The RTRA system is an on-line remote access facility allowing users to run SAS programs, in real-time, against microdata sets located in a central and secure location. Researchers using the RTRA system do not gain direct access to the microdata and cannot view the content of the microdata file. Instead, users submit SAS programs to extract results in the form of frequency tables. As RTRA researchers cannot view the microdata, becoming a deemed employees of Statistics Canada is no longer necessary. This relationship is the basis that allows the RTRA to service its clients rapidly.
The RTRA complements existing methods of access to anonymized microdata, including the research data centres. Using a secure username and password, the RTRA provides around the clock access to survey results from any computer with internet access. Confidentiality of the microdata is automated in the RTRA system, eliminating the need for manual intervention and allowing for rapid access to results.