Life After Service Survey (LASS)

Detailed information for 2013




Every 3 years

Record number:


This is a national longitudinal survey that collects information on the transition from military to civilian life, general health and well-being, chronic conditions, labour force participation and other related information. An important goal of the survey is to understand the transition period from military to civilian life and health outcomes in Canadian Veterans including former Reservists.

Data release - July 3, 2014


The Life After Service Survey (LASS) is one component of multiple Veterans studies, with the following objectives:
- Measure the health outcomes of released Reserve Force personnel after transition to civilian life;
- Examine how health outcomes compare between released Reserve and Regular Force personnel;
- Examine how health outcomes change over time;
- Examine program reach, unmet needs not addressed by current programs, and program effectiveness.

LASS determinants of health include income, social support, education, employment, personal health practices, and access to health services.

Statistics Canada conducts all phases of the study implementation on a cost-recovery basis. This study is expected to be a resource to the sponsors for the next twenty years.


  • Health
  • Labour
  • Population and demography

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population consists of all persons who were released from Canadian Armed Forces, and who are not currently re-enlisted and still serving the forces. Ultimately, these are the people who are eligible to be contacted and offered Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) services.

The survey population consisted of Regular Forces released from the Canadian Armed Forces during the years 1998-2012 and Reservists released from 2003-2012, and who were not currently enlisted. Persons in the survey population were to be living in the ten provinces of Canada and were not living in long-term care facilities.

Instrument design

The questionnaire is based on content from the Survey on Transition to Civilian Life and the Canadian Community Health Survey (record number 3226). Custom content that better reflects the experience of ex-military and former Reservists was tested extensively in conjunction with Statistics Canada's Questionnaire Design Resource Center by way of focus groups and cognitive interviews.


This is a sample survey with a longitudinal design.

The sample frame was developed from administrative records provided by Veterans Affairs Canada and the Department of National Defence. The frame consists of Canadian Forces members who were released between 1998 and 2012. Approximately 6,000 persons were selected from this frame using stratified simple random sampling, where strata consisted in a combination of the member type (regular/reservist) and the rank.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2013-02-04 to 2013-03-15

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Data are collected via non-proxy telephone interview, using a computer assisted telephone (CATI) application. The average interview time is 45 minutes (including 15 minutes of standard entry/exit).

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

Error detection

After collection, it was found that 243 cases did not have a share flag (the share flag was missing). This was due to an error in the system. The decision was made to return for a second round of collection for the 243 cases affected by this system error. These respondents were asked if they wanted to share their information with their cases being updated appropriately.

Errors in the questionnaire application flow caused some questions to be asked of respondents which did not apply (and should therefore not have been answered). In these cases, a computer edit automatically eliminated superfluous data by following the flow of the questionnaire implied by answers to previous questions.

There were also errors that occurred where a question was not asked for which there should have been a response. For this type of error, a non-response, or "not-stated" code was assigned to the item.


No imputation is done for this statistical program.


Survey weights are used to represent the survey population. Estimation using the sample should always make use of the survey weights.

The weighting process consisted of several steps: calculation of a basic weight, followed by adjustments for non-response and non-resolved cases. The basic weight was defined according to the inverse of the probability of selection into sample, calculated at the stratum level. There were five strata, broken down into the type of Veteran, where three were Regular Force Veterans and two were Reservists. The Regular Force strata were further broken down into officers, Senior Non-commissioned members and junior non-commissioned members. The Reserve Force strata were broken down into Reserve Class A/B and Reserve Class C.

The sampling plan for this survey was a stratified simple random sample. Therefore, it is possible to estimate the variance directly based on the sampling design. Design-based estimation of the variance is easier to calculate than an alternative approach using bootstrap weights. A design-based approach underestimates the variance due to non-response and non-sharing. However, given the high response rate and high share rate, the underestimation should be relatively small.

Quality evaluation

Considerable time and effort was made to reduce non-sampling errors in the survey. Quality assurance measures were implemented at each step of the data collection and processing cycle to monitor the quality of the data. These measures include extensive training of interviewers with respect to the survey procedures and computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) application, observation of interviews to detect problems of questionnaire design or misunderstanding of instructions and testing of the CATI application to ensure that range checks, edits and question flow were all programmed correctly.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that 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

This methodology does not apply to this survey.

Data accuracy

While considerable effort is made to ensure high standards throughout all stages of collection and processing, the resulting estimates are inevitably subject to a certain degree of error. These errors can be broken down into two major types: non-sampling and sampling.

Non-response is an important source of non-sampling error. The response rate for LASS was 69.6%.

The basis for measuring the potential size of sampling errors is the standard error of the estimates derived from survey results. Because of the large variety of estimates that can be produced from a survey, the standard error of an estimate is usually expressed relative to the estimate to which it pertains. This resulting measure, known as the coefficient of variation (CV) of an estimate, is obtained by dividing the standard error of the estimate by the estimate itself and is expressed as a percentage of the estimate.

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