Toronto Region-Statistics Canada Research Data Centre

Newsletter Number 1, September 2001


This is the first of a regular series of newsletters intended to keep local researchers informed of activities and new initiatives at the Toronto Region-Statistics Canada Research Data Centre, which will be opening in just a few weeks on the 7th floor of Robarts Library. We urge all interested faculty and graduate students to apply now for access, using the procedures outlined below.
The rest of this newsletter is written by Tina Hotton, our new Statistics Canada RDC analyst. Tina will be the first point of contact concerning access to data, and she will be the person working with us to promote and facilitate our research in the RDC.  If you know of interested potential users please forward this newsletter at your discretion.  Tina and I are available to visit groups / units/ departments across all three participating campuses to discuss submission of proposals with you. Information for contacting one or both of us is given at the end of the newsletter.
Blair Wheaton,
Academic Director

Statistics Canada data available for analysis

The Toronto Region-Statistics Canada Research Data Centre (RDC) is one of nine Centres located in universities across Canada that will provide researchers easy access to confidential survey data collected by Statistics Canada.  The survey data available will include the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY), the National Population Health Survey (NPHS), the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID) and the longitudinal Youth in Transition Survey (YITS).  Researchers may submit a proposal to access one of these longitudinal surveys or other Statistics Canada cross-sectional master files.

How is survey data available at the RDC different from public-use files available through your DLI librarian?

The RDC houses Statistics Canada master files with full survey content (excluding the names and addresses of respondents).  This greatly enhances the types of analyses that researchers can undertake with Statistics Canada public-use microdata.  Most importantly, access to unique case identifiers on files enables researchers to merge several cycles of NLSCY, SLID or NPHS data into a single longitudinal file. 
Although the primary mission of the RDC is to make longitudinal surveys available to researchers in a secure environment, researchers may also submit proposals to access other cross-sectional Statistics Canada data files, e.g., the General Social Survey (GSS), the National Graduate Survey (NGS), and the Labour Force Survey (LFS) to name a few.  In addition, there are variables that are collapsed into broad categories or suppressed altogether on public-use files to protect the confidentiality of respondents.  The master files that will be made available at the RDC will not suppress any variables and the original ranges of values will be available for all variables. 
For example, for those interested in spatial analyses, the availability of geographic identifiers will be a great resource.  In addition, researchers interested in working with multi-level models will be able to submit proposals requesting cross-sectional or longitudinal survey data files linked with geographic indicators from the Census (contextual information such as the characteristics of enumeration areas, census tracts or census metropolitan areas – not individual level Census data).
This enhanced access to Statistics Canada data is possible at the RDCs because it will operate under the same security provisions as any other Statistics Canada office.  This includes the use of physical access controls, stand-alone computers and the vetting of output to ensure it complies with confidentiality policies.   The RDC program will work collaboratively with Data Library Service to ensure that Statistics Canada survey data is used to the fullest extent possible.

Resources available at the Toronto RDC?

The Toronto Region-Statistics Canada RDC offers a convenient research environment for faculty and students at the University of Toronto, York University and Ryerson University.  The RDC will be equipped with state of the art computers and a wide range of specialized statistical analysis software.  The RDC will be staffed with a full-time Statistics Canada Analyst, Tina Hotton, who will provide guidance on using the survey datafiles and ensure the security of the microdata.  David Haans, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, will also work at the RDC on a part-time basis to provide statistical support for users.

How to access the Toronto Region-Statistics Canada RDC?

To access the RDC researchers must submit a project proposal to a review committee operating under the auspices of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and Statistics Canada.  The process is done through an on-line application system accessible at (
SSHRC should normally communicate the committee’s decision within four to eight weeks of the date of applications.  Because of this timeline, researchers should submit their proposals as soon as possible for research to start in the fall.  Documentation and data dictionaries for the NLSCY, NPHS and SLID are available at our new RDC web site ( to help you identify the kinds of variables that will be available on the longitudinal surveys.

RDC location and opening date

The Toronto Region-Statistics Canada RDC will be located on the 7th floor of Robarts Library, University of Toronto (130 St. George Street).  The RDC will open in late September/early October.

Contact us

If you would like more information about the RDC or the proposal submission process please contact either the on-site Statistics Canada Analyst, Tina Hotton, by e-mail or by phone (416-978-5968), or Blair Wheaton by phone (416-978-7065).  We would be happy to come to your Department in the fall to meet with faculty and graduate students to provide more information on opportunities at the RDC.
This newsletter, and other documentation, is also available on our website at (