Canadian Community Health Survey - Mental Health (CCHS)

Detailed information for 2011 (pilot survey)





Record number:


The pilot for the Canadian Community Health Survey - Mental Health is a survey on the mental health and well-being of Canadians aged 15 and over. The survey asks questions about mental health, access to and use of formal and informal mental health services and support, and factors that contribute to positive mental health.

Data release - No public use microdata file will be produced by Statistics Canada. The data will be used to make improvements to the questions and procedures of the main survey.


The survey will provide a comprehensive look at mental health with respect to who is affected by selected mental disorders as well as their positive mental health. It will also examine access to and utilization of formal and informal mental health care services and supports. It will look at how people are functioning regardless of whether they have a mental health problem.

The objectives of the Canadian Community Health Survey - Mental Health are:

(1) To assess the mental health status of Canadians on both illness and positive mental health continuums through selected mental and substance disorders, mental health problems, and well-being;
(2) To assess timely, adequate, and appropriate access to and utilization of formal and informal mental health services and supports as well as perceived needs;
(3) To assess functioning, ability and disability in relation to mental health and illness;
(4) To examine links between mental health and social, demographic, geographic, and economic variables or characteristics (covariates); and
(5) To evaluate changes in patterns of mental health, service use, and functioning from the 2002 CCHS on Mental Health and Well-being.

The data collected from the main survey will be used by Statistics Canada, Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, federal and provincial departments, the Mental Health Commission of Canada, as well as universities, pharmaceutical companies, and mental health services and support providers to fill data gaps in understanding mental health. Policy makers and researchers will use this information to develop policies and programs that properly meet the mental health needs of Canada's population. The media will use this information and thus help raise general awareness about health, an issue of concern to all.

The pilot survey for the Canadian Community Health Survey - Mental Health will test survey content, methodology, computer applications, interviewer procedures, reference material and data processing techniques in preparation for the main survey collection in 2012.

Reference period: The reference period varies by module. Questions are asked about the time of collection, past week, past month, past year, and lifetime.


  • Health
  • Health care services
  • Lifestyle and social conditions
  • Mental health and well-being
  • Prevention and detection of disease

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population includes people aged 15 and older living in private occupied dwellings in Ontario and Quebec. Excluded from the sampling frame were persons living on Indian reserves or Crown lands, persons living in institutions, and full-time members of the Canadian Forces.

Instrument design

The Canadian Community Health Survey - Mental Health questionnaire was developed by Statistics Canada in collaboration with stakeholders from Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Provincial Health Ministries, an expert advisory group consisting of specialists from Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Mental Health Commission of Canada, and academic experts. Content was chosen using the following set of criteria:

- Issues identified as data gaps from the stakeholder consultations
- Significant number of people affected by the targeted issue
- Significant impact on family, community, and health care costs
- Data has potential for health improvement with policy intervention
- Issues identified as priority for the support/development of programs and policy, surveillance requirements and/or research
- Comparability with previous cycle of CCHS Mental Health survey

The CCHS -- Mental Health questions are designed for computer-assisted interviewing (CAI), meaning that, as the questions were developed, the associated logical flow into and out of the questions was programmed. This includes specifying the type of answer required, the minimum and maximum values, on-line edits associated with the question and what to do in case of item non-response.

In collaboration with Statistics Canada's Questionnaire Design Resource Centre, the questionnaire was subjected to two phases of qualitative testing, which took place in March and July of 2010 and consisted of one-on-one interviews. The objective was to evaluate respondent reactions to and understanding of the survey, as well as their willingness to respond to the questions. The qualitative testing was also used to obtain estimates for the various sections time.


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


The sampling frame for the Canadian Community Health Survey - Mental Health pilot is composed of respondents (full or partial) rotating out of the Labour Force Survey in February 2010. Furthermore, in order to test the questionnaire in both languages, only responding French units in Quebec and responding English units in Ontario were kept in-scope.

Sampling Units

The sampling units are dwellings.


The pilot sample has been stratified into two parts: half of the sample will be in Quebec and the other half will be in Ontario. In addition, six Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) were specifically chosen for the pilot sample: Montreal, Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Toronto, London and Kitchener-Waterloo.

Sample Selection Methods

A census of in-scope units (dwellings that responded in French in Quebec and in English in Ontario) in the Trois-Rivières, Quebec, London and Kitchener-Waterloo CMAs will be done. For the Montreal and Toronto CMAs, a simple random sample of in-scope units will be done with enough units selected so that each provincial sample has 500 selected dwellings.

Sample Size

The sample size for the pilot survey is 1,000 raw units with 500 units selected in Quebec and 500 units selected in Ontario.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2011-04-01 to 2011-04-30

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Data will be collected using a Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) method.

Proxy interviews are not permitted.

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

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any data which would divulge information obtained under the Statistics Act that relates to any identifiable person, business or organization without the prior knowledge or the consent in writing of that person, business or organization. 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.

It should be noted that for this pilot survey, no public use microdata file will be produced by Statistics Canada and data will not be made available through the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI).

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