General Social Survey - Canadians' Safety (GSS)

Detailed information for 2019 (General social survey: Canadians' Safety)

Status:

Active

Frequency:

Every 5 years

Record number:

4504

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.

Data release - Scheduled for Winter of 2020/2021 (First in a series of releases for this reference period.)

Description

The main objective of the GSS on Canadians' Safety is to better understand how Canadians perceive crime and the justice system and to capture information on their experiences of victimization.

This survey is the only national survey of self-reported victimization and is collected in all provinces and territories. The survey allows for estimates of the numbers and characteristics of victims and criminal incidents. As not all crimes are reported to the police, the survey provides an important complement to officially recorded crime rates. It measures both crime incidents that come to the attention of the police and those that are unreported. It also helps to understand the reasons behind whether or not people report a crime to the police.

Survey results will be used by police departments, all levels of government, victim and social service agencies, community groups and researchers not only to better understand the nature and extent of victimization in Canada, but also to study Canadians' perceptions of their safety, the levels of crime in their neighbourhoods, and their attitudes toward the criminal justice system.

Statistical activity

This record is part of the General Social Survey (GSS) program. The GSS originated in 1985. Each survey contains a core topic, focus or exploratory questions and a standard set of socio-demographic questions used for classification. More recent cycles have also included some qualitative questions, which explore intentions and perceptions.

Reference period: Calendar year

Subjects

  • Crime and justice
  • Society and community
  • Victims and victimization

Data sources and methodology

Instrument design

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, with respondents who were screened in based on representative criteria. Questions which worked well and others that needed clarification or redesign were highlighted. 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.

Sampling

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

This survey uses a frame that combines landline and cellular telephone numbers from the Census and various administrative sources with Statistics Canada's dwelling frame. Records on the frame are groups of one or several telephone numbers associated with the same address (or single telephone number in the case a link between a telephone number and an address could not be established). This sampling frame is used to obtain a better coverage of households with a telephone number.

The sample is based on a stratified design employing probability sampling. The stratification is done at the province/census metropolitan area (CMA) level. Information is collected from one randomly selected household member aged 15 or older, and proxy responses are not permitted.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2019-04-15 to 2020-03-31

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

For respondents in the provinces data are collected either through an electronic questionnaire or through CATI (computer assisted telephone interviewing). No proxy reporting is allowed. The respondents have the choice between French and English. Interviews are approximately 45 minutes.

In the territories, data are collected through an electronic questionnaire, telephone interviews or in-person interviews.

Tax derived files (CSDD environment).

By linking data, we are aiming to obtain better quality data for income (personal and household).

Questions relating to income show rather high non-response rates, the incomes reported by respondents are usually rough estimates. Linking allows getting such information without having to ask questions.

The information collected during the 2019 GSS was linked to the personal tax records (T1, T1FF or T4) of respondents, and tax records of all household members. Household information (address, postal code, and telephone number), respondent's information (social insurance number, surname, name, date of birth/age, sex) and information on other members of the household (surname, name, age, sex and relationship to respondent) are key variables for the linkage.

Respondents are notified of the planned linkage before and during the survey. Any respondents who object to the linkage of their data have their objections recorded, and no linkage to their tax data takes place.

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

Error detection

Not applicable at this survey stage

Imputation

Not applicable at this survey stage

Estimation

Not applicable at this survey stage

Quality evaluation

Not applicable at this survey stage

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that 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.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data accuracy

Not applicable at this survey stage

Documentation

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