Labour Force Survey (LFS)

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Are you participating in the Labour Force Survey (LFS) for the first time?

If you received a letter inviting you to participate in the LFS, it means that you are a new participant. We will contact you by phone to conduct the initial interview. In the next few months, you will be asked to complete a shorter LFS survey by electronic questionnaire or by phone.

Have you been invited through email or via a letter to complete your survey online this month?

If you received a letter, you will find your secure access code in the top right corner of the letter in a grey box.

Participants that are invited to complete their survey online can log in to the survey by following the steps below.

Step 1: Visit the electronic questionnaire portal and select Start my survey.

Step 2: Enter your secure access code (you will find this code in the invitation letter or email you previously received from Statistics Canada).

Step 3: Complete the survey.

Are you missing your secure access code, or do you need help?

If you received an invitation letter, make sure that you are using the 16-digit code that is displayed in the top right of the letter under the heading: Log in using your secure access code. For any other questions on how to start your survey please call the number below.

Phone:

1-877-949-9492
(TTY: 1-800-363-7629)
Monday to Friday (except holidays) from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Eastern time

If you use an operator-assisted relay service, you can call us during regular business hours. You do not need to authorize the operator to contact us.

Email:

 

The Labour Force Survey is a monthly survey which measures the current state of the Canadian labour market and is used, among other things, to calculate the national, provincial, territorial and regional employment and unemployment rates. The survey results are used to make important decisions regarding job creation, education and training, retirement pensions and income support.

At this time, as Canadians continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to have an accurate picture of the job situation, the cost of living, and the economy. Data will be used to guide government decisions and assist Canadians through these challenging times.

Your information may also be used by Statistics Canada for other statistical and research purposes.

Collection period:

Monthly survey

The survey is usually conducted around the third week every month and results are published early the next month.

Interviews are held during the day and in the evening, including weekends and statutory holidays.

Collection methods:

Initial interview: Telephone only

Subsequent interviews: Telephone. In certain cases, the follow-up LFS survey may be completed by electronic questionnaire.

Some participants may receive a reminder letter when we are unable to contact them. It is important that they call us back.

Since March 2020, the LFS collection methods have been adapted to ensure the health and safety of Statistics Canada interviewers and participants. Some participants may complete the survey online via an electronic questionnaire for monthly follow-ups. These participants will be contacted through email or invitation letter. Face-to-face interviews for new participants that used to take place in participants’ homes have been replaced by telephone interviews.

Survey participation:

Mandatory under the Statistics Act.

In view of the importance of the results from the Labour Force Survey, your participation in the survey is mandatory under the Statistics Act.

In order to ensure data accuracy, Statistics Canada counts on the cooperation and goodwill of Canadians—coast to coast—included in the survey sample.

  • Block Information Confidentiality

    Confidentiality

    Data are collected under the authority of the Statistics Act, Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, Chapter S-19. Your information will be kept strictly confidential.

  • Block Information on Record linkage

    Record linkage

    To enhance the data from this survey and reduce response burden, Statistics Canada may combine the information you provide with data from other surveys or administrative sources.

  • Block Information on Topics covered in the survey

    Topics covered in the survey

    The survey asks questions about

    • labour market activities.
  • Block Information on Published data

    Published data

    Statistics Canada publishes the results of its surveys in many formats. To find all the documents related to this survey, follow the links below and type the name of the survey in the search box located at the left of your screen to filter the results.

    Data: You will find tables, profiles of a community or region, thematic maps, public use microdata files, and data visualization tools.

    Analysis: You will have direct access to Stats in brief (e.g., releases from The Daily, fact sheets), articles and reports, and journals and periodicals.

  • Block Information on Frequently asked question

    Frequently asked questions

    What is the Labour Force Survey?

    The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is a household survey carried out monthly by Statistics Canada. It is the only source of current, monthly estimates of total employment and unemployment. While LFS is best known for the unemployment rate, it also produces a great deal of information on a variety of labour-related issues.

    Who is surveyed?

    The survey is conducted in 54,000 households across Canada. Information is obtained from all members of the selected household who are 15 years old and older, whether they work or not.

    Why and how was my household selected?

    It would be costly and impractical to survey each and every household in Canada. Instead, Statistics Canada employs a statistical method known as sampling. Sampling is an established way to determine the characteristics of an entire population by using the answers of a much smaller, randomly chosen sample. In order to ensure that the sample is an accurate reflection of the population as a whole, the survey results from all sampled households must be collected.

    Why are Statistics Canada interviewers conducting survey collection in regions/provinces that have temporary public health restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

    For mandatory and essential surveys, such as the Labour Force Survey, there are some regions where we have not been able to reach the required response rates. We need the assistance of interviewers to visit households and make contact with respondents, while maintaining a two-metre distance, to deliver reminder letters or make appointments to complete the survey by telephone. With the support and participation of selected households, we can continue to produce accurate employment data for these regions.

    The LFS is important for your region because…

    • Your participation in the survey gives governments the necessary information to plan important programs, such as Employment Insurance, that support Canadians who are looking for paid work. Your answers help guide government decisions and assist Canadians during these challenging times.
    • During the COVID-19 pandemic in particular, when many Canadians find themselves unemployed, underemployed, or working without any job security, it's more important than ever for you to tell us about your experience with the job market.
    • Help us make governments work better for you. By taking part in this survey, you help paint a complete and accurate picture of Canada's workforce.

    What protective measures are in place to assure health and safety?

    All Statistics Canada interviewers wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). They protect themselves and others by:

    • Wearing a three-layer mask and using hand sanitizer whenever required.
    • Maintaining a two-metre (six feet) physical distance from others.
    • Never entering any dwellings.
    • Clearly displaying their Statistics Canada photo identification card at all times.

    Why don't I have the option to complete the survey online?

    While the online option is available for some households in the subsequent interviews, generally speaking, initial interview and follow-up interviews have to be completed over the phone with an interviewer to simplify the collection of participants' information.

    I don't work, why do you include me in your survey?

    Retired persons, students, unpaid family workers and others not looking for work are included because we need their information in order to estimate the participation rate. The participation rate is the size of the labour force as a percentage of the population 15 years of age and over.

    Why do you ask questions that are not related to employment?

    It is possible that at the end of the interview, the interviewer asks you questions that are not related to work; for example, you could be asked questions about income, support payments, inter-household transfers, disability, unmet health care needs, food security, and characteristics and costs of housing. There are some surveys such as the Canadian Income Survey which use the same sample as the LFS to collect information for their survey. This initiative results in substantial cost savings for Statistics Canada.

    Why do I have to complete the Labour Force Survey Supplement—Labour Market Impacts of COVID-19?

    In the provinces, Canadians selected to complete the LFS are in sample for six months. During that time, you may be selected to respond to the survey supplement following the completion of the main LFS survey. The supplement consists of several questions related to various effects of COVID-19 on the labour market.

    While participation in this supplement is voluntary, the information you provide is important in building reliable data for Canadians. The results will allow for the measurement of the degree to which Canadians, businesses and governments have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also help to better understand labour market impacts of COVID-19 on diverse groups of Canadians.

    Who uses the survey data? Why is it important?

    The results from the Labour Force Survey have many uses. All levels of government rely on employment and unemployment information from the survey. For example, its information is used to determine Employment Insurance eligibility as well as the size and duration of the program's benefits.

    Data from the survey are also factored into the calculation of gross domestic product (GDP), an aggregate measure of economic production. Among its many other uses, the GDP is an important factor in determining the size of transfers from the federal government to the provinces.

    The survey's data also help determine the Bank of Canada interest rate. The Bank of Canada is constantly monitoring the effects of its policies to see if they are having the intended effect on financial markets, spending, production, employment and ultimately inflation. Financial markets also look to the survey's numbers to predict what the Bank of Canada might do with interest rates.

    Because it provides valuable information on the success of various programs (or potentially the need for new ones), the LFS is closely monitored by a number of government departments. For example, those concerned with adjustments to retirement and pension funding monitor information on the employment situation of older workers. Also closely watched by policy and program developers are data on youth employment and unemployment to see how these young people are entering the workforce.

    Trends in self-employment by sector are followed closely by those interested in the role played by small and medium-sized businesses in job creation and economic growth.

    Finally, each month the media gives much coverage to the survey results as they are recognized as one of the most important signs of how the economy is performing.

    How do I access survey results?

    Results are released monthly in The Daily approximately 10 working days after the survey is completed.

    Consult Published data to obtain survey data and analysis on the Labour Force Survey.

    Where can I get more information about the survey?

    Contact us for more information about the Labour Force Survey.

  • For more information about this survey (questionnaires, definitions, data sources and methods used): survey number 3701

Labour Force Survey Supplement—Labour Market Impacts of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is currently disrupting the lives and habits of all Canadians. It is therefore necessary to quickly gather information to help understand its impacts on their social and employment circumstances.

Your information may also be used by Statistics Canada for other statistical and research purposes.

Collection period:
From July 18 to July 27, 2021
Collection methods:
Telephone interview and electronic questionnaire
Survey participation:

While your participation in the Labour Force Survey is mandatory under the Statistics Act, participation in the Labour Force Survey supplement—Labour Market Impacts of COVID-19 is voluntary.

  • Block Information Confidentiality

    Confidentiality

    Data are collected under the authority of the Statistics Act, Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, Chapter S-19. Your information will be kept strictly confidential.

  • Block Information on Record linkage

    Record linkage

    The information you provide may also be used by Statistics Canada for other statistical and research purposes or may be combined with other survey or administrative data sources.

  • Block Information on Topics covered in the survey

    Topics covered in the survey

    The survey asks questions about

    • working from home
    • membership of a visible minority group
    • employment insurance benefits
    • concerns and personal impacts of COVID-19
    • financial security of the household.
  • Block Information on Published data

    Published data

    Statistics Canada publishes the results of its surveys in many formats. To find all the documents related to this survey, follow the links below and type the name of the survey in the search box located at the left of your screen to filter the results.

    Data: You will find tables, profiles of a community or region, thematic maps, public use microdata files, and data visualization tools.

    Analysis: You will have direct access to Stats in brief (e.g., releases from The Daily, fact sheets), articles and reports, and journals and periodicals.

  • For more information about this survey (questionnaires, definitions, data sources and methods used): survey number 3701
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