The two primary objectives of the General Social Survey (GSS) are: to gather data on social trends in order to monitor changes in the living conditions and well being of Canadians over time; and to provide information on specific social policy issues of current or emerging interest.
The purpose of this survey is to provide a snapshot of the lives of caregivers and care receivers in today's Canada.
Data release – Data will be available in the future.
This survey collects data on the situation of Canadians who receive help or care because of a long-term health condition, a disability or problems related to aging, and of those who provide help or care to family members or friends with those conditions. Data from this survey will help us to better understand the needs and challenges faced by these Canadians, and allow policy makers to design programs that meet their needs.
Questions in the survey cover the types and amount of care family caregivers provide, the kinds and amounts of care Canadians receive, and the unmet needs of those who need care but are not receiving it. An expanded set of questions covers the impact of caregiving on various aspects of the lives of caregivers. All respondents will be asked questions about their overall health, employment, housing and other socio-demographic characteristics such as birth place, religion and language.
Results from this survey will be used by analysts and researchers to study current situations and trends, and by many government departments to develop policies and programs that can have an impact on individuals who receive care, their families, those who provide care, and those who may need or provide care in the future.
The target population is all non-institutionalized persons 15 years of age or older, living in the ten provinces of Canada.
In the GSS, all respondents are contacted and interviewed by telephone. Thus persons in households without telephones cannot be interviewed. However, persons living in such households represent less than 2% of the target population.
The questionnaire was designed based on research and extensive consultations with data users. Qualitative testing, conducted by Statistics Canada's Questionnaire Design Resource Center (QDRC), was carried out, where one-on-one in-depth interviews with respondents from across Canada highlighted questions that worked well and others that needed clarification or redesign. QDRC staff compiled a detailed report of the results along with their recommendations. All comments and feedback from qualitative testing were carefully considered and incorporated into the survey when possible.
The pilot test (which resulted in 2,000 interviews conducted) of the data collection methodology and questionnaire was conducted in September 2011. This test allowed for the questionnaire to be fully tested over a two-week period with respondents in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec. Data collection observations of the pilot test were conducted by survey team members. All observation comments and suggestions were fully documented and, along with comments from interviewers, analyzed and implemented into the survey when possible.
This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design.
In order to carry out sampling, the ten provinces of the target population are divided into strata, i.e. geographic areas.
Many of the Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) are each considered separate strata. This is the case for St. John's, Halifax, Saint John, Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. CMAs not on this list are located in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. Three more strata are formed by grouping together the remaining CMAs in each of these three provinces. Finally, the non-CMA areas of each of the ten provinces form ten more strata. This results in 27 strata in all.
Phone numbers, used to contact households for the survey, are randomly selected through a technique called "Random Digit Dialling" (RDD). All sampled telephone numbers are numbers that are listed as 'in service for residential use' based on Statistics Canada's administrative sources. A survey respondent is randomly selected once contact is made with the household.
For Cycle 26, a technique called "rejective sampling" is used to reach more caregivers and care receivers. This technique has been used in other surveys in order to include more respondents from hard-to-reach or small populations. After a respondent is classified as a caregiver, care receiver, both or neither, sub-sampling will be carried out for selected respondents who are neither caregivers nor care receivers. All respondents who are caregivers or care receivers will do a long interview. Those who are NOT caregivers or care receivers will be randomly divided into two groups. One group will do a long interview, while the other group will do a short interview.
There will be 25,000 respondents who will complete a long interview for the main survey from all the phone numbers selected. There will also be an additional 11,500 respondents who will complete a short interview.
Data collection for this reference period: 2012-03-01 – 2012-12-31
Responding to this survey is voluntary.
Data are collected directly from survey respondents.
Data collection for the survey is conducted by Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) methods through the Halifax, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Sherbrooke regional offices. Each regional office will be assigned phone numbers from which to collect the survey information. Initial contact is made through an introductory mail out letter. Proxy interviews are permitted in cases where the selected respondent does not speak either of the official languages or where the respondent is not able to take part in the survey because of health reasons.
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.