Real Time Remote Access (RTRA) application process and guidelines

Inquiries about the application process and fees associated with the RTRA program can be directed to

Step 1: Eligibility
Step 2: Preparing an application
Step 3: Submitting an application
Step 4: Processing of the application
Step 5: Purchase Confirmation (PC) with Statistics Canada
Step 6: Accessing the RTRA system
Step 7: Extending an RTRA account

Step 1: Eligibility

The researcher or project team must be associated with a government department, non-profit organization, or an academic institution. Application request to access the RTRA may be submitted for research purposes. For more information, consult the FAQ portion of the website.

Individuals requesting analytical products beyond descriptive and cross-tabular output may wish to explore other options for data access:

Step 2: Preparing an application

Please contact the RTRA program at to request an application form. All applicants must use the form provided by an RTRA agent in order for the application to be processed.

Please be prepared to provide the following information in the application form:

  1. Contact name
  2. Phone and fax number
  3. Email
  4. Work address in full
  5. Applicant’s affiliation
    • For government departments and non-governmental organizations, state the affiliated department and division.
    • For universities and colleges, state the institution, faculty, and department.
  6. Project title
  7. Rationale for data access through RTRA
    • Briefly describe the objectives for accessing microdata through the RTRA. Details of the research questions are not required - a general research mandate is sufficient.
  8. Consultant, casual or contract worker
    • If you are on contract with a government department or an academic institution please include a copy of your employment contract and résumé with the application.
    • Project start and end dates
      • Your RTRA account will be active for the duration of time stated on the approved application.

Once the application has been completed by the applicant, the application form must be submitted via mail (please refer to Step 3).

Step 3: Submitting an application

The application form must be approved by the delegated authority (or authorized signatory) at your department or institution. Send all signed original documentation to:

RTRA, Microdata Access Division
Statistics Canada
R.H. Coats Building, Floor 10, Section J
100 Tunney's Pasture Driveway
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0T6

Step 4: Processing of the application

Processing time for RTRA applications can range from one to two weeks.

Each application is reviewed and signed by the RTRA Manager. Applications are approved based on the requirements in Step 2.

Note that all RTRA applications may be subject to comments from reviewers who would like clarification on the use of data sets. These applications cannot move forward through the review process without a response from the applicant. The applicant therefore has 1 month to respond to these comments from the date they receive reviewers' notification of an application under review.

If, at the end of 1 month, the reviewers do not receive a response from the applicant, the application will be marked as incomplete; their application will be withdrawn from the system and the applicant must re-apply.

If the applicant chooses to withdraw the application, and resubmit at a later date, they will need to include all previous review comments and their revisions in order to facilitate the review process.

Step 5: Purchase Confirmation with Statistics Canada

The approved application becomes a Purchase Confirmation (PC) between Statistics Canada, the sponsoring organization, and researcher. The PC specifies the following terms of access:

  • Remote access to microdata files identified on the application form.
  • Agreement from the researchers to abide by the Open Licence and the RTRA terms and conditions for security and confidentiality requirements. For more information visit the Statistics Canada Open Licence Agreement page to consult the RTRA terms and conditions.
  • The researcher shall name Statistics Canada as the source of the data and include a disclaimer to the effect that the findings in the research reflect the ideas and opinions of the researcher and not those of Statistics Canada. Refer to the following citation guide for more information: How to Cite Statistics Canada Products.
  • Projects for indeterminate/permanent employees follow the fiscal year (April 1 – March 31). Casual/contractors follow the project duration with a limit to March 31 with option of an extension (should the organization choose to extend). Contract workers RTRA account will be active for the duration of time stated on the approved application

Step 6: Accessing the RTRA system

Once the application is approved, the applicant will receive an email notification containing a URL link, a username, a password and other access instructions. Visit the following site for the The RTRA system - User guide.

For new RTRA users, a training session will be offered.

Step 7: Extending an RTRA account

If a contract extension is required, please contact to request a copy of an extension form.