Statistics Canada's Mobile-Phone Application: A New Way to Collect Survey Data

About this app

Statistics Canada has developed a new mobile-phone application to serve as an easier, more convenient way for you to answer surveys beyond the traditional methods of answering survey questions by phone, on a secure website accessed by laptop or desktop computers, or through in-person interviews.

When downloaded on a mobile phone, this app connects you directly to a secure StatCan portal where you can answer survey questions at your convenience.

The app will be available to download on the Google Play and Apple App stores.

  • Get it on Google Play
  • Download on the App Store

What personal information does this app collect about you?

Once the app is downloaded, no personal information – such as your name, address, date of birth, email address, or cellphone number – will be collected about you or stored on the app itself. The app will direct you to a secure website where respondents can complete the survey questionnaire.

Learn more about how Statistics Canada protects your privacy.

Protecting your information

How does this app protect your information?

Statistics Canada has consulted with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada at every step in the planning and development of this app to ensure that:

  • Our technology is secure: This app uses Statistics Canada’s Electronic Collection Portal to collect your responses. We take necessary precautions, such as the use of the secure sockets layer (SSL) protocol, to enhance the security of the information passing from your browser to our servers.
  • Your identity is never disclosed: Any research, analysis or publications that will be produced using the data you provide us will only be used to produce statistics. That means we will not identify you – or any other participant – as being affiliated with this study.
  • Your privacy is always protected: No personal information – such as your name, address, date of birth, email address or cellphone number,– that you may be asked to provide to StatCan is ever shared with a third party, including other government departments.

Can this app track my location?

The Vitali-T-Stat app helps us collect the responses you provide to survey questionnaires. The responses collected are transmitted directly to Statistics Canada's secure Electronic Collection Portal. No response is stored on your mobile device.

It also does not track your movements or activities based on the following mobile-phone functions:

  • geo-location
  • camera access
  • microphone access
  • calendar integration

Learn more about the security features in place to protect your data.

What federal law enables Statistics Canada to use this app for the collection of survey data?

Statistics Canada is governed by the federal Statistics Act. This law gives StatCan the authority to collect data about Canadians, on behalf of Canadians, and for the benefit of all Canadians. This law also outlines StatCan's legal duty to protect the information we collect from individuals and businesses.

By law, the data collected by StatCan are only used to produce statistics. No personal information – such as your name, address, date of birth, email address or cellphone number– that you may be asked to provide to StatCan is ever shared with a third party, including other government departments. Protecting your anonymity is not just StatCan's promise to you; it's the law we must follow.

Surveys using this app

Statistics Canada is testing its new mobile-phone application for the collection of survey data to determine if this app could be used in the future to support data collection for other surveys.

The first survey to use this new data-collections app is called the Pilot Study on Everyday Well-being. The name of the app that has been developed to support the data-collection for this survey is Vitali-T-Stat.

Pilot Study on Everyday Well-being

What is this survey about?

The Pilot Study on Everyday Well-being is a voluntary survey that ask you in-the-moment questions about you activities and feelings. The objective of this survey is to gain a better understanding of the factors, such as arts and cultural activities, that could influence your day-to-day mental and emotional well-being.

What will the data collected for this survey be used for?

The analyses produced from the information collected from this survey will provide you with insights on the connections between the day-to-day activities and your well-being.

How will the data collected for this survey benefit all Canadians?

These data could be used to develop programs and services that improve the quality of life of all Canadians.

What information is being collected for this survey?

Everyday, for a 30-day period between October 15 and December 31, 2021, you will be prompted from two to five times a day to answer a few questions that form a self-assessment of participant's emotional and mental well-being in that moment.

The app will then provide you with a dashboard that reports back a snapshot of their self-assessed feelings and how you relate to what you are doing, who you are with, and where you are at the time you respond to the survey questions.

How will the data provided for this survey be stored?

Responses to this survey will be stored on Statistics Canada's secure Electronic Collection Portal. We take all necessary precautions, including the use of the secure sockets layer (SSL) protocol, to protect the security of the information passing from your browser to our servers. This information is stored securely and access is managed by the strictest protocols.

Learn more about the security features that StatCan has put in place to protect your data.

Is the Vitali-T-Stat app to support this survey secure?

Our technology is secure: The technology used to support the Vitali-T-Stat app meets Statistics Canada's rigorous standards for both cybersecurity and privacy protection. That includes measures to physically and electronically limit the number of authorized employees with access to the data collected through this survey.

Your responses are safely collected: The responses collected are transmitted directly to Statistics Canada's secure Electronic Collection Portal. No response is stored on your mobile device.

Why do I need a password and security question to access the survey once I download the Vitali-T-Stat app?

You will use a password and a security question to access the app to:

  • protect your data from being compromised by unauthorized users of your mobile device;
  • provide a second layer of security, which you can use to reset your password. Please note that Statistics Canada does not collect your password when you create it, and therefore will not be able to assist you in resetting your password, if required.

How does Statistics Canada ensure the confidentiality of the information provided to this survey?

At Statistics Canada, the confidentiality of data is governed by the Statistics Act, the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, as well as the agency's policies, directives and supporting systems and tools on the collection, protection and use of administrative data.

Statistics Canada does not release any information that could identify individuals, households, businesses or agricultural operations without their consent, or as authorized by the Statistics Act. We carefully screen final results before releasing them to prevent published statistics from being used to derive information.

The Statistics Act contains very strict confidentiality provisions that protect collected information from unauthorized access. For example, agencies such as the Canada Revenue Agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the courts do not have access to individual survey responses.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner was consulted at every phase of the development of the application regarding both the survey and the application.

What if a participant wants to stop participating in this study?

At any point, should you want to stop participating in the study, they can turn off all notifications in the settings menu or delete the App from their device.

Technical documents

In consultation with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Statistics Canada has developed ways to protect your privacy while securely collecting, storing and analyzing the data you provide to this survey.

Learn more: Privacy Impact Assessment for Vitali-T-Stat Mobile Application

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