Microdata Access Portal application process

COVID-19: Modified operations in the Data Centres

Our priority is the health and safety of all Canadians, while maintaining services to researchers.

Upon the re-opening of Data Centres, new measures will be in place. These include restricting the number of available workstations to maintain physical distancing, and setting limits on computer access time at some centres in order to accommodate as many researchers as possible.

Please check with your local data centre for more information and to determine the status of re-opening.

Statistics Canada offers a range of data access options for conducting research. See Access to microdata to explore all the possibilities.

Applications for data access are submitted through the Microdata Access Portal (MAP).

Application guidelines

Application forms

Part 1: Steps for submitting an application

Follow steps 1-4 to apply through the Microdata Access Portal. The steps below serve as a guide to preparing the online application.

  • Step 1: Determine the origin of the project

    Step 1: Determine the origin of the project

    Principal Investigators (PIs) should determine the project origin and project type.

    Origin of the Project

    Is your project a government-funded project, an academic project, or other project?

    Government-funded project

    Government-funded project is a project funded by any level of government, except if the funding is a grant from an organization covered under the academic project. Consultants (including academics) hired on contract to a government organization apply under this application type.

    Academic Project

    An academic project is conducted by a member of a post-secondary institution such as a faculty member, student (if the project forms an integral part of thesis or dissertation, or is a post-doctoral project) or staff of a Canadian post-secondary institution. The following is the list of the agencies which are providing core financial support for the sustained research activities of the Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN):

    • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
    • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
    • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
    • Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé (FRQS)
    • Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et culture (FRQSC)
    • Fonds de Recherche du Québec - Nature et technologies (FRQNT)

    An academic project is not funded by a government organization or other third party.


    Some application processes will not fall under the two categories above. Researchers who do not fall into one of the two categories will need to visit the Contact information page.

    Still unsure which category you fall under? For more information please visit the Guidelines page.

  • Step 2: Determine the type of project

    Step 2: Determine the type of project

    The project types listed below represent the possible projects through which researchers request access to data.

    a. Research Project

    A research project is a single project designed to answer a main research question.

    b. Sub-Project - Part of an existing research project.

    A sub-project is when the main research project question generates a sub-question on the same topic. Researchers will need their main project number from the affiliated research project to submit an application. For assistance visit the Contact information page.

    c. Program that includes multiple research projects on the same topic

    A program of research may include a series of projects linked by a common theme.

    d. Research Project that is part of an existing program

    Once a program is approved by Statistics Canada, research projects that go under the program can be submitted. Researchers will need their main project number from the affiliated research project to submit an application. For assistance visit the Contact information page.

    e. Data validation project

    A data validation project is to review the data and produce a data quality assessment for Statistics Canada. This application is currently under development. Researchers who do fall into this category will need to visit the Contact information page to apply.

    f. Academic course

    A course designed to teach graduate level students methodology related to complex survey data analysis. This application is currently under development, therefore researchers who do fall into this category will need to visit the Contact information page to apply.

  • Step 3: Providing the summary details for your project

    Step 3: Providing the summary details for your project

    Note: You may be required to upload supporting documents. See the Data Access Application Checklist.

    a. Project details

    Researchers are required to submit a project proposal (maximum of 10 pages) as part of their application. See the Guidelines page for more information.

    b. Billing information

    Researchers are required to submit the contact information of the person with signing authority responsible for allocating funds to the project.

    Note: If the sponsoring organization has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Statistics Canada, the contact information is not required.

    c. Approval information or peer review


    Researchers are required to submit a signed statement of approval from the sponsoring organization.

    Peer review

    A peer review process may be required for non pre-approved applicants. Visit the Guidelines page for more information.

    Pre-approved applicants include those that hold the rank of tenured Associate Professor or Full Professor at an accredited Canadian university (this would exclude teaching only positions) or, are a current or past Academic Director of a Statistics Canada Research Data Centre.

    d. Principal Investigator information

    Principal Investigators are the lead researchers and will request their preferred location of access.

    e. Add co-investigators (if applicable)

    Principal Investigators may add other researchers (co-investigators) to their project.

  • Step 4: Submit application

    Step 4: Submit application

    Once the application is submitted, Principal Investigators (PIs) may log into the portal to check their application approval status at any time.

Part 2: Next steps

An employee of Statistics Canada will send an email to the Principal Investigator with information on how to proceed once a decision has been made on the project.

All approved applicants must become Deemed Employees of Statistics Canada to access the data. A Deemed Employee is someone who is not currently an employee of Statistics Canada, who is retained to provide a service to Statistics Canada, and who needs access to information provided by the Statistics Act to perform that service.

For more information on becoming a Deemed Employee of Statistics Canada, please consult the Frequently asked questions section.

For more information on the application process visit the Contact information page.

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