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 and the restrictions in place.

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) as outlined below.

Academic and federal government researchers can apply for access to microdata for research projects through the MAP. 

Researchers can submit a request to access samples from the Statistics Canada biobank.

Provincial or Territorial government researchers cannot request access through the MAP at this time.

New record linkages require additional approval from Statistics Canada. The linkage must be conducted at Statistics Canada. Moreover, fees may be charged for this service.

If you require a new microdata linkage for social data, do not submit your request through the MAP. Visit the Social Data Linkage Environment webpage for more information on social microdata linkage at Statistics Canada.

If you require a new microdata linkage for business data, do not submit your request through the MAP. Visit the Linkable File Environment webpage for more information on business microdata linkage at Statistics Canada.

Application forms

Part 1: Steps for submitting an application

Follow steps 1-5 to apply for access to microdata through the Microdata Access Portal (MAP). The steps below serve as a guide to preparing the online application.

  • Step 1: Create an account

    Step 1: Create an account

    New users need to register for an account in the MAP. This account can be used for all projects submitted through the MAP and account settings can be updated as required.

  • Step 2: Determine type of application

    Step 2: Determine type of application

    Principal Investigators (PIs) will answer a series of questions that will determine the type of application. This includes questions about the project origin and the project type.

    Origin of the project

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

    Government-funded project

    A 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.

    Other project

    Some projects will not fall into the two categories above. In this case, choose 'other' as the project type.

    Type of project

    Below is an explanation of the various types of projects that will help you determine which item to choose for your MAP application. Only one project type can be selected for each project.

    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.

    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.

    e. Data validation project

    Researchers performing data validation activities on behalf of Statistics Canada. Contact the Statistics Canada employee who requested your assistance with data validation activities.

    f. Academic course

    Faculty requesting access to microdata for the purpose of teaching a graduate level course on methodology related to complex survey data analysis should visit the User Community page and contact their local analyst.

    Once all the questions above have been answered, the type of application will be confirmed.

  • Step 3: Provide project information

    Step 3: Provide project information

    Note: You will need to upload supporting documents. See the Data Access Application Checklist on the Application forms page.

    a. Project details

    Researchers are required to provide information about their project request as listed below:

    • What is the title of your project?
      The title will show up on your dashboard.
    • What are the expected dates for your project?
      Insert the requested start date or click the 'as soon as possible' check box. Project end dates are determined by the project type.
    • Upload your proposal.
      Only 1 file upload is allowed with a limit of 32MB. Project proposals should not exceed 10 pages and should be formatted following the project proposal template guidelines. Various file types can be uploaded, including rxt, rtf, pdf, doc, docx.
    • Which Statistics Canada dataset(s) will be required for the project?
      Select all datasets you require.
      If one or more datasets that you require does not appear in the drop down menu, select 'other' and type in the full name of the dataset.
    • Does your project require a new micro-record to micro-record linkage between Statistics Canada datasets or with other datasets?
      If you are requesting the use of an already linked data file that is part of the datasets collection available in the RDCs, you must answer "No".
      New record linkages require additional approval from Statistics Canada. The linkage must be conducted at Statistics Canada. Moreover, fees may be charged for this service.
      If you require a new microdata linkage for social data, do not submit your request through the MAP. Visit the Social Data Linkage Environment webpage for more information on social microdata linkage at Statistics Canada.
      If you require a new microdata linkage for business data, do not submit your request through the MAP. Visit the Linkable File Environment webpage for more information on business microdata linkage at Statistics Canada.
    • Which software program(s) will be used to analyse the data.
      Please select all applicable software that you require from the list provided or type the name of the non-listed software in the 'other' field.
      If you need software that is not listed, additional approvals may be required and additional fees may be assessed for the project. You will be contacted by a Statistics Canada employee about the process and applicable fees during the application review phase.

    b. Billing information

    Researchers are required to submit information about the funding for their project.

    Academic research projects

    For academic research projects, all Principal Investigators must complete a Fee-for-Service Questionnaire confirming the funding arrangement for the research project and the expected primary recipient and beneficiary of the research.

    Please consult the Canadian Research Data Centre Network Access and Fee-For-Service Policy to learn more about the policy governing access fees.

    Government research projects

    For government funded research projects, the Principle Investigator must identify the sponsoring organization and provide contact information for the signatory who has financial authority to allocate funds for the project.

    c. Approval information or peer review

    Approval for government applications

    Government researchers are required to submit an Approval Letter stating that the project has been approved by the sponsoring organization.

    Peer review for academic applications

    A peer review process or equivalent is required for non pre-approved applicants.

    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 (RDC).
    Peer review equivalency for students

    Students applying as the Principal Investigator must include a letter of support from the academic supervisor confirming that the student's supervisor or supervisory committee has reviewed and approved the proposed project.

    Peer review process for non pre-approved applicants with funding

    Applicants who are not pre-approved but have obtained a peer review from an adjudicated funding process must upload their approval letter.

    Peer review process for non pre-approved applicants without funding

    Applicants who are not pre-approved and do not have funding from an adjudicated funding process must complete a Peer review form.

    Documents for international researchers not residing in Canada

    The letters below apply to international researchers who do not hold one of the following: Canadian Citizenship, or Canadian permanent residency, Canadian work visa or Canadian student visa. An international researcher must provide a Canadian work visa or Canadian student visa. International researchers applying for data access are required to name a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada as a co-investigator

    Letter of reference

    The Letter of Reference must be supplied by one of the following:

    • A co-investigator who is a researcher affiliated with a Canadian university
    • A faculty member from the university with which the applicant is affiliated
    • The Canadian sponsoring organization or government department
    • The international organization with which the researcher is employed
    Letter of acknowledgment (students only)

    International student researchers must provide a Letter of Acknowledgement from their affiliated institution.

  • Step 4: Investigator profiles

    Step 4: Investigator profiles

    All investigators who are part of an academic research project must upload a curriculum vitae (CV) to their profile in the MAP. CVs are optional for government researchers, however, a file must be uploaded.

    The CV should demonstrate research experience and technical competence that may include:

    • most significant research contributions
    • graduate student supervision
    • membership in professional bodies (e.g., professional associations or societies, grant evaluation committees, etc.)
    • funded research projects
    • research chairs or other awards recognizing research achievements
    • relevant presentations to government or non-government groups
    • invited lectures
    • refereed publications in the past 5 years that illustrate technical competence

    Principal Investigator information

    A Principal Investigator (PI) is the lead researcher on the project and is responsible for the communication about the project and project contract with Statistic Canada. The PI selects their primary location of access.

    Add co-investigators (if applicable)

    Principal Investigators may add other researchers (co-investigators) to their project by adding the full name and email address. If the co-investigator already has a profile in the MAP please ensure you enter the correct email address to avoid creating two accounts.

    Students applying for a project that forms a part of their thesis or dissertation, as well as post-doctoral fellows undertaking self-directed research, are required to list an academic supervisor as a co-investigator.

    Co-investigators will be sent an automated email inviting them to join the microdata access project which will include information about the project and a link to update their personal profile.

    Only the Principal Investigator can add or remove co-investigators from a project. Once a project has been submitted through the MAP, a request to add or remove co-investigators should be made by contacting your Research Data Centre analyst.

  • Step 5: Submit application

    Step 5: Submit application

    Once the application is submitted, Principal Investigators can check their application status on their dashboard.

Part 2: Next steps

Statistics Canada will email 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.

In order to become a deemed employee, the following steps must be completed:

  • Obtain a security clearance

    Obtain a security clearance

    The process for obtaining a valid clearance (Reliability status) is completed with the assistance of the local analyst.

    Security screening requirements

    Applicants are required to:

    • Submit the Personnel Screening, Consent, and Authorization Form and supporting documentation
      • Additional documentation is required for applicants who have lived abroad for six months or longer within the last five years
    • Undergo a credit check
      • Applicants provide their consent for the credit check when completing the screening form (no further action is required)
    • Undergo fingerprinting as part of a criminal record check
      • Please note that a fee of approximately $50 may apply. This fee is not reimbursed by Statistics Canada

    Supporting identification and documents needed for security screening

    The identification and documents listed below are required for submission of the Personnel Screening, Consent and Authorization Form. Please bring the following documents to the Orientation session (not required for Federal government employees).

    Researcher status Identification and Documents
    Born in Canada
    • Canadian passport (alternative: Birth certificate, Citizenship card, or Citizenship certificate)
    • Photo ID (ex. Driver's license) if document provided from the list above does not contain a photo
    • Proof of current address*
    Not born in Canada, and now a Canadian citizen
    • Canadian passport or Citizenship card (alternative: Canadian Citizenship certificate)
    • Photo Identification (ex. Driver's license) if document provided from the list above does not contain a photo
    • Proof of current address*
    Permanent Resident
    • Passport
    • Permanent resident card
    • Proof of current address*
    International researchers (researchers possessing a work/study permit)
    • Passport
    • Work/study permit
    • Proof of current address/local residence
    *For example, Driver's license, copy of utility bill, or rental agreement.

    In addition to the above requirements, applicants who lived outside of Canada continuously for 6 months or longer within the last 5 years require a police certificate from each foreign country or where they have lived. A police certificate provides a summary of an individual's criminal record or a declaration of the absence of any criminal record from that country.

    Requesting translation

    All police certificates or alternate documents must be submitted in either English or French. If the documents are in another language, they must be translated.

    The translated document must accompany the original document when submitted.

    Costs to the applicant

    Applicants will need to cover any costs associated with the out-of-country verification process. These costs may include fees to obtain a police certificate or alternative documents, to have documents translated.

  • Attend an orientation session

    Attend an orientation session

    Orientation session

    Statistics Canada will invite the research team to attend an orientation session at their Research Data Centre. The following will take place during the orientation:

    • The Oath (or Affirmation) of Office and Secrecy will be administered by the Statistics Canada analyst
    • Training on confidentiality, vetting, conflict of interest and code of conduct will be provided

    Oath (or Affirmation) of Office and Secrecy

    The Statistics Act Oath or Solemn Affirmation of Office and Secrecy is a requirement of the Statistics Act. The Oath sworn (or affirmed) indicates that the Deemed Employee promises to never disclose any identifiable information about individual respondents.

  • Declare any conflict of interest related to the use of the data

    Declare any conflict of interest related to the use of the data

    A conflict of interest is a situation whereby a person has private interests or outside activities and uses their data access for personal gain, or could be perceived by a reasonable observer as doing so.

    Should you feel that there may be a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest between your personal interests or outside activities and your data access, you are required to formally disclose these interests or outside activities. For more information please visit the MAP support section on the Contact information page.

  • Sign an agreement for data access with Statistics Canada

    Sign an agreement for data access with Statistics Canada

    The Agreement specifies the terms of conditions of data access, including:

    • Agreement of Statistics Canada to provide access to confidential microdata for the purpose and scope of the research outlined in the approved research proposal
    • Project start and end date
    • Agreement of the researchers to abide by Statistics Canada's security and confidentiality requirements
    • Agreement of the Principal Investigator to provide a final product to Statistics Canada at the end of the contract

    Approval of the Agreement

    The Agreement becomes valid when signed by the Director of Statistics Canada's Data Access Division. The Director signs the contract when:

    • The project has been approved
    • The members of the research team have obtained a valid security clearance
    • All conflict of interest situations have been resolved
    • All members of the research team have signed the agreement (other signatures may be required for Government-funded projects)

    Once the contract is signed, Statistics Canada will notify the research team that access to the data may commence.

Date modified: