Video - Canadian COVID-19 Antibody and Health Survey (CCAHS) - Introduction

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Canadian COVID-19 Antibody and Health Survey (CCAHS) - Introduction - Video transcript

(Statistics Canada symbol and Canada word mark appear on screen with the title: "Canadian COVID-19 Antibody and Health Survey (CCAHS) - Introduction")

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our lives in many ways. To better understand how COVID-19 has affected the health of Canadians, Statistics Canada, in partnership with Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force, has created the Canadian COVID-19 Antibody and Health Survey (CCAHS).

While this is a voluntary survey, your participation is important as your contribution will play a crucial part in understanding past infections by measuring the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies among Canadians, including those who have never had symptoms.

What does participating in the CCAHS involve?

This unique survey will collect information in two parts.

  • The first part is an electronic questionnaire about general health, chronic conditions and symptoms, access to care and exposure to COVID-19. The questionnaire must be completed prior to moving on to the second part as it is necessary to collect your personal information so we can send the results to you, and to obtain your written consent to complete the second part.
  • The second part is an at-home finger-prick blood test which you will administer to yourself as soon as possible after completing the electronic questionnaire. or to your child. You will then return the dried blood spot sample using the enclosed prepaid postage envelopepackage. The lab will analyze the sample to determine the presence of COVID-19 antibodies.

How were you selected to participate in this survey?

You have been randomly selected to participate, which ensures that the data collected will be representative of the Canadian population.

Even if you do not think you been exposed to COVID-19, your information will provide valuable answers about the virus. You will also receive a copy of your lab report, providing you with valuable information about your own health.

Why do I need to provide consent?

While completing the electronic questionnaire, you will be asked for consent to:

  • provide the dried blood spot sample,
  • receive your test results,
  • store your sample in a biobank and to
  • share the data with provincial and territorial ministries of health, Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and potentially McGill University.

By consenting, you confirm that you understand that even though you have agreed to some or all of the items above, you can still withdraw from any part of this survey or subsequent studies at any time.

You are also confirming that you understand what is involved in taking part in the survey.

Consent to storage of your samples

With your consent, the surplus dried blood spots samples (that is, the leftover blood samples after antibody testing is performed) will be stored anonymously at the Statistics Canada biobank located at the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. This is a high security facility that meets international security standards for this type of laboratory. The samples will be used for future health research projects. Only researchers who submit projects that meet the strict conditions imposed by Statistics Canada, in particular those relating to confidentiality, will have access to these samples.

Can I choose not to participate in the survey?

Your participation is voluntary. You can choose to end your participation in this survey (called withdrawal) at any time without having to provide a reason. If you choose to withdraw from the survey you can call us at 1-800-263-1136 (TTY : 1-800-363-7629) or contact us via email at We will ensure that your samples are destroyed and your data deleted. If tests have already been done on your samples or your sample has already been sent to another laboratory for testing or related research, it will not be possible to withdraw those results. However, no further testing will be done.

What are the risks of participating in this survey?

You may experience very mild discomfort from the sting of the needle when taking a blood sample from a finger prick. Rest assured that we have chosen this measure and technique because it is safe.  The risk of infection by COVID-19 from blood is considered extremely low. Medical research has shown that the virus is rarely found in the blood even when someone is sick. Furthermore, the small amount of blood that is being collected further minimizes any risk of infection. However you should still be cautious when handling blood because of the possible presence of other infectious agents.

What are the benefits of participating in this survey?

Your participation will help in further understanding the impact of COVID-19. The results will help indicate how many people have been infected with COVID-19, including those who may not have had related symptoms. Also, you will receive your test results once they are available.

Will my data be linked and shared?

When filling in the electronic questionnaire, we will inform you about the possibility of linking the information you provide to the CCAHS with other surveys or administrative data sources. Data linkage combines information on survey participants from at least two different sources. This is done only for statistical and research purposes. Linking data helps governments monitor, evaluate and modify policies in health care. All linked data will remain confidential under the Statistics Act. We will not provide any information about you to the ministry of health in your province, territory or to any other organization.

How will my data be kept private and confidential?

The data and samples are collected under the authority of the Statistics Act, which guarantees that all your personal information remains confidential and secure. Your data are also protected under the Privacy Act of Canada.

(Canada wordmark appears on screen.)