The annual component of the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) includes cross-sectional information about the health, health behaviours and health care use of the non-institutionalized household population aged 12 and older. The CCHS focus content surveys are designed to provide cross-sectional, provincial level results on specific health topics. Two focus content cycles were used in this linkage project. The Mental Health and Well-being (2002) and Mental Health (2012) include information about mental disorders, mental health system use, and disability associated with mental health problems among the household population aged 15 and older.

The CCHS records eligible for linkage were respondents who had given consent to both share their survey information with provincial and federal ministries of health and to link their responses to administrative data. The first cycle of the CCHS (cycle 1.1) was excluded from this linkage because the question asking respondents for their consent to link and share their survey data did not allow for the linkage to non-health databases. The CCHS questionnaires are available on the Statistics Canada website or through your RDC Analyst. Non-confidential information about the CCHS is available through the data liberation initiative, through your local RDC Analyst, or can be requested through Health Statistics Division Client Services ( Once approval to access the RDC files has been granted, user guides, questionnaires and other confidential documentation will be accessible in the RDC.

Immigrant Landing File

The Immigrant Landing File (ILF) is a database produced by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and provided to Statistics Canada on an annual basis. The ILF is an administrative census of immigrants who have landed in Canada since 1980, and contains information on the demographic (e.g., age, sex, country of birth), program (e.g., immigrant admission category, intended occupation, intended destination) and characteristics (e.g., education, knowledge of official languages) of all individuals who have landed in Canada during this time period. The ILF has no health-related information. The ILF used in this linkage project includes all immigrants who have landed in Canada from 1980 to 2013, including tax filers and non-tax filers. The ILF includes the non-permanent resident file (NRF) as well as the integrated permanent and non-permanent resident file (PNRF).

Longitudinal Immigration Database

The Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) is a comprehensive source of data on the economic behaviour of the immigrant tax-filer population in Canada. A person is included in the IMDB if they obtained permanent resident status since 1980. The IMDB combines an administrative Immigrant Landing File (ILF) and a Non-Permanent Resident Permit File (NRF-Permit) with the T1 Family File (T1FF) through exact matching record linkage techniques. It includes one file for each tax year since 1982, two files containing immigration characteristics at the person al level and one permit file for non-permanent residents. For information about the analytical variables included in the IMDB, researcher should consult the IMDB documentation available from your RDC analyst.

File structure, layout

All variables from the CCHS share files are available for analysis. Please see appropriate data dictionaries for relevant CCHS cycles, available from your RDC analyst. For CCHS respondents who linked to the ILF, all variables from the IMDB are available for analysis by merging the linked file to the IMDB. Instructions for merging files are provided in the user guide. Before merging the CCHS with the IMDB, the researcher should determine which variables are required by consulting the appropriate documentation.

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