Canadian COVID-19 Antibody and Health Survey (CCAHS) – Cycle 2

Everyone has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. You or someone you know may have contracted the virus. You may also have experienced difficulties in getting medical services. This survey looks to better understand chronic conditions and symptoms, the long-term effects and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and well-being of Canadians, and the challenges associated with access to health care.

This survey comprises of two parts: an electronic questionnaire and self-administered test(s). All respondents will receive an antibody testing kit to collect a dried blood sample. Some respondents will also receive a PCR saliva test. As a survey participant, you will receive a personal lab report to find out whether you have antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and whether those antibodies may have been produced from a previous infection, vaccination, or both. As you may have had COVID-19 recently, but did not have any symptoms or were unable to get tested, this information could be useful. If you were selected to complete the PCR saliva test, you will also receive a report to find out if you have an active COVID-19 infection on the day you complete that test.

Even if you do not think you have 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 information about the results of your COVID-19 antibody and PCR tests.

The data collected from this voluntary survey will shed light on the health and well-being of Canadians, and will be used to guide Canada’s pandemic recovery.

Your information may also be used by Statistics Canada for other statistical and research purposes. In addition, information from partially completed or unsaved questionnaires may be retained and used.

Collection period:

From April 1 2022 to August 31, 2022

Collection methods:

Step 1: Electronic questionnaire

Survey participation:

Voluntary — for those people who receive a survey invitation and kit in the mail.


Data are collected under the authority of the Statistics Act, Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, Chapter S-19. Your information will be kept strictly confidential.

Data sharing agreements and record linkage

Data sharing agreements

For all respondents:

To avoid duplication of surveys, respondents will be asked for consent to share their information from this survey, including direct identifiers such as name, address, telephone number and health card number, with provincial and territorial ministries of health (as well as the Institut de la statistique du Québec), Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada. However, only postal codes and survey responses would be shared with federal partners, and identifiers may only be shared with provincial partners upon request.

The “Institut de la statistiques du Québec” and provincial ministries of health may make the data available to local health authorities. Local health authorities would not receive any identifiers, only postal codes.

Data will only be shared with your consent and only to those organizations that have agreed to keep the information confidential and to use it only for statistical and research purposes.

For respondents aged 18 years and older:

To reduce the number of questions in this questionnaire, Statistics Canada will use information from your tax forms submitted to the Canada Revenue Agency. With your consent Statistics Canada may share this information from your tax forms with your provincial and territorial ministries of health, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Quebec residents may also have their tax form information shared with the "Institut de la statistique du Québec".

These organizations have agreed to keep the information confidential and to use it only for statistical and research purposes.

To avoid duplication of surveys, Statistics Canada may sign an agreement to share the data from this survey with McGill University. McGill is the legal entity representing the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF). The CITF is a group of scientists and experts who use data to support decision-makers in their efforts to protect Canadians and minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With your consent, your survey responses and postal code may be shared with McGill. Names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and health card numbers will not be shared.

Record linkage

To enhance the data from this survey and reduce response burden, Statistics Canada will combine your responses with information from the tax data of all members of your household. Statistics Canada and the ministry of health for your home province or territory may also add information from other surveys or administrative sources.

For Quebec residents, the "Institut de la statistique du Québec" may add information from other surveys or administrative sources.

Topics covered in the survey

This survey asks questions about

  • COVID-19 background information:
    • Chronic conditions and symptoms (types, duration, severity)
    • health status
    • risk factors
    • impacts on daily activities
  • Health information:
    • long-term symptoms
    • long-term health conditions
    • interactions with health care system
    • medication use
  • COVID-19 antibodies.

Published data

Statistics Canada publishes the results of its surveys in many formats. To find all the documents related to this survey, follow the links below and type the name of the survey in the search engine located at the left of your screen to filter the results.

Data: You will find tables, profiles of a community or region, thematic maps, public use microdata files, and data visualization tools.

Analysis: You will have direct access to Stats in brief (e.g., releases from The Daily, fact sheets), articles and reports, and journals and periodicals.

Survey-specific questions

What are the objectives of this survey?

The Canadian COVID-19 Antibody and Health Survey (CCAHS) aims to collect important information about lasting general health problems and symptoms and about COVID-19. The purpose is to gather information on the presence of COVID-19 among the Canadian population, protection against COVID-19, health concerns, use of the health care system and prescribed medications. This information will be collected in two parts: through an electronic questionnaire and through a self-administered COVID-19 testing component.

Even if you do not think you have been exposed to COVID-19, your participation is important as it will provide useful information about the virus and insight into the overall health of Canadians. You will also receive a copy of your lab report, providing you with information about the results of your COVID-19 antibody test. Survey results will be used to develop programs and services to respond to needs related to the pandemic.

How is the survey conducted?

A random sample of 100,000 people aged 18 and older will receive a package in the mail that includes an invitation to complete an online survey, and a dried blood spot (DBS) kit with instructions (printed brochure and a link to video). Participants will then return the dried blood spot sample using the enclosed prepaid package. The lab will analyze the sample to determine the presence of COVID-19 antibodies. The DBS test card has only an identification number; it has no personal or confidential information.

How long does it take to complete the survey?

It takes about 20 minutes to complete the electronic questionnaire and 10 minutes to do the dried blood spot (DBS) sample. The blood spots need to dry for at least 3 hours before being packaged for shipping.

Why is it important to have my dried blood spot sample?

The dried blood spot (DBS) sample is important because it allows us to estimate how many Canadians test positive for antibodies against COVID-19. By using each participant’s DBS samples combined with their survey responses, we will also have a better idea how many Canadians have antibodies against COVID-19 due to infection, vaccination or both.

For more info about the DBS, please refer to the brochure.

How was this survey developed?

Statistics Canada developed the survey content through consultations with its partners, Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, and the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force. We have consulted with Health Canada's research ethics board and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. This process ensures that the survey will provide data that meet the research needs and priorities of the health research community in Canada, while protecting the confidentiality of information from participants.

How will the data be used? Who will use it?

Objective statistical information is vital to researchers, analysts and decision makers across Canada. Results of the Canadian COVID-19 Antibody and Health Survey could be used by:

  • Parliament and other policy makers, to track major initiatives, set priorities for prevention and research programs, and evaluate policy and program outcomes
  • epidemiologists, biomedical and health service researchers, to understand trends in diseases and the relationship of observed risk factors to diseases
  • public health professionals, to track preventable illnesses and evaluate the impact of prevention and intervention programs
  • advocacy groups, to raise awareness and assist in their surveillance of health issues and health disparities.

Can people volunteer to participate in the Canadian COVID-19 Antibody and Health Survey (CCAHS)?

No. Participants are chosen randomly in order to ensure the survey sample represents the Canadian population; they cannot be replaced by anyone else. It is essential that we respect this random selection to ensure the information collected is as reliable and accurate as possible. Therefore, if someone was not chosen to participate in the survey, they cannot volunteer.

If I consent to participate, do I have to do all the parts of the survey?

A participant may choose to withdraw from any part of the survey at any time. Also, participants may choose not to answer specific questions if they make them feel uncomfortable.

When will I get my test results from the dried blood spot (DBS)?

With your consent, we will send you a report of your final lab results as soon as they are available after they have been analyzed. Timing will depend on the volume of tests that laboratories need to process. Regardless of whether or not a person develops antibodies against the COVID-19 virus, they should continue to follow recommendations from Public Health in order to keep everyone safe.

Your results will not represent a medical diagnosis, so if you are worried about your health, we suggest that you set up an appointment with your doctor or other health care professional.

What are antibodies?

When you are exposed to a new virus, your immune system creates proteins called antibodies to help protect you from infection. Because COVID-19 is a new disease, not much is known about the benefits of having antibodies against it, how long the antibodies last, or if they provide protection against future infection.

Regardless of whether or not a person develops antibodies against the virus that causes COVID-19, they should continue to follow recommendations from Public Health in order to keep everyone safe.

What does a positive or negative test result mean?

Regardless of whether you test positive or negative, continue to take steps to protect yourself and others, and follow public health guidelines. If your test results are positive it’s likely that you previously had a COVID-19 infection and that your body made antibodies against the virus. It may also indicate that ou developed antibodies in response to vaccination. You may test positive for antibodies even if you have never had symptoms of COVID-19 or received the vaccine, which can happen if you had an asymptomatic infection or developed antibodies in response to vaccination. Having antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 may provide protection from getting infected with the virus again, but we do not know how much protection, or how long it may last. If your test is negative, antibodies against the virus that causes COVID-19 were not found in your blood. For more information on your antibody test results, please visit the following webpage: COVID-19 Antibodies: Frequently asked questions.

How will you safeguard the confidentiality of my information?

As with all Statistics Canada surveys, any information you provide will remain confidential pursuant to the Statistics Act. Statistics Canada takes the privacy of Canadians very seriously. Published data can never identify you or your household. To find out more about the measures in place to safeguard the confidentiality of your information, visit Statistics Canada's Trust Centre.

Why does Statistics Canada want to know personal information such as my gender, postal code, or total income?

When your data reaches Statistics Canada—whether from surveys or administrative sources—some of it is used to create a demographic profile. Then, we remove personal identifiers and only retain information such as age, gender, income, and geographical location. This data is merged with that of other people who share the same demographic profile (for example, groupings based on the same age, gender, income or geographical location). Even if questions related to personal information may seem irrelevant to the subject of the survey, they provide a deeper knowledge of respondents' characteristics, which allows us to create a representative sample of the Canadian population. By analyzing this large database, researchers are able to observe emerging patterns and trends and provide important information to governments, non-profit organizations, researchers, and the wider public.

How do I do the PCR saliva test?

Detailed instructions can be viewed in a video created by the manufacturer of OMINIgene ORAL: OMNIgene ORAL: user instructions for collection and stabilization of microbial DNA from saliva.

Can participants withdraw their consent to the storage of their biospecimens in the Biobank?

Yes. During the CCAHS, participants are asked whether they consent to the storage of their dried blood spot samples. At any time, during or after sample submission, participants can ask to have their dried blood spot samples removed from storage and destroyed by calling 1-888-253-1087, or by email to

What kind of analyses are performed on samples stored at the Biobank?

Samples stored at the Biobank are used in biomedical studies. The purpose of the CCAHS is to collect dried blood spot samples from both COVID-19 negative and positive participants and make the banked samples and data available to Canadian and international researchers to conduct biomedical, including genetic, research on COVID-19 and other related diseases.

Biomedical studies include research looking for past exposures to new environmental contaminants, new ways to assess human nutrition, past prevalence of infectious diseases, discovery and validation of new biomarkers to diagnose diseases, and genetic research into DNA genes that modify the health status and susceptibility of Canadians to diseases, infections, or exposures to environmental contaminants.

Information about past Biobank projects and current Biobank projects can be found here: Projects.

Will my dried blood spot samples be used in genetic testing?

Yes, there is a chance that your sample will be used for genetic testing. Genetic testing could include genome wide association studies, or genotyping.

At no point will Statistics Canada release your genome to the public. Statistics Canada, or any other Federal Department, which abides by Canada’s Privacy Act, would never allow your DNA to be used in this way.

It is possible to withdraw consent for genetic testing specifically, but keep your samples in the Biobank for other projects. A participant can withdraw consent at anytime by using the contact information found here: Participants.

How long will you keep my samples?

Dried blood spot samples are stored in the biobank indefinitely. Samples are removed when they are used for an approved research project or when a participant requests that their samples be removed.

Where can I get more information about the Biobank?

Additional information such as the descriptions of approved Biobank studies are posted on the biobank webpage at Canadian Health Measures Survey Biobank. You can also access the website by entering ‘Statistics Canada Biobank’ in your preferred search engine.

Why did I receive a second participation package for this survey?

Due to an operational issue with Statistics Canada’s collection system, you have received a second participation package, dated June 1, 2022, inviting you to participate in the Canadian COVID-19 Antibody and Health Survey. If you already completed the survey and tests using the initial or the second participation package, please accept our thanks. If not, there is still time to participate. An interviewer may contact you in the upcoming weeks to complete the questionnaire by telephone. Your participation is highly valued.

For more information about this survey