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Statistics Canada Data

The Quebec Inter-University Centre for Social Statistics (QICSS) offers Quebec's research community secure access to detailed microdata from Statistics Canada's surveys and Canadian censuses, as well as to an increasing number of administrative datasets.

Public-use versions of most cross-sectional surveys are also made available by Statistics Canada. For more information, please visit our Resources page.

Although the procedure varies slightly depending on the type of research and your function, it always comes down to three steps. For detailed procedures based on your situation, please consult the Statistics Canada website.

Access procedure

1. Draft a project proposal

The project proposal (usually around 1 to 2 pages, maximum 10 pages) must describe your research and include the following elements:

  • Title of the Project;
  • Rationale and objectives of the study;
  • Proposed data analysis and software requirements;
  • Data requirements;
  • Expected project start and end dates;
  • Expected products;
  • Reference (sources used in the proposal or for specific analytical methods employed).

2. Submit the proposal for approval

Academic researchers must submit their proposal online through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) web applicationMasters and Doctoral Students are also required to include a letter of support from the academic supervisor confirming that the student's supervisory committee has reviewed and approved the proposed project research. The letter of support is submitted by academic supervisor through the  SSHRC online web application. The academic supervisor must be co-researcher on the project from his student. It should therefore be registered as a supervisor in "team members" in the SSHRC online web application. Please note that projects involving academics hired as consultants under a contract from the provincial or federal government or a third party may be considered as cost recovery projects.

Government of Quebec Researchers must submit their research proposal by email to [email protected]. Note that your project will need to be approved by the Secrétariat aux affaires intergouvernementales canadiennes (SAIC). Fees apply.

Researchers who are not from an academic institution, nor are receiving funding for the project from the Government of Quebec must submit their research proposal by email to [email protected]. Fees apply.

3. Sign a contract and obtain a security clearance

Once the research proposal is approved, all members of the team must sign the research contract and complete the security screening process.

The security screening process consists of completing this form, signing an oath of office, attending an orientation session with the Statistics Canada analyst responsible for the project, providing your fingerprints, as well as the following documents depending on your status:

  • Canadian researchers born in Canada: a proof of identity with official photo ID; 
  • Canadian researchers born outside of Canada : a proof of Canadian citizenship;
  • Permanent residents : a proof of permanent residence; 
  • International researchers: a proof of identity with official photo ID, a proof of authorization to be in Canada, a proof of Canadian address and a letter of reference.

* If you are an international self-funded researcher (who is not affiliated with a Canadian university), please contact [email protected] for more information on the required documents.

Detailed procedures

For detailed procedures based on your situation, please consult the Statistics Canada website.

Processing times

Regarding the academic projects, the procedure for access to microdata is under the aegis of SSHRC and Statistics Canada. Generally, requests for access to microdata are approved within a period ranging from 2 to 4 weeks for students and 4 to 8 weeks for other academic researchers. Once the project is approved, the administrative process (orientation session, contract signing, obtaining security clearance, etc.) required can be completed within 2 to 4 weeks.

Updating your research contract

Please send your completed form at [email protected]

Ethics review document

Researchers may be required to obtain an ethics review for their research in the RDCs so that their work can be published in certain academic journals. To assist RDC researchers through this evaluation process by an ethic review board, this document explains the steps taken by Statistics Canada and the RDC program to mitigate the risks to respondents.

It is your responsibility to learn the ethics review procedures specific to your institution. If you have any questions, please contact your institution.

Acknowledgments for publications and conference papers

All publications or conference papers making use of results obtained from projects conducted at the QICSS must include a note of acknowledgment for the financial support of the various agencies that support the QICSS and the Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN). This is a requirement from the various agencies.

The model below is one example of the information that must be included:

The analysis presented in this paper was conducted at the Quebec Interuniversity Centre for Social Statistics which is part of the Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN). The services and activities provided by the QICSS are made possible by the financial or in-kind support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Statistics Canada, the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et culture (FRQSC), the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé (FRQS) and the Quebec universities. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors, and not necessarily those of the CRDCN or its partners.


If you need help to submit or amend your project, please contact us at [email protected]. If you need help with the SSHRC form, you may find answers on their help page.