Research and Development of Canadian Private Non-Profit Organizations (RDNP)

Detailed information for 2015





Record number:


The Research and Development of Canadian Private Non-Profit Organizations survey produces useful statistical information to monitor science and technology activities in Canada and to support the development of science and technology policy.

Data release - September 15, 2017


The Research and Development of Canadian Private Non-Profit Organizations (RDNP) is a cross economy survey of private non-profit organizations in Canada that perform or fund research and development (R&D). The survey targets private non-profit organizations that are not part of the government, higher education or industrial sectors.

The concepts and definitions employed in the collection and dissemination of research and development (R&D) data are provided in the Frascati Manual 2015, published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD, 2015). According to this definition:

"Research and experimental development (R&D) comprise creative and systematic work undertaken in order to increase the stock of knowledge - including knowledge of humankind, culture and society - and to devise new applications of available knowledge."

The RDNP collects in-house R&D expenditures and personnel, payments to others to perform R&D and payments and receipts for technology.

In-house R&D expenditures include current costs (comprised of wages and salaries of permanent, temporary and casual employees; services to support R&D; R&D materials; and all other current costs) and capital costs (comprised of software; land; buildings and structures; and equipment, machinery and all other capital costs). In-house R&D expenditures are characterized by their geographic distribution (provinces and territories), sources of funds (originating sector inside or outside Canada), fields of research and development and nature of R&D activity (basic research, applied research and experimental development).

In-house R&D personnel include researchers and research managers; R&D technical, administrative and support staff; and other R&D occupations and these data are available by geographic distribution (provinces and territories).

Payments to others to perform R&D comprise payments made to other organizations to perform R&D and may be directed to other organizations (comprising companies; private non-profit organizations; industrial research institutes or organizations; hospitals; universities; federal government departments or agencies; provincial government departments, ministries and agencies; provincial research organizations or other organizations or individuals) inside or outside Canada.

Technology payments include payments made or received for patents, copyrights, trademarks, industrial design, integrated circuit topography designs, original software, packaged off-the-shelf software, databases with a useful life exceeding one year, other technical assistance, industrial processes and know-how. Technology payments can be made to, or received from, affiliated organizations or other organizations within or outside Canada.

Data from the Research and Development of Canadian Private Non-Profit Organizations (RDNP) provide total estimates of in-house R&D expenditures by the private non-profit sector and contribute to gross domestic expenditures on research and development (GERD). These data serve many users from: federal and provincial government science policy analysts who develop and monitor programs related to science and technology activities in the Canadian economy to international organizations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). University researchers, research councils, business enterprises, research institutes and associations, science journal writers, the general public and the media are all users of R&D data.

The results are published in The Daily and on the Common Output Data Repository (CODR). Private non-profit R&D data are combined with data from other R&D performing sectors: Research and Development in Canadian Industry (record no. 4201), Federal Science Expenditures and Personnel, Activities in the Social Sciences and Natural Sciences (record no. 4212), higher education (record no. 5109), and Provincial Research Organizations (record no. 4208) to create the gross domestic expenditures on research and development (GERD) in Canada (record no. 5198) and the total R&D personnel (record no. 5193) series.

Within Statistics Canada, the data are used by the Canadian system of national accounts as R&D expenditures are capitalized as part of the estimation of gross domestic product (GDP). The technology payments data are used to assist in measuring flows of funds for the acquisition of intangible assets in the non-profit sector.

Statistical activity

The survey is administered as part of the Integrated Business Statistics Program (IBSP). The IBSP program has been designed to integrate approximately 200 separate business surveys into a single master survey program. The survey instrument conforms to the common look, structure and content for business surveys in the integrated program.

Reference period: The fiscal year ending between April 1, RY and March 31, RY+1

Collection period: June to October


  • Research and development
  • Science and technology

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population for the RDNP comprises all private non-profit organizations that perform and/or fund research and development (R&D) within the reference period, such as voluntary health organizations, private philanthropic foundations, associations and societies and research institutes. They are not for profit organizations that serve the public interest by supporting activities related to public welfare (such as health, education, the environment). The survey excludes those private non-profit organizations that are part of the government, higher education or business enterprise sectors. These units are identified by NAICS codes (NAICS 61131 for universities and NAICS 91 for public administration) and by non-profit flags on Statistics Canada's Business Register. Annually, subject matter officers review all units on the RDNP survey frame to ensure those units under the control and direction of the business enterprise, higher education or government sectors are excluded from collection in order to prevent data duplication.

Instrument design

The Research and Development of Canadian Private Non-Profit Organizations (RDNP) introduced an electronic questionnaire (E-Q) for reference year 2014. The E-Q content was developed to conform to international standards for research and development concepts (OECD, Frascati Manual 2015). The first round of questionnaire content testing occurred in March, 2014 in English in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal and in French in Gatineau and Montreal. Testing private non-profit respondents' understanding of specific concepts, questions, terminology including the appropriateness of response categories and the availability of the requested information were the main purposes of this test. Based on respondent feedback, the questionnaire content was revised and a second round of content testing occurred in April, 2015 in the E-Q format. These tests were conducted in English in Toronto and in French in Montreal. The E-Q functionality testing confirmed that respondents were able to navigate through the questionnaire contents, response, help screens and edits with ease while providing the requested information. The content testing indicated that the research and development specific content worked however respondents indicated that the reference year concept remained unclear. A final test, conducted in May and June, 2015 in English and French in Ottawa and French in Montreal occurred to confirm that the revised question wording on reference year met respondents' requirements. The E-Q applications used for the RDNP adhered to all standards and guidelines in place at time of development.


This survey is a census with a cross-sectional design.

The survey comprises a census of all statistical enterprises taken from a survey frame of private non-profit organizations known or believed to be performing or funding R&D in the reference period. There are about 200 active units on the survey frame. All active units on the survey frame for the reference period are selected to receive the electronic questionnaire. The survey frame or population comprises private non-profit organizations with a high degree of variability in organization size determined by employment, annual financing available for R&D, business strategies towards performing R&D in-house or granting or contracting out R&D to other organizations, geographic distribution of R&D activities as well as operating control of the organizations. For these reasons, a census was determined to be the most suitable survey design.

The survey frame is updated and reviewed annually. It is based upon compilation of private non-profit organizations that have reported R&D expenditures for the current period or within two years prior to the reference period by questionnaire or otherwise reported R&D expenditures to Statistics Canada's Business Activity, Expenditures and Output Survey (BAEO), Capital and Repair Expenditures Survey (CAPEX), Federal Science Expenditures and Personnel (FSEP) survey, other ad hoc surveys or indicated R&D expenditures through media and annual reports.

Administrative data used for frame maintenance and frame building are obtained from Canada Revenue Agency forms (T3010 "Registered Charity Information Return" and T1044 "Non-Profit Organization (NPO) Information Return). The text fields describing the activities of the organization are searched for key words in English and French to identify organizations which may be in scope for the RDNP survey. These organizations are then contacted to determine if they should be included in the survey frame. Employment size is calculated from "Current Source Deduction Remittance Voucher" (PD7) data on Statistics Canada's Business Register. All units on the survey frame are verified to ensure that they are not included in the government, higher education or business enterprise sectors and that their operating structure has not changed from the prior year.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2015-11-12 to 2016-02-15

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Electronic questionnaire with non-response follow-up and failed edit follow-up

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

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.


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