Data Access Division newsletter - Summer 2022 edition

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A message to our staff and clients

As the summer season and warm weather arrives, the Data Access Division (DAD) would like to take a moment to thank its staff for their ongoing hard work and dedication, as the effort continues to collectively lead the division and its programs toward a path of success.

We would also like to thank all our clients and partners for their continued trust and support. We remain committed to working with researchers and clients to provide real-time access to data and services to best serve the data needs of all Canadians.

Have a restful few months and enjoy the hot weather! Hoping your summer is full of family time, laughter and memories. We wish you all a safe and happy summer!

Initiatives for the remaining year

Throughout the remainder of the year, DAD is committed to focusing on increased collaboration with various teams and partners, and on continuing to leverage new technologies to help drive Statistics Canada's (StatCan) modernization efforts. Various initiatives include continuing the development of the virtual Research Data Centre (vRDC), increasing business data holdings in the research data centres (RDCs), continuing to migrate existing researchers and striving to onboard new researchers into the virtual Data Lab (vDL) environment, conducting outreach to new market segments and potential clients, and ramping up engagement with existing partners in support of DAD's data access strategic plan.

For more information, please visit the Data Access Division website.

Self-serve access

Data Liberation Initiative Team Updates: Program Review

The Strategic Review Report was provided by Jennifer Smith from Intergage to the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI) Executive Committee. The report will also be made available to the DLI community. Intergage, in collaboration with the executive committee, which includes the two executive committee Chairs, has drafted a plan based on the recommendations for the Strategic Review. Some of the priorities were discussed at the executive committee bi-annual meeting. Further meetings will be scheduled over the coming months to work toward a final plan.

Rich Data Services

The Self-Serve Access (SSA) section is working with StatCan Cloud teams and Metadata Technologies North America (MTNA) to resolve several technical issues regarding installation. This analytical tool will replace Nesstar. Further communication will follow.

Custom tabulations

The custom tabulations initiative has been renewed for a second year. StatCan is offering a limited number of free custom tabulations for DLI members courtesy of the Data Service Centres. The initiative is aimed at students working on research projects who may not have the funds to otherwise request custom tabulations. Completed custom tabulations will be returned to the requesting librarian and the researcher, and posted to the electronic file transfer (EFT).

Expected turnaround time for custom tabulations will depend on the nature of the request, but in general, should take between two weeks and two months.

We ask that you submit the details of the custom tabulation request to the DLI team inbox

DLI Executive Committee

The DLI Executive Committee would like to announce changes to its membership:

New member:

  • Atlantic region: Martin Chandler from Cape Breton University.

Members stepping down:

  • Jeff Moon, Portage Director.
  • Carol Shepstone, Senior Library Administrator.

On behalf of StatCan and the DLI community, we thank you for your commitment to the program.

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. This seat still remains vacant.

PDC initiatives:

  • DLI Training Repository – A sub-committee of the PDC is working on transitioning from CUDO to Scholars Portal Dataverse.
  • Training – The committee has started planning for another virtual national training this year from November 21 to 25, 2022.

Statistics Canada training

StatCan provides training for all levels of data users using different platforms, as well as other 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 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 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 used to create custom tabulations. RTRA users can calculate frequencies, means, percentiles, percent distribution, proportions, ratios, and shares on social and administrative data.

RDC researchers will continue to have access until March 31, 2023.

SAS assistant

The SSA section is continuing its work on adding more surveys that can be used with the SAS Assistant, and creating pre-recorded webinars. The SAS Assistant is a user interface for RTRA, which allows users to create output without coding in SAS. A list of all DLI and RTRA products is available on the website: Access to microdata

Research data centres

Research data centres update

Health Canada updated its occupational health guidance in light of the evolving COVID-19 situation. RDCs can return to full capacity. However, medical masks are required if staff and researchers cannot maintain physical distance of two metres.

The vRDC has made significant progress, as setup is well underway at both the Simon Fraser University and University of Waterloo sites. The focus in the coming months will be on completing the build and obtaining approval from StatCan security to start pilot testing this fall. Preparation for the rollout is accelerating, and a high-level transition plan has been shared with each of the universities. Planning is also underway for working with researchers to prepare their files for transfer to the new environment.

New research data centres holdings

A total of 26 products were added to our data holdings in the fourth quarter of the 2021/2022 fiscal year. These include 5 new surveys, 1 new administrative file, 20 new integrated files and updates to 23 data files.

Highlights of data files added from January to March 2022

  • Survey on Access to Health Care and Pharmaceuticals During the Pandemic (SAHCPDP) - 2021
  • Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) - 2020
  • Canadian Community Health Survey 2021 Rapid Response – Smoking Stages of change 2 (SCH2) and Tobacco Alternative and Vaping (TAL2)
  • Canadian Legal Problems Survey (CLPS) – 2021
  • Survey on Accessibility in Federal Sector Organizations (SAFSO) – 2021
  • University and College Academic Staff System: Full-time Staff (FT-UCASS)
  • The Impact of Preterm Birth on Socioeconomic and Educational Outcomes of Children and Families Linkage (IPB)
  • Canadian Partnership Against Cancer Linkage (CPAC)
  • Mother Centric Linkage (MC)

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

Training initiatives

RDC staff provide training on the protection of data and on statistical methods appropriate for complex survey designs. Additionally, through joint efforts, the Canadian Research Data Centre Network and StatCan give workshops and training that promote data and data access. For example, in late October, a free Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) online workshop will be held. This three-day workshop will help researchers to better understand and work with CHMS data. More details to follow.

List of training sessions, webinars and events: Upcoming workshops and seminars

Confidentiality vetting support videos

The confidentiality vetting support videos are now live on the StatCan website.

Questions or comments? Visit Access to microdata.

Check out the StatCan Blog.

Don't forget to follow us on social media!

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