Data processing

Data capture

The Census of Agriculture and Census of Population questionnaires went their separate ways once they arrived at the Data Operations Centre in the National Capital Region. There they were sorted, electronically scanned and the data automatically captured using Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) software, a technology that reads data from images. Any responses not recognized by the ICR process were sent to a Statistics Canada employee who viewed the questionnaire image and entered the correct data into the system. Questionnaires completed and submitted on the Internet also went to the Data Operations Centre.

Edit, follow-up and imputation

Once the data were captured, they were loaded to an automated processing system that took them through detailed edit, follow-up and imputation processes. First the data were subjected to many rigorous quality control and processing edits to identify and resolve problems related to inaccurate, missing or inconsistent data. Those records with problems that could not be resolved in editing received a telephone call from a Statistics Canada employee to collect the missing or incomplete data. Finally, those situations that couldn't be resolved through either edit or follow-up were handled by an imputation procedure that replaced each missing or inconsistent response either with a value consistent with the other data on the questionnaire or with a response obtained from a similar agricultural operation.

Data validation

Data validation followed the edit, follow-up and imputation processes. At this stage, Statistics Canada analysts reviewed the aggregate data at various geographic levels and examined the individual values, large and small, reported for each variable. The data were compared with previous census results, current agricultural surveys and administrative sources. Errors remaining due to coverage, misreporting, data capture or other reasons were identified and corrected. Where necessary, respondents were contacted to verify their responses. Near the end of the validation process, certification reports, containing results of the analysis and recommendations for publication, were prepared and presented to a review committee.

Data security

The security of your information is of paramount importance to Statistics Canada. Census data are stored on Statistics Canada systems that are isolated from any other network. External devices, such as telephone dial-in services that connect to Statistics Canada's confidential data storage systems, are not permitted, making it impossible to break into Statistics Canada's databases.

In addition, Statistics Canada's premises have controlled access so that only persons with the appropriate security clearance who have taken the oath of secrecy can enter facilities housing confidential data. Anyone from outside Statistics Canada needing entrance to these premises is escorted by a Statistics Canada employee at all times. Only Statistics Canada employees see your Census of Agriculture questionnaire and data.

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