Statistics Canada recognizes that researchers require access to microdata at the individual business, household or person level for research purposes. To preserve the privacy and confidentiality of respondents, and to encourage the use of microdata, Statistics Canada offers a wide range of options through a series of online channels, facilities and programs.
Table of contents
Unrestricted access to microdata
Statistics Canada offers Public Use Microdata Files (PUMFs) to institutions and individuals. They are non-aggregated data which are carefully modified and then reviewed to ensure that no individual or business is directly or indirectly identified. These can be accessed directly through the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI) or the PUMF Collection for a subscription fee. Individual files can also be requested at no cost.
The Public Use Microdata File (PUMF) Collection is a subscription-based service for institutions that require unlimited access to all anonymized and non-aggregated data in the PUMF collection. They can also be accessed directly from Statistics Canada program areas.
The Data Liberation Initiative (DLI) is a partnership between postsecondary institutions and Statistics Canada to improve access to Canadian data resources, allowing faculty and students unlimited access to numerous public use data and geographical files.
Remote access to microdata
Statistics Canada offers remote access solutions to researchers and users.
Real Time Remote Access system (RTRA) is an online service that allows users to run SAS programs in real-time using data located in a secured location.
Remote Access to Health Survey Data
Remote Access to Health Survey Data allows researchers to apply for remote access to data from the Canadian Community Health Survey and the National Population Health Survey.
Restricted access to microdata
Secure Statistics Canada physical environments are made available to accredited researchers and federal government employees for access to anonymized microdata for research purposes, ensuring that all personal information is removed. Statistics Canada also offers remote access solutions to researchers and users.
Statistics Canada Research Data Centres (RDCs) provide researchers with direct access to a wide range of anonymized surveys, administrative, and integrated data in secure settings across the country for statistical analysis. Staffed by Statistics Canada employees, RDCs are accessible to accredited researchers.
Located in the National Capital Region, the Federal Research Data Centres (FRDC) provide federal government employees with secure environments to access a wide range of anonymized surveys, administrative, and integrated data for complex statistical analysis.
Canadian Centre for Data Development and Economic Research (CDER) provides researchers with direct and indirect access to business and economic anonymized microdata at Statistics Canada headquarters in Ottawa.
Blood, urine and DNA samples (biospecimens) from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS), are collected from consenting participants, and are accessible only for approved research initiatives that meet ethical standards. The resulting analyses are made available through the Research Data Centres. Under no circumstances will personal or identifiable data be published.
Advisory Council on Ethics and Modernization of Microdata Access
The Advisory Council on Ethics and Modernization of Microdata Access provides Statistics Canada with the appropriate guidance on data access, privacy and data governance to maintain and support the data needs of Canadians. The knowledge and experience that the members of the Advisory Council bring will benefit the agency as Statistics Canada works to facilitate access to anonymized microdata for researchers, improve data security, and risk management protocols. The council will meet twice a year and reports will be made available to the public. Advisory Council on Ethics and Modernization of Microdata Access members include the following esteemed participants.
Privacy and Cybersecurity Lead, Dentons Canada LLP
Ms. Bernier has negotiated international conventions for Canada as part of the International and Constitutional Law Section of the Department of Justice. In previous senior and executive positions for the Government of Canada, she brings substantial governmental experience as Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for Socio-Economic Development at Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Canada, as Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for Community Safety and Partnerships at Public Safety Canada, and as Director of Operations for the Machinery of Government Secretariat of the Privy Council Office.
In 2012, she received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition for her contribution and achievements.
Ms Bernier holds a Bachelor of Civil Law from the University of Sherbrooke and a Masters in Public International Law from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Former Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and Lawyer
Between July 2007 and January 2018, Mary Dawson served as Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner for the Parliament of Canada. In this role, Ms. Dawson administered the Conflict of Interest Act, which applies to approximately 2,500 public office holders, as well as the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons.
At the helm of the Department of Justice Public Law Sector, she was responsible for the traditional public law areas of constitutional, administrative and international law as well as human rights law, native law, judicial affairs, access and privacy law and regulatory affairs. Before her time in public law she was the Associate Chief Legislative Counsel. She retired in 2005 as Associate Deputy Minister at the Department of Justice, a position she had held since 1988.
During her tenure Ms. Dawson played an important role in relation to constitutional matters. She drafted the final patriation package (Constitution Act, 1982) and was the principal legal advisor for all Constitutional amendments until her retirement from the Department.
Ms. Dawson was made a Queen's Counsel in 1978 and was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 2007.
Ms Dawson graduated with a Bachelor of Civil Law from McGill University and from Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Laws. She earned a Diplôme d'études supérieures en droit from the University of Ottawa in public law. She is a non-practicing member of the Nova Scotia and Ontario Bars, and retained her membership with the Quebec Bar until recently.
Researcher and Adjunct Professor
Len Garis is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice & Associate to the Centre for Social Research at the University of the Fraser Valley, a member of the Affiliated Research Faculty at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, and a faculty member of the Institute of Canadian Urban Research Studies at Simon Fraser University. Recently was appointed as an Associate Research Scientist Emeritus at the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit. He has also been a member of the FIREfighting in Canada editorial advisory board since 2005. As Fire Chief (Ret) for the City of Surrey, British Columbia, his focus was on addressing public safety challenges through evidence-based decision making and innovation.
Mr. Garis regularly initiates scientific research and data collection with the objective of developing alternative methods to address public safety challenges and improve service delivery. He believes strongly that having a long-range vision, planning and innovation can reduce costs, improve efficiency and ultimately enhance services and public safety.
Several of these initiatives have garnered awards and recognition for the City of Surrey in the past decade, including the Union of B.C. Municipalities Community Excellence Awards (for four different programs), a Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia Award for Public Safety, recognition from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General and in 2013 a Community Health and Safety Award from the International City / County Management Association (ICMA) and in 2016 a Professional Development Award from the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators (CAMA) and an Award for Collaborative Excellence from the Canadian Collaborating Centre Injury Prevention (CCCIP). In 2013 Chief Garis was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to Canadians.
Robert (Bob) Gordon
Executive Director, Canadian Cyber Threat Exchange
Robert Gordon is the Executive Director of the Canadian Cyber Threat Exchange (CCTX), Canada's only private sector cyber threat collaboration forum and source of cyber threat intelligence for organizations from all sectors and sizes. Prior to joining the CCTX, Bob held several senior leadership roles in the private and public sectors, including as a Director of Global Cyber Security at CGI (Conseillers en gestion et informatique CGI Inc.).
Previously, Mr. Gordon has enjoyed a long and successful career in the Government of Canada. In addition to being known as the architect of Canada's first Cyber Security Strategy, for which he received the Deputy Minister's Achievement Award, Mr. Gordon has applied his skills and expertise to several of Canada's security, intelligence and law enforcement organizations, such as: Public Safety Canada, the Communications Security Establishment, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Bob has held senior executive positions, including at the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister level. He has provided operational leadership in investigating and analyzing the full range of threats to Canada's security, which included leading the CSIS Counter Terrorism program. Bob is also a member of the Board of Directors for Quantum Safe Canada.
Chief Information Security Officer, Canadian Institute for Health Information
Cal Marcoux has led significant initiatives with Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) since joining the organization in 1997. Mr. Marcoux has over 25 years of experience in various sectors such as information technology (IT), application web development, corporate systems, web strategy and architecture.
As the chief information security officer at CIHI, Mr. Marcoux is responsible for leading their Information Security program, which includes the oversight of the organization's Information Security Management System. His dedication to information security awareness is evidenced by the way in which technology solutions are implemented: always with a keen awareness of privacy and security issues. He manages risks intelligently and defines accountability through the definition of sound information management practice that will serve him in his new role as a member of the Advisory Council on Modernization of Microdata.
Mr. Marcoux earned a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo.
David Robichaud is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ottawa, specialized in economic and social ethics and political philosophy. He has written and edited a number of books on political philosophy as well as many journal articles. Until recently, he was Director of Undergraduate Studies and co-editor of the journal Ethics and Economics. Since 2014, he has been an associate member of the Hoover Chair of Economic and Social Ethics Statistics in Belgium, as well as a member of the Groupe de recherche interuniversitaire sur la normativité and of several evaluation committees of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC) for research funding. He is the co-author of the essay La juste part : Repenser les inégalités, la richesse et la fabrication des grille-pains, and of several scientific articles on socioeconomic justice, linguistic justice and the nature of trust. Finally, he has been a member of the radio show Les Malins on ICI Radio-Canada Première since 2016, where he simplifies philosophy for listeners.
Reports from the Advisory Council on Ethics and Modernization of Microdata Access
Publicly available reports from the council's biannual meetings are made available here: