Longitudinal Worker File (LWF)

The Longitudinal Worker File (LWF) is an administrative database designed to provide information on employment dynamics in Canada. From the linked administrative tax data sources, information on workers' demographic characteristics, the jobs they hold, the business enterprises in which they work, and the earnings they receive can be identified. This structure, coupled with information that allows workers' movements from employer to employer to be identified, makes the LWF particularly well-suited to studying a variety of issues (e.g., labour turnover and mobility, earnings dynamics, and transitions to retirement).

The LWF-RDC file is a version of the LWF 100% file that can be accessed by researchers at the Research Data Centres (RDCs). This LWF-RDC version 1.0 covers the 1991-to-2016 tax years with the following key features:

  • A 10% file extracted from the LWF 100% file
  • A generic firm ID is created to identify the firm that individuals are associated with so that individual job mobility can be tracked but information cannot be aggregated at the firm-level.
  • Industry information associated with each job record will be provided at aggregate level (2-digit NAICS level from 1991 onwards).

The Data

The LWF is constructed by integrating data from four sources: the T1 and T4 files of Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the Record of Employment (ROE) files of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), and the Longitudinal Employment Analysis Program (LEAP) of Statistics Canada (StatCan).

For the LWF-RDC Version 1.0 file, selected variables from the above-mentioned component files are extracted from the 1991-to-2016 tax years.

T1 Personal Master File (T1 PMF)

Information on the demographic and financial characteristics of individuals is drawn from the T1 personal tax files. This includes individuals' sex, age, marital status, province of residence, education deductions for full-time and part-time study, tuition fees for self, net self-employment income, RRSP contributions, RRSP income, pension adjustment amount, union dues, and death identifier.

T4 Statement of Remuneration Paid Files (T4 supp) and T4 Statement of Employment Insurance and Other Benefits (T4E)

Job-level information is drawn from T4 records. This includes province of employment, employment income, employment insurance premiums, employment insurance income (from T4E file), pension adjustment amount, and union dues.

Record of Employment (ROE)

Reason for job termination is identified from the ROE file. When there are multiple ROEs for the same firm in the same year, only the job separation information related to the last ROE received in the year is kept in the LWF-RDC file. Researchers are informed of this situation with the "multiroe" indicator variable.

Longitudinal Employment Analysis Program (LEAP)

The LEAP provides the business-level information related to the firm that can be associated with the workers. In the LWF-RDC version 1.0 file, province of employment and an industry code based on 2-digit NAICS code are provided.

File Structure

There are two files available for users to use in the LWF-RDC Version 1.0: person-level file and job-level file.

In the person-level data, the unit of analysis is the individual. Each individual has only one record in a given year, regardless of the number of jobs held.

In the job-level dataset, the unit of analysis is a job held by a given individual in a given year. For example, an individual who receives T4 earnings from three business enterprises in a given year will have three records on the file for that year.


None of the data sources used to construct the LWF contain information on workers' educational attainment or occupation, and hence these variables are not available on the file.

Information is also not available on the number of hours individuals work each week nor on the number of weeks worked each year. As a result, weekly earnings or hourly earnings cannot be computed.  Only annual earnings can be measured using workers' annual employment income (from T4 records) and/or workers' net income from self-employment (from T1 records).

The file is not stratified by province, industry, or firm size.

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