Getting started

Record linkage proposals involve a significant amount of initial analysis and discussion to develop a formal project contract. Information is provided to Statistics Canada so that project feasibility can be assessed before the formal record linkage application for approval can begin. To facilitate the experience through all project steps, applicants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the requirements for approval, understand their data sources and what is needed for record linkage, as well as giving thought early on about desired outputs and data access protocols.

Here are some questions to consider before starting a record linkage project at Statistics Canada:

For approval

  1. Do you have a clear research question?
  2. Do you have a research protocol? Do you have an ethics approval?
  3. Does your study meet the expected results from Statistics Canada's Directive on Microdata Linkage? Can you clearly demonstrate how the public interest is served by your project and why a record linkage is the best means to achieve this public benefit? Are you sure that the data you expect from linkage are not otherwise available?

Feasibility of linkage

  1. Have you examined the available source data file documentation to ensure that the variables of interest will serve your needs and that the sample (if applicable) is adequate for your study?
  2. If applicable, does your microdata file have personal identifiers that would enable record linkage?
  3. If your project requires an external microdata file, have you received permission from the data owner to provide it to Statistics Canada?

Final deliverables and access

  1. Have you thought about the structure of your final linked analysis file? Are derived variables needed? Will you need to person-orient records? How will different reference periods be treated? Will you be using longitudinal data?
  2. What are your plans to identify and address the data quality issues associated with record linkage and with the specific sources that you have in mind?
  3. How do you intend to access the linked microdata? Have you considered access through the Research Data Centres (RDC) Program?

See Record Linkage Application Process if you would like to prepare a record linkage project proposal.

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