Childhood National Immunization Coverage Survey (CNICS)

Record number:

The purpose of the Childhood National Immunization Coverage Survey is to collect information on national immunization coverage for childhood vaccines.

Detailed information for 2013

Data release - Data will be available in fall 2014


The purpose of the Childhood National Immunization Coverage Survey (CNICS) is to collect information on national immunization coverage for childhood vaccines. The survey is intended to:

- Determine if children are immunized in accordance with recommended immunization schedules for publicly-funded vaccines
- Provide the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization with estimates of national immunization coverage for diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) and for measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and other vaccines for children
- Assess knowledge, attitudes, and awareness of vaccines.

Reference period:
Varies according to the question


  • Children and youth
  • Health
  • Prevention and detection of disease

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population for this survey is boys and girls aged 2, 7 and 17 years old, and girls aged 12-14 years old, living in the 10 provinces and three territories, not residing in institutions or reserves.

Instrument design

The content was developed in coordination with the Public Health Agency (PHAC). The survey content was tested by the Questionnaire Design Research Centre of Statistics Canada in one-on-one interviews in participants' homes prior to collection.

Data collection for the CNICS is comprised of three components. The first component is a computer assisted telephone interview (CATI) during which the parent answers survey questions about their child's immunizations. The completion of the telephone interview triggers the second component, a mail out/mail back Parent Consent form, which is sent to respondents who agreed at the time of the interview to give written consent to Statistics Canada to contact their health care provider(s). The third component is the Immunization Record Request form, a mail out/mail back questionnaire sent to the child's health care provider(s) who fills it out with the child's immunization history (name of vaccination and date given). The data provided by the health care providers are used to validate and complete the parent reported data.


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

The main objective of this survey is to produce estimates of coverage for childhood vaccines at the provincial/territorial level for boys and girls aged 2, 7 and 17 years old, and girls aged 12-14 years old. The target population is stratified by age and by province and territory to ensure that the sample is representative while remaining efficient. It was determined that a sample of 40,437 units would yield the desired accuracy.

Respondents were randomly selected from an administrative file available at Statistics Canada. To avoid more than one child per household being selected, hence reduce response burden, a two-stage design has been conducted. The first stage consisted of selecting parents or guardians, the survey respondents, of eligible children. In the second stage, one eligible child, who is the sampling unit, of each selected parent or guardian has been selected.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2013-09-16 to 2014-03-14

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Parents/guardians serve as proxy respondents for children of all age groups.

The questionnaire is administered by an interviewer using computer-assisted interviewing (CAI). All interviews are conducted by telephone (CATI). At the beginning of the interview the Person Most Knowledgeable (PMK) about the child is identified.

A mail-out/ mail-back consent form is used for those respondents agreeing to a validation component.

A mail-out/mail-back validation component is used to target health care providers' records for the purpose of validating the information provided by respondents.

A tracking system is used to identify respondents who consent to the health care provider contact and consent forms are immediately printed and sent to the respondents for their signature. The tracking system records when the signed forms are returned, which then initializes the mail-out to the health care providers. The tracking system is also used for follow-up.

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.