Executive Work and Health Survey (EWHS)

Detailed information for 2021





Record number:


The survey provides an assessment of individual and organizational health measures as well as the work environment for federal executives.

Data release - December 14, 2021


Results from the survey provide a description of the working environment and health and well-being of executives in the federal public service. This will in turn contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between the working environment and the health of individuals in general.

Reference period: Varies according to the question (for example: "in the past 12 months", "in the past 6 months", "in the last 7 days", etc).


  • Employment and remuneration
  • Government
  • Health
  • Mental health and well-being

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population for the EWHS is individuals who are employed in executive occupation groups and levels, in organizations and agencies which fall under the Public Service Employment Act (those which are listed in Schedules I, IV and V of the Financial Administration Act as well as a legacy organization identified by the Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada) and have provided the information required for the survey frame.

Instrument design

The Executive Work and Health Survey (EWHS) for 2021 is based on previous iterations of the survey which have been conducted by other organizations. Development of the 2021 iteration drew heavily from the concepts and survey content from these past iterations. The survey also uses content from other Statistics Canada surveys or from the Statistics Canada harmonized content. The 2021 EWHS questionnaire underwent qualitative testing by the Questionnaire Design Resource Center (QDRC).


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

The frame comes from lists of executives prepared by other departments and agencies and provided to the survey sponsor.

Sample unit
The sampling unit is the person.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2021-05-28 to 2021-07-09

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents and extracted from administrative files.

The data were collected by self-reported electronic questionnaire developed in the Electronic Questionnaire Generation System using the Collection Management Portal. The initial contact was done by email. The follow up method was by email. Proxy reporting was not an option. The electronic questionnaire was available in French and in English. The average time to complete the survey was estimated to be 30 minutes.

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

Error detection

There are few edits in the EWHS questionnaire. For a few questions, if a respondent entered an unexpected value, a message appeared asking the respondent to confirm their response.

Edits to the survey data occurred at the following data processing steps: Cleanup, Recode, Flow edits, Coding and Consistency edits.

Cleanup: The transmitted questionnaires were combined to create the "raw" survey file. The raw file was reviewed and duplicate records were eliminated. Records that were out of scope were also removed. For EWHS, scope was determine by the federal department or agency at which the respondent reported working at the time of EWHS collection.

Recode: Before this step, questions the respondent didn't answer had a blank. The blanks were replaced with values ending in 6 (6, 96, 996, etc.) or 9 (9, 99, 999, etc.). A 6 signifies a 'Valid Skip' , or question a respondent didn't get because of the survey design. A 9 value means 'Not Stated ' (NS), i.e. the respondent chose not to answer. Also, text fields (i.e. the other specify responses) were stripped off this file and written to a separate one to be used at the Coding step.

Flow edits: The variables that were blank and assigned a 6 or 9 were verified by subject matter.

Coding: The other specify text fields were reviewed by subject matter and were: recoded to pre-existing response categories of that question, recoded to a created post-collection response category of that question or left as 'Other Specify'.

Consistency edits: Responses for related questions were compared to each other to ensure they were consistent. For example, the variable Age minus the number of years worked in the federal public service should be no less than 15. If that is the case, then the variable Age is set to 'NS'. Also, extreme values (values that are too low or too high to be considered to be a reasonable response) were set to 'NS'.


This methodology does not apply.


The EWHS was a census. Although all eligible employees were included in the sample for the EWHS, because of the levels of non-response it was necessary to weight the responding units by department or agency so that they were representative of the target population. This exercise was performed on both the original response file, to create the Master weights, and on the subset of respondents who agreed to share their data with APEX, to create the Share weights. There is one weight for each record on these two microdata files.

Quality evaluation

There are few edits in the EWHS questionnaire. For a few questions, if a respondent entered an unexpected value, a message appeared asking the respondent to confirm their response.
The majority of the validation of EWHS data occurred in tandem with the data editing activities. Subject matter reviewed the EWHS data at each data editing step (cleanup, recode, flow edit, coding and consistency edit) to ensure the rules they provided were properly applied. Subject matter also provided specifications for derived variables to be created, and then verified that they were developed according to their specifications. Analysis done on the pre-release data for the first report of the findings also counted as a data validation step, any possible errors were flagged and investigated, which led to corrections of the data.


Here is an example of accuracy using the estimates for "sought counseling in the last 12 months" (CLS_10=1 or CLS_20=1) by the following selected departments:

Employment and Social Development Canada has an n of 360. The estimate for seeking counselling in the last 12 months is 25.8% with a coefficient of variation of 6.2%.

Transport Canada has an n of 145. The estimate for seeking counselling in the last 12 months is 24.5% with a coefficient of variation of 10.2%.

Natural Resources Canada has an n of 70. The estimate for seeking counselling in the last 12 months is 28.5% with a coefficient of variation of 13.5%.

Software used

The survey was developed in Electronic Questionnaire Generation System and was collected using the Collection Management Portal. The returned survey data was processed in the Social Survey Processing Environment.

Non-sampling error

Non-sampling errors can be defined as errors arising during the course of virtually all survey activities, apart from sampling. These errors arise primarily from the following sources: non-response, coverage, measurement and processing.

Considerable time and effort were taken to reduce non-sampling errors in the survey. Quality assurance measures were implemented at each step of the questionnaire development, data collection and processing cycle to monitor the quality of the data. These measures include:

• focus group testing to detect problems of questionnaire design or misunderstanding of instructions,
• comparing the lists of executives provided to the survey sponsor from federal departments with the federal employee records on the Public Services and Procurement Canada's Incumbent file to ensure contact information was up to date,
• the use of highly tested computerized questionnaire applications,
• promotion of the survey for the target population by the client to increase response rates,
• procedures to ensure that data capture errors were minimized, and
• edit quality checks to verify the processing logic.

Non-response bias

Total non-response can be a major source of non-sampling error in many surveys, depending on the degree to which respondents and non-respondents differ with respect to the characteristics of interest. For EWHS, non-response groups were formed using age and sex groupings in order to compute non-response adjustment factors. These weighting adjustments are made in order to reduce the potential nonresponse bias as much as possible.

Coverage error

The basis for the frame was a list of public service executives, their department and their e-mails, which was based on information provided to the Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada by participating federal government organizations. The names and departments on this list were matched with records on the Public Services and Procurement Canada's Incumbent file.

Other non-sampling errors

Other non-sampling errors are measurement errors and processing errors.

Measurement errors (or sometimes referred to as response errors) occur when the response provided differs from the real value. Such errors may be attributable to the respondent, the questionnaire or the collection method. Such errors may be random or they may result in a systematic bias if they are not random. In order to reduce these kinds of errors, qualitative test interviews were conducted in order to detect any issues with the questionnaire design or misunderstanding the intent of the survey questions. The survey application was also extensively tested to ensure that the data was accurately captured.
Processing errors are associated with data handling (also known as data processing) activities after collection. Like all other errors, they can be random in nature, and inflate the variance of the survey's estimates, or systematic, and introduce bias. In order to reduce these errors, set and clearly defined data processing procedures and steps are established and the data is reviewed after key steps by those responsible for the subject matter for the survey.

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.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology does not apply.

Data accuracy

Response rate:
The overall response rate for the EWHS was 52.9%.

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