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

Detailed information for 2016-2017





Record number:


This survey collects financial and operating data on expenditures and full-time equivalent personnel on the scientific activities of Federal Government Public Administration in Canada.

Data release - May 25, 2016


This survey collects science and technology data describing the actual, preliminary and intentions of federal resources allocated to the social sciences and humanities as well as the natural sciences and engineering.

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) includes systematic creative work to increase the body of knowledge, including knowledge of people, cultures and societies, and the use of this body of knowledge to create new applications.

Reference period: Fiscal year

Collection period: September to January


  • Government
  • Human resources in science and technology
  • Research and development
  • Science and technology

Data sources and methodology

Target population

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

Instrument design

The questionnaire was originally designed many years ago by Statistics Canada and other federal government departments. Since the original design dates back to the early 1960s, information on details of the questionnaire design, testing or focus groups is not available.

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's definitions was completed in 2016 and approved by the Questionnaire Design Resource Centre (QDRC). The form conforms to guidelines established by the OECD in the Frascati Manual (2015).


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

Data collection for this reference period: 2015-09-13 to 2016-01-13

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Data are collected directly from the respondent using paper questionnaires. Data capturing is done by uploading finalized questionnaires into a Microsoft Access Database for data compilation and error detection. Respondents are initially contacted in both official languages by email. Follow-up is done with the respondent when necessary and in cases of non-response. The estimated average time for completing this survey is 35 hours.

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.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

Data validation procedures are performed during the survey process at a micro level, where checks include ensuring the required listing of extramural payments for the reference year match the totals in question 1 of the survey. Other checks ensure that S&T expenditure totals always match the values in question 1. Examples of data validation procedures at the macro level include year to year comparison or historical trend analysis on scientific objectives, personnel and expenditures.

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.

Respondents are also asked authorization to disclose any or all portions of the data supplied on this questionnaire. In the cases where authorization is declined, Statistics Canada will not publish any data that can identify the respondents.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Three years of data are collected each cycle. As such, revisions are made to the two latter years during each subsequent cycle.

Data accuracy

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.

Date modified: