Longitudinal and International Study of Adults (LISA)

Detailed information for 2014 (Wave 2)




Every 2 years

Record number:


The Longitudinal and International Study of Adults collects information from people across Canada about their jobs, education, health and family. The study is also interested in how changes in these areas have affected people's lives. This survey aims to help improve education, employment, training and social services in Canada.

Data release - May 16, 2016


The Longitudinal and International Study of Adults aims to improve our understanding of what is happening in the lives of Canadians so we can see what services they require, and what kinds of information they need to support their decision making about today and the future. LISA results could shed light on:

- Long-term benefits of postsecondary education

- Transience in the workplace and across the labour force

- Families coping with complex issues such as job loss and poor health

- Standards of living for retirees and changes that may occur over time

Data users include all levels of government, researchers, educators, learning institutions and organizations. These data are used to influence the development of services, ensure the development of effective policies and service provision to the people most in need.

Reference period: Two years prior to interview date

Collection period: January through May


  • Education, training and learning
  • Families, households and housing
  • Health
  • Income, pensions, spending and wealth
  • Labour

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The Longitudinal and International Study of Adults covers the population living in the ten provinces as of the first wave of the survey (2011-11-01 - 2012-06-27), plus their future children. Excluded from the survey's coverage are those who at the time of wave 1 were: living on reserves and other Aboriginal settlements in the provinces; official representatives of foreign countries living in Canada and their families; members of religious and other communal colonies; members of the Canadian Armed Forces stationed outside of Canada; persons living full-time in institutions, for example, inmates of correctional facilities and chronic care patients living in hospitals and nursing homes; persons living in other collective dwellings. Altogether these exclusions represent approximately 2% of the population.

Instrument design

The survey is conducted by a Statistics Canada interviewer via a Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI). The first wave was conducted from November 2011 to June 2012 and the infrastructure was tested in 2011 by Income Statistics Division, Special Surveys Division, Collection Planning and Management Division, Collection Systems and Infrastructure Division.

Wave 2 was conducted from January through June 2014 via CAPI, which was tested prior to collection.

New content was added to Wave 2. Questions, flows etc. were tested by Statistics Canada's Questionnaire Design Resource Centre (QDRC) in February and April 2013 in English and French.


This is a sample survey with a longitudinal design.

At wave 1, LISA was integrated with the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), (also known as the International Study of Adults (ISA)). The two surveys share a portion of their samples and the data collection activities were integrated.

The integration of the two surveys impacts the LISA sample design. The target populations of the two surveys differ in that the ISA target population covers only 16 to 65 year-olds whereas the LISA target population covers individuals of all ages. Consequently, the frame is first stratified by eligibility status for ISA. It is then further stratified by province and urban/non-urban status.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2014-01-24 to 2014-06-15

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents and extracted from administrative files.

Collection method: by a Statistics Canada interviewer via a Computer Assisted Personal Interview, using the Caseman application. However, interviews could also be completed over the phone, as long as the case met one of the following conditions: respondent refused to do a personal interview, respondent was not available for another personal visit to finish the already started interview, interviewer had already spent too many hours in the household and felt that further time spent in the house would jeopardize complete response, and/or high travel cost prohibited a return visit to the household (interviewer must have completed rostering the household). Other telephone interviews were possible, but they needed to be preapproved by the senior interviewer.

Capture method: Responses to survey questions are captured directly by the interviewer at the time of the interview using a computerized questionnaire. The computerized questionnaire reduces processing time and costs associated with data entry, transcription errors and data transmission. The response data are encrypted to ensure confidentiality and sent via modem to the appropriate Statistics Canada Regional Office. From there they are transmitted over a secure line to Ottawa for further processing.

- Method of initial contact: Letter
- Follow-up method: In-Person at Door/Telephone
- Use of proxy reporting: N/A
- Language(s) offered to potential respondents: English and French
- Average time required to complete interview/survey: 35 minutes per person

Data are also linked to the T1 Personal Master File, T4 Summary and Supplementary Files, Pension Plan in Canada Files, the T1 Family File, and the Immigration Database.

T1 Family File (T1FF) - 1982 - present
T4 - 2000 - present
Pension Plans in Canada (PPIC)- 2000 - present
Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) - 1980 - present

The LISA data collection instrument contains five parts, comprising both survey components and administrative data components:

1. The household roster is a survey component collected at the first contact with a LISA responding household. It is a preliminary interview that captures basic demographic information (such as age, sex, and marital status) about all persons residing in the dwelling as well as their relationship to every other household member. Only one person in the household is required to complete the roster.

2. The questionnaire component is the main interview that is asked to every person aged 15 or older who is part of the LISA sample. It contains the subject matter questions that form the crux of the LISA dataset.

3. The PIAAC component includes the PIAAC assessments of Literacy, Numeracy and Problem Solving in a Technology Rich Environment as well as a survey component examining skills used at work and in everyday life. This component is only available in the 2012 database.

4. The income component contains selected income information retrieved from sample members' T1 income tax returns. An imputed income value is included in the event that an income value could not be retrieved for a permanent or temporary member. In LISA wave two, this component includes amounts from the 2013 income tax returns.

5. The historical administrative data component provides historical and contemporary information for respondents about their income (from their tax records in the T1FF), about their earnings and employers (from their T4) and about their pensions (from the PPIC file). For immigrants, it also includes information from the Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB). Additional years of administrative data will be matched to the LISA on an on-going basis.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s).

Error detection

The LISA processing begins by amassing the data from the collection process. An initial cleaning of the data is performed to remove duplicate records. At the pre-edit stage, data is modified at the variable level. Variables could be dropped, re-coded using standard codes, re-sized, and "Mark all that apply" variables de-strung. Flow edits are applied that replicate the flow of the questionnaire. Valid skip values are assigned.

Variables are coded by the Operations and Integration Division (OID). Derived variables are created. Output data is validated after each processing step in order to minimize the chance of introducing errors in the data.

The LISA also links together numerous administrative data sources with the survey results. Given the numerous administrative data sources (T1FF, T4, PPIC and IMDB), there was minimal consistency edits applied to those files during processing as such a large task was beyond the scope of the project.

A certain number of derived variables were made available to researchers in the questionnaire file. Data users should consult the 2014 LISA Data Dictionary for a detailed description of the derived variables created.
During data processing, derived variables were created when the following situations occurred:

1. Survey questions are asked in an easy-to-answer form which requires adjusting to a common parameter, for example: The questions on the timeline of specific events where the respondent was asked to provide the date or age, whichever was easiest for the respondent. In cases where age was provided, the age was converted to the year.

2. A concept requiring a complex combination of data, such as: The variables describing the economic and census family or those related to labour market status.

3. The questions were open-ended questions that had to be converted to a standard classification system, such as: The National Occupational Classification (NOC) and the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

4. Questions where respondents can select "Mark all that apply". In this case, the questionnaire file keeps a derived variable for each possible response.


For income data, all respondents are matched to the tax data file unless they refuse to have their information linked. Data obtained from the tax route are complete and do not need imputation. Only in the absence of such data will income figures be imputed. For most of the observations that need imputation, the imputation is for totals.

For income data, donor imputation by the nearest neighbour method is used and performed primarily with Statistics Canada's Canadian Census Edit and Imputation System (CANCEIS). But, amounts received through certain government programs, such as universal child care benefit and child tax benefits are derived from other information (i.e. number of children in the household) using a deductive imputation method.

Earnings variables related to a respondent's current job when missing are imputed by the nearest neighbour method using CANCEIS.


LISA produces three sets of weights. The enumerated person weight, the responding person weight and the ISA responding person weight.

The enumerated person weight applies to all individuals in wave 1 responding households, including children and non-responding individuals. A design weight is determined for each dwelling in the sample based on its probability of selection. Adjustments are then made for dwelling-level nonresponse. Person-level adjustments are then made to the weights to ensure that certain weighted estimates respect population totals based on the Census of population. Weighted individuals with an enumerated person weight will represent the entire LISA target population.

The responding person weight is calculated only for responding individuals in responding wave 1 households. Children and non-responding adults are not assigned a responding person weight. The production of this weight begins with the dwelling design weight. The same household-level nonresponse adjustment is made as for the enumerated person weight. A person-level nonresponse adjustment is then made for the non-responding individuals within the responding households. The weights at the person-level are then adjusted to ensure that certain weighted estimates respect population totals based on the Census of population. The same set of population totals are used for both the enumerated person weight and the responding person weight. Weighted individuals with a responding person weight will represent the target population 15 years of age and older.

The ISA person weight applies only to the individuals within the responding wave 1 LISA households who were selected for, and responded to, the ISA survey. The weighted individuals will represent the population aged 16 to 65 years of age. The construction of the ISA person weight begins with the dwelling design weight adjusted for the selection for ISA of only one adult household member. The weight is next adjusted for household-level and then person-level nonresponse. The final step is then an adjustment to population totals based on the Census of population and the National Household Survey.

The longitudinal sample at wave 2 for the weighting process consists of all responding household members in wave 1 and their descendants at wave 2. Six weights are produced, two sets of three weights for the Wave 2: (1) Wave 2 enumerated person weight, (2) Wave 2 responding person weight, (3) Wave 2 ISA person weight. The other set of three weights considers all waves together and it includes: (4) All-waves enumerated person weight (5) All-waves responding person weight and (6) All-waves ISA person weight. All-waves weights are simply the weights calculated for persons in both waves 1 and 2.

For each of the weights, a corresponding set of 1,000 bootstrap weights is also produced which can be used for estimating sampling variance.
The standard errors for the LISA are estimated using the bootstrap method. For each of the six weights, a corresponding
set of 1,000 bootstrap weights is also produced which can be used for estimating sampling variance. The LISA uses a
multi-stage, multi-phase survey design with calibration which means that there is no simple formula that can be used
to calculate variance estimates. Therefore, an approximate method was needed. The Rao-Wu bootstrap method (Rao
and Wu 1987) is used because the sample design and calibration need to be taken into account when calculating
variance estimates.

Six different weights were produced at wave 2 and a calibration was done for each. For the enumerated person weight (EPW) and all-waves enumerated person weight (AWEPW), calibration was performed at a 7-region level (Atlantic provinces, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia). Eighteen control totals were used: fourteen age and sex control totals, two totals related to economic entity size1 and two regarding household size. The responding person weight's (RPW) and the all-waves responding person weight's (AWRPW) calibration was done at the same geographical levels as the EPW, and the same age and sex, economic entity size and household size control groups were used except two (the Male 0 to 14 years old and the Female 0 to 14 years old since the RPW covers the population aged 15 and older). The ISA responding person weight (IRPW) and all-waves ISA responding weight (AWIRPW) calibration was performed at a 4-region level (Atlantic provinces, Quebec, Ontario and Western provinces). Sixteen control totals were used: ten age and sex control totals, two household size totals and four education level totals.

Quality evaluation

Quality assurance measures were implemented at every collection and processing step. Measures included recruitment of qualified interviewers, training provided to interviewers for specific survey concepts and procedures, observations of interviews to correct questionnaire design problems and instruction misinterpretations, procedures to ensure that data capture and coding errors were minimized, and edit quality checks to verify the processing logic. Data are verified to ensure internal consistency and they are also compared to other sources.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Once processing is complete, all personal identifiers will be removed from the file. That file will be held indefinitely by Income Statistics Division.

All personal identifiers needed to link to tax files will be retained for the life of the survey's processing, but only be accessible to those directly involved in that processing. Once the processing lifecycle is complete, the file will be deleted.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data accuracy

National coefficients of variation for key variables computed from the LISA samples(1), wave 2

Variable/ Coefficient of variation - Using LISA responding
person sample (weight RPW)

Number of persons with a university degree(2) 1.99%
Number of employed persons in the reference week 0.77%
Number of immigrants 2.41%
Median personal total income before tax 1.50%

Variable/ Coefficient of variation - Using LISA enumerated
person sample (weight EPW)

Number of persons with a university degree(2) n/a
Number of employed persons in the reference week n/a
Number of immigrants n/a
Median personal total income before tax 1.35%

1. When using the full LISA responding person sample or the full LISA enumerated person sample, the domain for the estimates is the population 15 years old and older.

2. A person has a University degree if EHHL_Q05 in (10, 11, 12, 13, 14)

National coefficients of variation for key variables computed from the ISA person sample(1), wave 2

Variable/ Using ISA responding person sample (weight IRPW):

Number of persons with a university degree 0.00%(2)
Number of employed persons in the reference week 1.02%
Number of immigrants 3.54%
Median personal total income before tax 1.87%

1. When using the full ISA responding person sample, the domain for the estimates is the population 18 to 67 years old in wave 2.

2. Education levels were used to calibrate the ISA sample. The estimate corresponds to the control total so there is no variability for this estimate, therefore a null CV.


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