Data Access Division newsletter - Fall 2022 edition

PDF Version (PDF, 236.98 KB)


Summer may be over, but the Data Access Division (DAD) has been working hard to develop new ways to reach both internal and external partners and clients. Fall 2022 brings a new wave of outreach activities around the Statistics Canada (StatCan) access solutions and the Virtual Data Lab (vDL).

The DAD outreach plan for fall 2022 would not be possible without the help of all team members in the division. Rest assured that DAD remains committed to working with both existing and new researchers and clients to provide data access and services that serve the data needs of Canadians. We would like to outline a few of our outreach activities for fall 2022.

Outreach activities for Fall and beyond

Outreach is an important part of DAD's vision to build a trusted, diverse and far-reaching data management program that supports StatCan modernization pillars, improves decision making and drives better outcomes for Canadians.

In the DAD Marketing Plan, progress has been made to promote and increase the availability of microdata across all DAD access solutions. Tasks and priorities completed to date includes offering all microdata files in the vDL, improving the external StatCan website search and usability functions, promoting the vDL through the @StatCan newsletter and the DAD newsletters, and developing training videos for both new and current users of DAD access solutions.

Additionally, the DAD Marketing Plan includes initiatives for 2022 and beyond such as increasing new microdata file offerings across the continuum of data access, launching the Virtual Research Data Centre (vRDC), conducting further market segment outreach for each access solution, and continuing to evolve and enhance the StatCan external web presence.

Self-serve access

Data Liberation Initiative Updates

We are very pleased to announce the soft launch of the Rich Data Services (RDS) platform to replace the NESSTAR server for the delivery of the Public Use Microdata File (PUMF) collection.

Various enhancements and new features have been introduced in RDS to further strengthen the platform and meet the agency's and users' needs, including multilingual support for metadata and the RDS Explorer/TabEngine user interfaces. On the RDS platform, users can create customized datasets and analytical tables to be downloaded. Future releases will also include the ability to run linear regressions and integration with other systems, such as Colectica.

Custom tabulations

StatCan is offering a limited number of free custom tabulations for Data Liberation Initiative (DLI) members courtesy of the data service centres. The initiative targets students working on research projects who may not have the funds to request custom tabulations. Completed custom tabulations will be returned to the requesting librarian and the researcher, and will be posted to the electronic file transfer. Expected turnaround time for custom tabulations will depend on the nature of the request, but in general should take between two weeks to two months.

Upcoming releases to DLI

Fall 2022:

  • Canadian Income Survey 2019
  • General Social Survey Social Identity 2020 (cycle 35)

Winter 2022:

  • General Social Survey (cycle 34)
  • Canadian Community Health Survey, Annual Component, 2019-2020

Data releases to DLI July to September 2022:

  • Labour Force Survey 2022, June
  • General Social Survey 2018 (cycle 32)
  • Survey on Early Learning and Child Care Arrangements 2019
  • Labour Force Survey 2022, July
  • Canadian Internet Use Survey 2020
  • Survey on Healthcare Workers' Experience During the Pandemic (SHCWEP) 2021
  • Canadian Nicotine and Tobacco Survey 2021
  • Survey on Household Spending 2019, English version only
  • Labour Force Survey 2022, August

We ask that students submit the details of the custom tabulation request to the StatCan DLI team:

Professional development committee

The Professional Development Committee (PDC) sent a call-out to the listserv in March 2021 for a volunteer to represent the Quebec region, which has now been filled by Giovanna Badia.

PDC initiatives:

  • DLI Training Repository: A PDC subcommittee is working on transitioning from the Carleton University Digital Objects to the Scholars Portal Dataverse.
  • Training: The committee has started planning for another virtual national training session this year, which will take place from November 21 to 25, 2022.

Statistics Canada training

StatCan provides training for all levels of data users who use different platforms and data services such as customized products. Some of this training is provided by the Data Service Centres. Over the past year, they have expanded many of their offerings. See below for the most up-to-date information.

  • Workshop series - The workshop series provides you with direct access to StatCan's extensive survey methodology and analysis experience.
  • Webinars - The webinar series covers a broad range of topics, from learning about the Census Program to navigating the StatCan website.
  • Data literacy - The training is aimed at those who are new to data or those who have some experience with data but may need a refresher or want to expand their knowledge. You are invited to check out the Learning catalogue to learn more about these offerings including a great collection of short videos. Be sure to check back regularly, because new training tools will continue to be released.
  • Statistics: Power from Data! – Updated on September 2, 2021, this training tool for students, teachers and the general population will help readers get the most from statistics. This resource aims to help readers:
    • gain confidence in using statistical information;
    • appreciate the importance of statistical information in today's society;
    • make critical use of information that is presented to them.

These goals are at the heart of StatCan's mission to help Canadians with informed decision making based on data.

Real time remote access updates

StatCan will continue to offer DLI members one free Real Time Remote Access (RTRA) account ($5,000 value per institution). RTRA is an online, real-time tool to create custom tabulations. RTRA users can calculate frequencies, means, percentiles, percent distribution, proportions, ratios, and shares on social and administrative data.

Research Data Centre (RDC) researchers have had their access extended to March 31, 2023.

Data releases to RTRA July to September 2022:

  • Nunavut Government Employee Survey (2021)
  • Labour Force Survey (June, July and August 2022)
  • Survey of Household Spending (2019) Capi-Person
  • Survey of Household Spending (2019) Capi- Household
  • Survey of Household Spending (2019) Diary-Person
  • Survey of Household Spending (2019) Diary-Household
  • Childhood National Immunization Coverage Survey (CNICS) 2019
  • Childhood National Immunization Coverage survey (CNICS) Pregnant Women File, 2019

A list of all RTRA products is available on the StatCan website.

Research data centres

Research data centres update

We are happy to announce that the Manitoba Satellite RDC has reopened to serve researchers at the Fort Garry campus of the University of Manitoba. Researchers are reminded that while centres are open to full capacity, medical masks are required if staff and researchers cannot maintain a physical distance of two metres.

Work on the vRDC continued to progress throughout the summer, despite new challenges that have affected the project schedule. Substantial progress has been made on the infrastructure build at the University of Waterloo and Simon Fraser University. The physical setup is largely complete, and work to construct the virtual environment is in its final stages. Initial testing of the data transfer pipeline between the vRDC and StatCan has begun. Pilot testing is currently anticipated to begin in early 2023, then followed by a transition of the remaining centres.

Work on an agreement between StatCan and the Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN) and a revised inter-institutional agreement between the CRDCN and their university partners are well underway. These two agreements will incorporate elements of the risk-sharing framework that will enable access to the vRDC from authorized workspaces outside of the physical RDCs.

New research data centres holdings

A total of 15 products were added to our data holdings from July to September. They include eight new surveys and seven new integrated datasets. There were also updates or new cycles added to 29 data files.

Highlights of data files added from July to September 2022

  • Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) linkage to Census 2016 under Longitudinal Statistical Environment
  • Linkage of the DAD, National Ambulatory Care Reporting System, the CCHS and T1 Family File
  • Linkage of the Post-Secondary Student Information System and the Registered Apprenticeship Information System datasets to the Longitudinal Administrative Databank (LAD), Census 2016, IMDB and EISV datasets under the Education and Labour Market Longitudinal Platform
  • Linkage of the LAD to the IMDB
  • Portrait of Canadian Society─Impacts of Rising Prices (wave 3)
  • SHCWEP 2021
  • Survey on Mental Health and Stressful Events 2021
  • Staffing and Non-partisanship Survey 2021
  • Terrorism and Other Related Criminal Activities (all years).

For a complete list of data available in RDCs and government access centres, visit: Data available at the Research Data Centres.

Updates to confidentiality rules

Below are important updates that we hope will improve the vetting experiences for researchers.

Economic data

Sensitivity testing of derived variables:

  • For continuous derived variables, testing needs only be done on the variable itself and not on individual components.
  • Derived variables aggregated at the enterprise level that are proportions in nature do not need to be sensitivity tested.

Totals and means for continuous variables no longer required rounding.


Census homogeneity tests and dominance rules do not apply to dollar value variables when they are collapsed into categories.

Please contact your local RDC analyst for further details.

Seeking ideas for new training initiatives

The RDC Training Committee is seeking your feedback! Our first set of training videos are now available online. We would like to know what other training materials would help users to work effectively with StatCan microdata. Please share your ideas with the committee via email to

To view the current video series, please visit Training and events (

Questions or comments? Visit Access to microdata.

Check out the StatCan Blog.

Don't forget to follow us on social media!

Date modified: