Canadian COVID-19 Antibody and Health Survey (CCAHS)

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Have you been invited to participate in this survey via email or mail? To log in to the survey, complete the following steps.

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?

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

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As COVID-19 continues to disrupt daily life, we must manage the impacts of the pandemic, while preparing for future waves. This includes taking steps to ensure Canadians can access future treatment and vaccines. To do this, it is important that we learn as much as possible about the virus, how it affects overall health, how it spreads, and whether we are developing antibodies against it.

This unique survey will collect information in two parts. The first part is an electronic questionnaire about general health and exposure to COVID-19. The second part is an at-home finger-prick blood test, which is sent to a lab to determine the presence of COVID-19 antibodies.

Even if you do not think you have been exposed to COVID-19, your information will provide valuable answers about the virus. You will also receive a copy of your lab report, providing you with valuable information about your own health.

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

Collection periods:

From November 2, 2020 to March 26, 2021

Collection methods:

Step 1: Electronic questionnaire

Step 2: At-home finger-prick blood test

Survey participation:
Voluntary — for those people who receive a survey invitation and kit in the mail.
  • 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 Data sharing agreements and record linkage

    Data sharing agreements and record linkage

    Data sharing agreements

    For all respondents:

    To avoid duplication of surveys, Statistics Canada may enter into agreements to share the data from this survey, including name, address, telephone number and health card number, with provincial and territorial ministries of health, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada. For Quebec residents, Statistics Canada may also enter into an agreement with the "Institut de la Statistique du Québec" to share the same information.

    The "Institut de la Statistique du Québec" and provincial ministries of health may make this data available to local health authorities. Local health authorities will not receive any identifiers, only the postal code.

    For respondents aged 15 years and older:

    To reduce the number of questions in this questionnaire, Statistics Canada will use information from your tax forms submitted to the Canada Revenue Agency. With your consent Statistics Canada will share this information from your tax forms with your provincial and territorial ministries of health, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

    Quebec residents will also have their tax form information shared with the "Institut de la statistique du Québec".

    These organizations have agreed to keep the information confidential and to use it only for statistical and research purposes.

    Record linkage

    To enhance the data from this survey and to minimize the reporting burden for respondents, Statistics Canada will combine your responses with information from the tax data of all members of your household. Statistics Canada and the ministry of health for your home province or territory may also add information from other surveys or administrative sources.

    For Quebec residents, the "Institut de la Statistique du Québec" may add information from other surveys or administrative sources.

  • Block Information on Topics covered in the survey

    Topics covered in the survey

    This survey asks questions about

    • COVID-19 background information:
      • symptoms
      • health status
      • risk of contraction
      • risk factors.
    • Health information:
      • health behaviour
      • health assessment.
    • COVID-19 antibodies.
  • 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 engine 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.

  • CCAHS Biobank

    CCAHS Biobank

    As part of the Canadian COVID-19 Antibody and Health Survey (CCAHS), dried blood spot samples (biospecimens) are collected from consenting participants. With participants' consent, these samples are then stored at the CCAHS Biobank located at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg for use in future health studies.

  • Block Information on Survey-specific questions

    Survey-specific questions

    What are the objectives of this survey?

    It is important that we learn as much as possible about the COVID-19 virus, how it affects overall health, how it spreads, and whether we are developing antibodies against it. Data from this survey will help evaluate health status associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the prevalence of infection (even without symptoms), among a representative sample of Canadians.

    How is the survey conducted?

    A random sample of 48,000 people will receive a package in the mail that includes an invitation to complete an online survey, and a dried blood spot (DBS) kit with instructions (printed brochure and a link to video). For people under 15 years of age, a parent or guardian will complete the questionnaire on their child's behalf. Participants will submit their dried blood spot sample, via Canada Post in a prepaid and preaddressed envelope, to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. The DBS test card has only an identification number; it has no personal or confidential information.

    How long does it take to complete the survey?

    It takes about 20 minutes to complete the electronic questionnaire and 10 minutes to do the dried blood spot (DBS) sample. The blood spots need to dry for at least 3 hours before being packaged for shipping.

    Why is it important to have my dried blood spot sample?

    The dried blood spot (DBS) sample is important because it allows us to estimate how many Canadians test positive for antibodies even if they have never had symptoms of COVID-19.

    For more info about the DBS, please refer to the brochure.

    How was this survey developed?

    Statistics Canada developed the survey content through consultations with its partners, Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, and the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force. We have consulted with Health Canada's research ethics board and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. This process ensures that the survey will provide data that meet the research needs and priorities of the health research community in Canada, while protecting the confidentiality of information from participants.

    How will the data be used? Who will use it?

    Objective statistical information is vital to researchers, analysts and decision makers across Canada. Results of the Canadian COVID-19 Antibody and Health Survey could be used by:

    • Parliament and other policy makers, to track major initiatives, set priorities for prevention and research programs, and evaluate policy and program outcomes
    • epidemiologists, biomedical and health service researchers, to understand trends in diseases and the relationship of observed risk factors to diseases
    • public health professionals, to track preventable illnesses and evaluate the impact of prevention and intervention programs
    • advocacy groups, to raise awareness and assist in their surveillance of health issues and health disparities.

    Can people volunteer to participate in the Canadian COVID-19 Antibody and Health Survey (CCAHS)?

    No. Participants are chosen randomly in order to ensure the survey sample represents the Canadian population; they cannot be replaced by anyone else. It is essential that we respect this random selection to ensure the information collected is as reliable and accurate as possible. Therefore, if someone was not chosen to participate in the survey, they cannot volunteer.

    If I consent to participate, do I have to do all the parts of the survey?

    A participant may choose to withdraw from any part of the survey at any time. Also, participants may choose not to answer specific questions if they make them feel uncomfortable.

    When will I get my test results from the dried blood spot (DBS)?

    With your consent, we will send you a report of your final lab results as soon as they are available after they have been analyzed. Timing will depend on the volume of tests that laboratories need to process. Regardless of whether or not a person develops antibodies against the COVID-19 virus, they should continue to follow recommendations from Public Health in order to keep everyone safe.

    Your results will not represent a medical diagnosis, so if you are worried about your health, we suggest that you set up an appointment with your doctor or other health care professional.

    What are antibodies?

    When you are exposed to a new virus, your immune system creates proteins called antibodies to help protect you from infection. Because COVID-19 is a new disease, not much is known about the benefits of having antibodies against it, how long the antibodies last, or if they provide protection against future infection.

    Regardless of whether or not a person develops antibodies against the COVID-19 virus, they should continue to follow recommendations from Public Health in order to keep everyone safe.

    What does a positive or negative test result mean?

    Regardless of whether you test positive or negative, continue to take steps to protect yourself and others, and follow public health guidelines. If your test results are positive it may mean you were exposed to the COVID-19 virus and your body made antibodies against the virus. You may test positive for antibodies even if you have never had symptoms of COVID-19, which can happen if you had an asymptomatic infection. Having antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 may provide protection from getting infected with the virus again, but we do not know how much protection, or how long it may last. If your test is negative, antibodies against the COVID-19 virus were not found in your blood.

    How does Statistics Canada protect the confidentiality/privacy of participants?

    The Statistics Act ensures that any information you provide to us remains strictly confidential. No unauthorized persons outside of Statistics Canada will ever be permitted to see your individual responses. Statistics Canada will not disclose individual lab results to anyone without participants' consent. Under the Statistics Act, individuals' information is collected, used and disseminated for statistical purposes only. For the Canadian COVID-19 Antibody and Health Survey (CCAHS), we have consulted with a wide range of experts in the areas of science, ethics, privacy and law to ensure we have every safeguard in place to store your samples securely and ensure your privacy and the confidentiality of your data. The blood samples will be treated like all other data collected by Statistics Canada. Under the authority of the Statistics Act, samples and data in the (CCAHS) biobank will always be kept secure and confidential.

    Why does Statistics Canada want to know personal information such as my gender, postal code, or total income?

    When your data reaches Statistics Canada—whether from surveys or administrative sources—some of it is used to create a demographic profile. Then, we remove personal identifiers and only retain information such as age, gender, income, and geographical location. This data is merged with that of other people who share the same demographic profile (for example, groupings based on the same age, gender, income or geographical location). Even if questions related to personal information may seem irrelevant to the subject of the survey, they provide a deeper knowledge of respondents' characteristics, which allows us to create a representative sample of the Canadian population. By analyzing this large database, researchers are able to observe emerging patterns and trends and provide important information to governments, non-profit organizations, researchers, and the wider public.

  • For more information about this survey (questionnaires, definitions, data sources and methods used): survey number 5339
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