Canadian Financial Capability Survey (CFCS)

Detailed information for 2014





Record number:


The intention of the survey is to collect information that will illuminate the degree of knowledge that Canadians have concerning financial decision-making.

Data release - November 6, 2014


The Canadian Financial Capability Survey (CFCS) will shed light on Canadians' knowledge, abilities and behaviour concerning financial decision-making. In other words, how Canadians understand their financial situation, the financial services available to them and their plans for the future. The survey is designed to collect information surrounding respondents' approaches to day-to-day money management and budgeting, longer term money management and general financial planning.


  • Household assets, debts and wealth
  • Household spending and savings
  • Income, pensions, spending and wealth

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population for the CFCS is all persons 18 years of age and over living in Canada. Full-time residents of institutions and residents of the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut are not included in this survey. Telephone numbers that might correspond to these areas have been excluded from the sample.

Instrument design

In the case of the Canadian Financial Capability Survey, it was proposed from its conception in 2009 that it be collected by telephone interview; an approach that reflected previous successes in other countries with similar subject matter. A first round of cognitive testing, including one-on-one interviews and focus group discussions, across Canada in spring 2007 confirmed that this was indeed the best way to proceed.

With the addition of Finance Canada and the Bank of Canada as active partners, the content was modified to reflect each of the partners data needs. This led to a second round of cognitive testing in only a few selected cities in the spring of 2008. The computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) application was developed and tested during the summer and fall months in 2008.

In an attempt to maintain comparability, the 2014 Canadian Financial Capability Survey has kept the 2009 CFCS's content intact, making only very slight updates where necessary. The 2014 application was then re-developed and tested in the early months of 2014.


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

This sample survey is based on the current Labour Force Survey (LFS, record number 3701) cross-sectional design, a very complex design of a probability sample that is based on a stratified multi-stage design. Each province is divided into large geographic stratum. The first stage of sampling consists of selecting smaller geographic areas, called clusters, from within each stratum. The second stage of sampling consists of selecting dwellings from within each selected cluster. The LFS covers the civilian, non-institutionalised population 15 years of age and over.

The LFS uses a rotating panel sample design so that selected dwellings remain in the LFS sample for six consecutive months. Each month about 1/6th of the LFS sampled dwellings are in their first month of the survey, 1/6th are in their second month of the survey, and so on. One feature of the LFS sample design is that each of the six rotation groups can be used as a representative sample by itself. To ensure people from all parts of the 10 provinces were represented in the CFCS sample, we took two rotation groups and selected a systematic sample from this based on a power allocation (a balance between a proportional and equal allocation of the provinces) to ensure estimates at the national level are releasable.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2014-05-12 to 2014-06-21

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Proxy interviews are not permitted.

Data are collected using computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI). A front-end module contains a set of standard response codes for dealing with all possible call outcomes, as well as the associated scripts to be read by the interviewers. A standard approach set up for introducing the agency, the name and purpose of the survey, the survey sponsors, how the survey results will be used, and the duration of the interview is used.

The CATI application ensure that only valid question responses are entered and that all the correct flows are followed. Edits are built into the application to check the consistency of responses, identify and correct outliers, and to control who gets asked specific questions. This means that the data are already quite "clean" at the end of the collection process.

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.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology type does not apply to this survey.

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