Federal Science Expenditures and Personnel, Activities in the Social Sciences and Natural Sciences

Record number:

This survey collects the financial and operating data which are essential to assure the availability of pertinent statistical information to monitor science and technology related activities in Canada and the support the development of science and technology policy.

Detailed information for 2014-2015

Data release - May 28, 2014 (First in a series of releases. Please refer to left sidebar under the heading "The Daily")


This annual survey collects data describing the recent, current and proposed state of federal resources allocated to the Social and Natural Sciences.

The data collected are used by federal and provincial science policy analysts, and are also part of the gross domestic expenditures on research and development (GERD). The information may also be used by Statistics Canada for other statistical and research purposes.

Statistical activity

Research and experimental development (R&D) comprise creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of people, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications.

Science and technology (S&T) and the information society are changing the way we live, learn and work. The concepts are closely intertwined: science generates new understanding of the way the world works, technology applies it to develop innovative products and services and the information society is one of the results of the innovations.

People are looking to Statistics Canada to measure and explain the social and economic impacts of these changes.

The purpose of this Program is to develop useful indicators of S&T activity in Canada based on a framework that ties them together in a coherent picture.


  • Research and development
  • Science and technology

Data sources and methodology

Target population

Federal Government departments and agencies either performing Science & Technology (S&T) activities or have a budgetary allocation to fund S&T.

Instrument design

This questionnaire is designed to cover inputs to research and development (R&D) and related scientific activities (RSA) including source of funds, expenditures by activity, performer, socio-economic objective, and region as well as personnel engaged in science and technology. The latest revision to the questionnaire was completed in 2002. The form conforms to guidelines established by the OECD in the Frascati Manual (2002).


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

Data are collected for all units of the target population, therefore no sampling is done.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

This is an annual mail-out /mail-back survey to all federal government departments and agencies believed to be performing or funding R&D or RSA.

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

Error detection

Data are edited to ensure internal and historical logic and consistency and analysed for trends and validity.

Each survey response is manually edited at the micro level.

The edit procedures usually consist of:

- checking each field of every record to ascertain whether it contains a valid code or entry;
- checking codes or entries in certain predetermined combinations of fields to ascertain whether codes or entries are consistent with one another. Although there are a number of edits, all cases of failed edit checks are corrected after consideration by editors.


Missing data are manually imputed using internal ratios or previous returns.

Quality evaluation

Data are edited and analysed to ensure internal and historical logic and consistency for quality assurance. Activities are not based on standard accounts or classifications and inputs, but on financial or personnel data and respondents must generally estimate the data. Every effort is made to ensure the quality of the data and consultations are frequently held with major departments, financial offices and/or science offices via meetings or telephone to verify or improve the quality of data received.

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

Administrative data are used for this survey. Updates of the administrative data and filing timelines necessitate historical revisions to the data. Normally the two years prior to the current survey year are revised.

Data accuracy

Data from respondents are signed off by a senior manager as accurate, however, as with any census or sample survey, the data may be subject to coverage errors (errors resulting from undercoverage in the frame) and measurement errors (errors resulting from a difference between measured values and true values).

Survey managers have sought to minimise the occurrence of coverage errors by periodically updating the survey frame and including new respondents that are deemed to be involved in S&T activities. Processes in place to minimise measurement errors include training sessions on survey concepts for subject matter officers and survey respondents.